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Master Cleanse Shot

Master Cleanse Shot served in two shot glasses with a small carafe of maple syrup and lemon halves

Jordan Mackay

The Master Cleanse is a diet fad that was first proposed in 1941 but reached peak popularity in the early 2000s. The cleanse is essentially a crash diet meant to detoxify your body that involves drinking a special elixir multiple times per day. That elixir consists of fresh lemon juice, organic maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. Its health claims are dubious, at best, so we can’t recommend you follow suit. But we can suggest a cocktail recipe that pays homage to the cleanse, no diet required.

The Master Cleanse Shot recipe comes from Jordan Mackay, a Northern California-based writer and the author of numerous books. He maintains the core tenets of the original concoction by using fresh lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper (plus the water produced from shaking with ice), but he swerves from the path with pisco and a dash of chili powder.

Pisco is a grape-distilled spirit that hails from Peru and Chile, was first made in the 16th century, and is best known for its starring role in the Pisco Sour. In this recipe, it provides a spiritous base for the sweet, sour and spice components of the other ingredients. Depending which style of pisco you choose, that base can be dry and earthy or fruity and floral.

The recipe makes two servings, so you can toast with a friend before sending this shot down the hatch. Don’t forget to eat something, too.


Click Play to See This Master Cleanse Shot Come Together


  • 2 ounces pisco

  • 1 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/2 ounce grade-A maple syrup

  • 1 dash ground cayenne pepper

  • 1 dash chili powder


Serves two.

  1. Add the pisco, fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and chili powder into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into two small tumblers or two large shot glasses.