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Slippery Nipple

Slippery Nipple shot / Tim Nusog

In the family of sweet shots that innately declare that it’s now a party, the patriarch is this mixture of Irish cream liqueur and anise-flavored sambuca. It’s a mixture that’s easier to layer than many of the others, lending itself to impressive visual effects, even if the sweet flavor leaves a bit to be desired. 

If the combination of sambuca and Irish cream liqueur isn’t quite tooth-rottingly sweet enough for you, you can jack up the sugar quotient (and the Instagrammability) by adding a quarter-ounce of grenadine as the bottom layer. 

This shot rose to prominence in the 1980s, when suggestively named drinks were all the rage (we’re looking at you, Sex on the Beach), and spawned variations named for their liqueurs, including the Buttery Nipple, named for the butterscotch schnapps called for, and Fuzzy Nipple, for its peach schnapps. We’re not quite sure where the original got its moniker, except that it’s fun to say out loud after you’ve had a few of them.


  • 1/4 ounce grenadine (optional)

  • 1/2 ounce sambuca, chilled

  • 1/2 ounce Irish cream liqueur


  1. If using, add the optional grenadine into a shot glass.

  2. Layer the sambuca on top by slowly pouring it over the back of a spoon (or add it into a shot glass, if not using grenadine).

  3. Layer the Irish cream on top, using the same spoon.