Licorice Ball Shot

Licorice Ball Shot (Formerly Slippery Nipple)

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 shot
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
110 Calories
0g Fat
12g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 110
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 0mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 6mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The licorice ball shot is commonly known as a slippery nipple. It is a fun and popular shooter that pairs sambuca and Irish cream liqueurs. It is a layered shot and the two liqueurs are not supposed to mix until they hit your mouth. Despite the fact that it sounds tricky, the shot is easy to pour.

Sambuca is an anise-flavored liqueur that is similar in taste to black licorice. For some, it may be a bit of an acquired taste and one that can catch you off guard in a shooter like this. The Irish cream does a fair job of taming that assertive anise taste, so the drink is actually quite good.

A popular shot created in the 1980s, there were a number of variations created under the original name, including a triple-layered version that incorporates coffee liqueur, and each was given a different number. One even skipped the sambuca and layered coffee liqueur, butterscotch schnapps, and Irish cream, making it similar to a butterball. This recipe is one of the most popular and includes a drop of grenadine for a fun effect.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour the sambuca into a shot glass.

    Add sambuca to a glass for a Slippery Nipple shot
    The Spruce
  3. Slowly pour the Irish cream over the back of a bar spoon so it floats on top.

    Slowly pouring the Irish cream over the back of a spoon
    The Spruce
  4. Add a drop of grenadine in the middle of the cream.

    Pour in the grenadine
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  5. Serve and enjoy.

Recipe Variations

  • Under its former name, there was one version of this shot that replaced the sambuca with equal parts of anisette and peppermint schnapps. It is truly a unique flavor combination but worth trying if you're a big fan of black licorice.
  • Make a dirty licorice ball by layering 1/3 ounce each of coffee liqueur (Kahlua is common), sambuca, and Irish cream in that order. Add the drop of grenadine if you like.

Why Isn't It Called a Slippery Nipple Anymore?

This shot came out of a time when drinks in bars were given names that were guaranteed to grab your attention. During the last few decades of the 20th century, many of the names were rude, lewd, or, like this one, suggestive. It likely received the slippery nipple name because of the grenadine (some bartenders use a cherry) in the middle of the drink, symbolizing its namesake. In an attempt to maintain popular bar drinks and drop the offensive language, the bartending community and drinkers are giving these provocative drinks new names. While the name may have changed, the licorice ball is still the same great drink.

How Strong Is the Licorice Ball Shot?

Sambuca is not a weak liquor and it is often bottled at 42 percent ABV (84 proof), which is higher than the average vodka, tequila, or gin. With that in mind, any licorice ball made with sambuca is going to be stronger than many mixed shots. There's no dilution, either, so its alcohol content is a hefty 28 percent ABV (56 proof).

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