The Best of Beirut
on May 26, 2014 By Danielle Issa
There is nothing like straight, warm liquor to get your blood flowing. For some, a shot of something neat will do the trick. Yet for others, getting your money’s worth out of a shot means it had better be loud with flavor. And don’t even try to dismiss shots as “girly” drinks, because the vast majority of those gulping these potent little marvels are, in fact, guys.
So here’s a list of the tastiest, most bang-for-your-buck bar shots that will really have your taste buds tingling. Bottoms up!
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To be fair, London Bar in Hamra is more patriotic to Lebanon than it is to England, and here’s why. The bartenders make an incredible Tarboush shot wherein the popular Gandour tea cake (formerly known as ras el 3abed) gets its head skimmed and filled with any liquor of your choice. It’s particularly soothing with Bailey’s and Kahlua; think of a spiked chocolate and coffee-flavored milkshake. For the hardy of strength, try this shot with the Famous Grouse whiskey.
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Torn between dessert and drinks? Thanks to Kayan in Gemmayze, you no longer have to be. Appropriately dubbed the tiramisu shot, this drink resembles a sweet, dreamy, amaretto-coffee-mocha-flavored slice of Tiramisu. Part vanilla vodka, part chocolate liqueur, part Kahlua, the concoction is gently poured layer by layer into a shot glass and dusted with cocoa. What could be more indulgent than a celebratory shot paying homage to the most important part of a meal?
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Bodø is a charming 24/7 bar with an open front and inviting vibes. Named for the Norwegian town where the sun never sets, this bar serves up a variety of popcorn flavors to munch on as you sip on tasty (and wonderfully discounted) drinks. If a celebration is in order, order the Flaming French Lamborghini (16,000 LL), which layers blue Curacao, grenadine, Sambuca and a bit of absinthe to launch you into the throes of ecstasy. Santé!
Abdel Aal Street
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How about a pub whose exclusive endeavor is making shots and making them awesome? Head to Big Shot in Hamra’s notorious Alleyway for some mind-jolting pick-me-ups and vibrant hip hop tunes. Order the Blow Job, so named because of the way it’s consumed—and I’m not going into details. This bachelorette party staple starts with a base of coffee liqueur floated with Irish cream, delicately poured over a bar spoon to separate the layers. The shot is then topped with whipped cream. Handle with care!
Jeanne D'Arc Street
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Sure, it’s tiny, but this European-style bar in the French-y quartier of Gemmayzeh is a huge hit, particularly among nonconformists. Torino Express caters to the unpretentious crowds who frequent it for Panini and espresso during the day and beer and cocktails in the after hours. Ask for their famous beer shot, a combination of an alcoholic potion—I won’t tell you what, you’ll have to try it for yourself!—topped with Almaza and slung back with a pinch of salt. So refreshing.
Uruguay Street is lined with pubs galore, but perhaps the title of Master Shot-Maker belongs to the eponymous Uruguay Cocktail Bar. Their signature mate shots pay homage to the national drink of Uruguay, Yerba mate, a tea beverage derived from the leaves and stems of a powerful rainforest tree native to South America. Served in a wooden goblet, this foamy doozy blends vodka, mate, lemon juice, and a fourth secret ingredient you’ll have to discover for yourself.
Try also this pub’s special Archers shot, a potent blend of peach schnapps, fresh strawberry purée, and sliced banana on top. If you happen to visit during happy hour (5-8:30 p.m.), you can bank on a free tortilla pizzette along with bottomless savory snacks
Danielle Issa is a food blogger in Lebanon. You can find her on Twitter, and be sure to check out her blog, Beirutista.
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