There’s a beer in your shot! There’s a shot in your beer! Whether it’s a sake bomb, Irish car bomb or a good old-fashioned boilermaker, “depth charges”—for the uninitiated, that’s any shot dropped into another beverage—are being buoyed by the same rising tide that’s reinvigorating cocktail culture in America. Here are three you should try right now.
The Vesper Bomb
The menu at Vesper bar places classics alongside their modern counterparts. But locals and insiders know: The Vesper Bomb ($5) has no peer. A 2-ounce shot of Fernet-Branca sits inverted in 1 ounce of ginger beer … until you remove the shot glass, mixing the two, and away you go. “Fernet Branca is the cocktail connoisseur’s secret handshake,” says property mixologist and Vesper GM Christopher Hopkins. “By ordering it, you alert the bartender that you like avant-garde flavors, and are not scared to push the envelope with your drinking choices.” Hopkins first tried Fernet in San Francisco, where it is typically served with a ginger- ale back. “Seeing as how the ginger profile matches so well to the herbaceous nature of Fernet-Branca, the substitution of ginger beer further enhances it by increasing the ginger notes.” You’ll never order a Jägerbomb again. In the Cosmopolitan, 698-7000, CosmopolitanLasVegas.com.
The Thairish Carbomb
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Le Thai co-owner Daniel Coughlin says. He takes a less-is-more approach to a lot of things at his popular hipster enclave, which serves up a small but well-prepared hit list of noodle dishes, soups and stir-fries—Thai street food that echoes Coughlin’s culinary upbringing by his mother and grandmother. Tricky Thai dishes are renamed for approachability, such as the Awesome Noodles. And when he does shots with his regulars, the Thai Coughlin ($7) pays homage to his half-Thai, half-Irish heritage: ¾ ounce Jameson Irish Whiskey and ¾ ounce Mekhong Spirit of Thailand. Wanna go over to the dark side? Dropped into 6 ounces of PBR, the Thai Coughlin becomes a Thairish Carbomb ($10), “a simple classic,” Coughlin says, “meant to get you where you need to go.” 523 Fremont St., 778-0888, LeThaiVegas.com.
Willy Wonka’s Hangover
Even cocktail girls get the brews. Beer cocktails are increasing in popularity, so when mixologist Juyoung Kang was working on the beer and cocktail programs for Downtown’s Commonwealth cocktail bar, it was inevitable that the two could intersect in a bomb shot with a little attitude. Invert a shot glass of 1 ounce Absolut and ½ ounce Licor 43 into 3 ounces of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout for Willy Wonka’s Hangover ($10), an off-menu special. “I’m known as a classic cocktail bartender,” Kang explains. “Perhaps this shows a fun side of me … I’m just serious about my medicine, as a doctor of spirits should be.” 525 Fremont St., 445-6400, CommonwealthLV.com.