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Strongest Alcoholic Drinks

Updated on February 10, 2014

Introduction to the Top Alcoholic Cocktails

One common question you'll see asked quite often from college kids to long time drinking aficionados is this: what are the strongest alcoholic drinks out there? While there are answers to this question, the problem is that those answers can vary A LOT depending on what you mean by asking that question. Do you want to know what the strongest alcoholic cocktails are based on normal recipes? Are you wondering what the strongest bottle of liquor that can actually be drank straight (sorry, everclear) is? What about that beer stronger than most hard liquors?

There are a lot of arguments even among people talking about normal mixed drinks. Should recent fad or made up drinks count, especially those throwing together shots and energy drinks seemingly for the heck of it? What makes a cocktail traditional or just crazy? As many of my friends have pointed out: a whiskey and coke might not traditionally be on the list at all, but in a tall glass that looks like 90% whiskey with a tiny splash of coke - it's definitely going to be strong enough to knock you backwards.

This page is going to tackle several of these probing questions all about strong liquors, strong mixed drinks, and even tackle the genre of powerful cocktails that have that reputation of making nights, for lack of a better word, interesting :)

So without any further hesitation, let's dive into the world of strong alcoholic cocktails.

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absinthe pic
absinthe pic

World's Strongest Liquors

What are the world's strongest liquors for mixing? This is an interesting question - and you can take a look at the links/resources section at the bottom to get a better sense of what some other drinking fans have to say on the matter. However, there are several types of alcohol or liquor that stand out as being some of the craziest in the world when it comes to pure proof. Whether or not any of these is a good idea is up to debate, but this section is on some of the world's strongest liquors used for mixing ridiculously strong cocktails. Actual lists of the strongest mixed drinks will be following right after this section, so dive right in with your favorite cocktail by your side and see if your favorite "uh-oh" mixed drink makes the list.

Everclear. Okay, a lot of people are going to argue. Everclear isn't a liquor, it's straight up alcohol and it's never meant to be drank straight up. Absolutely true. But from mixing with punch at large parties to making some top notch homemade apple pie at home - everclear promises to deliver a kick becacuse in many places it's the strongest legal drink available, reaching up to 95% in volume or 190 proof. It's also flavorless, which makes it ideal for mixing in a large amount.

Devil Springs Vodka. The name on this one actually isn't false advertising. When you talk about traditional vodkas, you're usually finding something between 75 and 100 proof depending on the overall strength. This is a wide range, but you'll notice it cuts off at 50%. Leave it to New Jersey of all places to up the ante purely for the hell of it. Devil Springs Vodka from New Jersey comes out at whopping 160 proof, or a full 80% volume. That'll up where a screwdriver or vodka martini appears on the overall list of most alcoholic drinks!

Bacardi 151. This is the type of liquor that the company makes with a wink and a smile. The proof is right there in the title: 151. This extremely high proof rum is designed for the specific purpose of making rum based mixed drinks a lot stronger, and is also popular with many show bars and flair bartending shows because this liquor is often used for lighting the shots on fire before actually downing them.

Sierra Silver Tequila. This tequila comes in as close to Bacardi 151 as you can get, checking in at 150 proof. This tequila's excellent marketing claims that it comes from "the heart of Mexico" - wherever that might be. But 150 proof tequila, that is going to come with a major punch - very possibly right to the gut...

Absinthe. Ah, absinthe! Few liquors enjoy the reputation and yet have so many misconceptions around them as absinthe. Made famous by poetry from Wordsworth who helped popularize absinthe's nickname of "the green fairy," most modern absinthe is not made the old way even though the name remains. While there are arguments whether or not the slight hallucinogenic effect from wormwood is enough to really cause notable hallucinations, the 144 proof level makes this twice as potent as many whiskeys and is why it is often consumed with water poured over a sugar cube placed on an absinthe spoon to take away some bite and add some sweetness. A list like this just wouldn't be right without the Green Fairy!

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pic shelves of alcohol
pic shelves of alcohol

Strongest Cocktail Countdown

Looking at some of the strongest alcoholic cocktails out there

No matter what, any list of strongest alcoholic cocktails is going to be controversial. The strongest mixed drink could be a whiskey and coke that's 95% whiskey to 5% coke compared to how most drinks are natural mixed. Strong mixed drink recipes can always be thrown off by whether a bartender makes them by the book or mixes them "strong." But here's a list of some of the strongest mixed drinks around and then we'll get to the next section about strong cocktails that just have that perfect combination of alcohol and crazy mixers to really knock things out into crazy land.

Long Island Ice Tea Recipe. This one is one of the all-time classics when it comes to extremely potent mixed drinks. There is a lot of debate about the history and where it comes from, and it all stems out of Prohibition times. Many people can remember their first time drinking these amazingly smooth and potent drinks - even if they can't remember the rest of the night. It's safe to say that the Long Island Ice Tea is the queen of potent classic cocktails and it deserves it's place on any page about strong mixed drinks.

Recipe:

1 shot of gin

1 shot of rum

1 shot of tequila

1 shot of triple sec,

1 shot of vodka

1 slice of lemon

Coke

Traditionally want you want to do is fill a cocktail shaker with ice before adding the shots, and then topping it off by squeezing a fresh lemon slice. Shake well, add to a tall glass with lots of ice, then pour the coke over the top for that little bit of carbonation that pushes it over the top.

Zombie Cocktail Recipe. This is a modern classic that is rapidly gaining increased popularity among drinkers. Some people think of the zombie cocktail as an "experienced drinker" sort of drinker since despite its increasing popularity, it still is less well known than many of the others on this list. If you're worried that a tropical drink has to be sissy or girly, you're in for a walloping with this one!

Recipe:

1 shot dark rum

1 shot white rum

1 shot spiced rum

½ shot of brandy

1 dash sugar syrup

½ shot lime juice

½ shot pineapple juice.

This cocktail is also meant for a high ball glass. Fill it halfway full with ice, then pour all the ingredients in and still well. Many times you'll see garnishes like mint leaves or lime slices, or even pineapple - but that is the choice of the bartender. The drink itself is there in its full glory - so enjoy!

Aunt Roberta Cocktail Recipe. There's a lot of history behind this cocktail, and a lot of urban legend. Whether it's all true or not, we know this cocktail has gone through a wide array of changes over the decades but one thing has stayed constant: it is very strong. The drink was supposedly made by an Aunt Roberta and become infamous because many of her patrons were homeless, and many were said to have died because the original homemade gin and moonshine recipes were too strong - though none of that's ever been confirmed.

The story also comes from a many named Billy Joe Spratt who made a version of the strong Aunt Roberta Cocktail recipe and marketed it through New York City where it became quite popular - so that story would make one heck of a pitch. A common modern recipe that you can find around involves the following ingredients:

Recipe:

2 oz. Absinthe (yikes!)

3 oz. Vodka

1 oz. Brandy

1.5 oz. Gin

1 oz. Blackberry Liqueur

Simply mix all the ingredients with ice and then pour into a chilled glass to enjoy - and you'd better pace yourself if you want to remember the next morning.

Adios Mother F*&%er! AKA the AMF recipe. This drink is just as badass as the name indicates. Some recipes have lemonade instead of 7Up, but if you want maximum kick, you want the carbonation from the 7Up.

Recipe:

½ shot of gin

½ shot of rum

½ shot vodka

½ shot tequila

½ shot Blue Curacao

2 shots sour mix

2 shots 7-UP

Pour all the ingredients except for the 7-UP into a chilled glass already filled with ice cubes. After mixing the shots, you will want to top it all with the two shots of 7-UP and stir gently. It won't take too many of these to fulfill the cocktail's promise!

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You'll be passed out here in the morning
You'll be passed out here in the morning

Drum Roll: The Bastard Cocktail Story

A run so strong it deserves its own section

Number one is so good that it deserves its own space...especially since it's actually four or five drinks rolled into one story.

I get it, I get it - this is cheating because it is 4-5 drinks in one depending on whether you accept the Gin Fizz as a warm up (that was a new one on me, but hey knock yourself out…possibly literally). But as an English and writing major I am an absolute sucker for a good story and these drinks are all tied together as a story - which is a breakup story on top of it - perfect for four extremely strong cocktails, right?

The "Trilogy" of the Bastard drinks include:

Gin Fizz (optional for you really crazy bastards)

The Suffering Bastard

The Dying Bastard

The Dead Bastard

The Mai Tai (in heaven)

The drinking story (as I've heard several versions, but most follow this general line) is that after a terrible break up the poor bastard just needed a strong drink, which starts with the suffering bastard. Still not feeling like he was matching the misery of the moment, it was time to move the stakes up to the dying bastard. Well at that point he was feeling good, maybe too good, and went one step too far by drinking a dead bastard. Since he figured he was dead, mine as well enjoy a Mai Tai in heaven. There are a lot of variations, slightly darker or less dark, but that gives you the general gist of how the story, and the drink sequence, goes.

Drink 1: Suffering Bastard Recipe (Oddly enough I have consistently found 2 different options for how this drink is made, so here are both suffering bastard recipes):

Option A:

1 shot of bourbon (or rum)

1 shot of gin

Dash of angostura bitters

4 shots chilled ginger ale

1 shot fresh lime juice

Mix these ingredients and shake thoroughly, pour into a glass with ice and then traditionally you garnish with what seems like a garden with an orange wheel, a maraschino cherry, and a sprig of mint for that extra bit of freshness.

Option B:

1 shot of over proof rum

1 ½ shots of rum

¾ oz orange curacao

1 shot fresh lime juice

2 shots orange juice

½ shot Orgeat Syrup.

Mix all ingredients and garnish like the first one.

Drink 2: Dying Bastard Recipe:

1 shot brandy

1 shot gin

1 shot rum

1 dash of bitters

1 shot Ginger Ale

½ shot lime juice

To make a dying bastard cocktail you want to place all of these ingredients in a glass (traditionally you would use a high ball glass) with ice, mix, and enjoy! Hope you're getting warmed up, because the next one keeps lifting up the bar!

Drink 3: Dead Bastard Recipe:

1 shot brandy

1 shot bourbon

1 shot gin

1 shot rum

½ shot lime juice

1 dash bitters

1 shot Ginger Ale.

Mix all the ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice, stir to mix thoroughly, and enjoy the kick! All that ginger ale is going to make sure the alcohol goes right into the bloodstream. At this point you should be really feeling it. If not, stand up and walk to the bathroom. If that didn't make you feel odd, consider how much of your paycheck you're spending weekly on this always favorite pastime.

Drink 4: Mai Tai Recipe: If you're going the traditional route and doing all of these in an hour (NOT something I'm endorsing or recommending) then assuming you aren't already passed out, kicked out, or at the church of drunks kneeling down and worshiping the porcelain goddess, the last part of the story is the Mai Tai.

1 shot light rum

½ shot triple sec

½ shot dark rum

½ shot Crème de Almond

1 shot pineapple juice

1 shot sweet and sour mix

The Mai Tai cocktail is actually served in a Collins glass. Enjoy and try to remember what made you run this road the next morning.

That's the "Bastard on the Beach" combination, and that's why this is overwhelmingly the number one spot. That's a lot of sugar, a lot of alcohol, a lot of carbonation - especially when you're putting them all down in a short time. And they're pretty smooth for strong mixed drinks, so a lot of people tend to drink them way too fast.

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Vodka Redbull courtesy of wikipedia commons
Vodka Redbull courtesy of wikipedia commons

Crazy Strong Cocktails to Knock You on Your Butt!!

It's not just the alcohol you have to worry about...

The mixture of energy drinks with alcohol has brought strong mixed drinks to an entirely new level, and some of these can really knock your socks off. This is by no means a complete list, but if you went through all of these in one night you would almost certainly have a really bad hangover the next morning....

Vodka and Redbull Recipe (one of the Original "bad idea" modern cocktails)

2 oz. Vodka

1 can Red Bull

A simple but effective mixture: an entire can of energy drink with 2 oz of vodka. Potent combination, it's come under fire for ties to potential heart attacks.

1.21 Gigawatts

1/2 shot Hpnotiq

1/2 shot raspberry Vodka

1 splash Grenadine

5 oz. Red Bull

This is a car bomb type of recipe which explains the kick. The pint glass is for the Red Bull while a shot glass gets the mixture of other ingredients. Drop the shot glass into the Red Bull and guzzle. Some are made with a full glass of Red Bull instead of the half, which might just be outright insane.

Liquid Cocaine (modern recipe)

As a caveat, there are a lot of modern recipes for liquid cocaine, some of which include overproof liquor. So while this is one popular recipe, it's far from the only one. There are even versions of this one with 1 shot each - which also seems insane.

1/2 oz Goldschlager

1/2 oz peppermint schnapps

1/2 oz Jagermeister liqueur

Drink as a shot.

Irish Car Bomb

1 glass of Guinness

1 shot Bailey's in shot glass

1 shot Jameson

A glass is filled about 2/3 full with a bottle of Guinness and a shot of Jameson whiskey is added on top. Then a full shot glass of Bailey's is dropped in. Chug quickly before it curdles.

1, 2, 3, Floor

First of all, great name for a drink, isn't it? This one can really mess you up quickly, and is often put together in a pitcher or punch bowl and then served from that. Definitely a New Year's sort of party drink.

1 bottle Champagne

1-2 shots Hpnotiq

8 shots Vodka

2 cans Red Bull

2 handfuls Ice

Stir well and serve in highball glasses.

Red Death

This is a recipe that has a lot to offer. I actually never heard about this all the way until I was in my early 30s.

1/2 oz vodka

1/2 oz Southern Comfort peach liqueur

1/2 oz amaretto almond liqueur

1/2 oz triple sec

1/2 oz slow gin

1/2 oz lime juice

orange juice

This one is a pretty simple set up. You take all of the ingredients except for the orange juice and mix them together into an ice filled Collins glass and then add the orange juice at the end up to the top. Easy, delicious, strong, and powerful!

Bruce Lee Bomber

Of course you didn't expect just one or two bomb drinks on this list, did you?

1 ½ oz Han Asian Vodka

4 oz Red Bull

This is obviously very similar to a normal Red Bull and vodka except it calls for a specific type of vodka and then instead of sipping it casually you down it by chugging like any other bomb mixed drink recipe.

K-12

Despite what the name might indicate, this isn't a beginner drink for the school kids. This is a big time mixed drink and one that is going to really make its mark. It's also one of the few mixed drinks with energy drinks where there is more booze than energy drink in the total mix.

1 shot tequila

1 shot gin

1 shot triple sec

6 oz 7-Up

1 shot Rockstar energy drink

Ice cubes

Mix all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and then strain into a glass to enjoy the carbonated, energy drink infused goodness with a lot of hard liquor.

The Burning Alcoholic Question We All Want to Know....

Would love to hear everyone's point of view on this topic!

Which of these scares / excites you the most?

See results

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