What Is A Cement Mixer Shot, And Why Should You Be Cautious When Drinking One?

Fans of Irish cream will agree that, with flavors of chocolate and vanilla, the silky-smooth liqueur tastes good with just about everything. Think of Irish cream in a hot Irish coffee, poured over ice cream, in mugs of hot chocolate, and as a twist in cocktails like White Russians and martinis. Irish cream also goes well with fruits like strawberry, peach, raspberry, and even citrus fruits. With citrus, however, how that juice is combined with Irish cream is an important consideration, as the infamous shot known as the cement mixer demonstrates.

A cement mixer Shot is made with equal parts Irish cream and lime juice; the Irish cream goes in first with lime juice carefully added so that it sits on top of the liqueur. To drink it, tip the whole shot into your mouth, and hold it there. Then shake your head around — like a cement mixer — before swallowing the shot. Sounds harmless, right? However, this shot gets very ugly very fast. That's because when Irish cream combines with lime juice, whether in the glass or in the mouth, it turns thick and lumpy, a lot like cement. 

Here's what happens when Irish cream meets lime juice

The flavor of a cement mixer shot — a pairing of Irish cream with lime — isn't so much the problem. After all, Key lime pie is proof that lime can work quite well with creamy textures and vanilla and chocolate flavors. Where the shot runs into trouble is the addition of pure lime juice directly to Irish cream. 

Irish cream is made with real dairy cream as well as whiskey, chocolate, and vanilla; lime juice, meanwhile, is very acidic. When the two are combined, the milk proteins in the cream react by clumping together, aka curdling. And just like that, what was once a smooth, liquid shot now has a texture similar to that of cottage cheese. And the longer the shot sits, the thicker it gets.

If the idea of drinking a thick, curdled shot turns your stomach, well, that's kind of the point. Cement mixer shots are a favorite for pranking unsuspecting drinking buddies, especially when the shots have been allowed to sit around for a few minutes before downing. It would make anyone queasy, but this shot is particularly nasty for folks who've already had a few drinks or who can't tolerate unusual textures in their food and beverages.

One way to down a cement mixer without getting sick

The curdling effect of a cement mixer begins as soon as the two liquids meet. It will happen more quickly if they're stirred together, but even when Irish cream and lime juice are layered in a shot glass the curdling will still happen. However, just in case someone in your party proposes a round of cement mixers, know that there is a way to get this shot down without experiencing it as a thick, lumpy sludge that will make you feel sick. Ask for the Irish cream and lime juice in separate shot glasses. Tip them one after the other into your mouth, quickly swish them around (your best impression of a cement mixer) then swallow them. 

Even with this approach, there's no guarantee that this shot still won't turn your stomach, and set the stage for a rough night ahead. So think twice before ordering or downing a round of cement mixers: it's a shot that's more appropriate for worst enemies than best friends.