Tired of Charcuterie? Try Shotcuterie!

Hit them with your best shots.

<p>Xomato/Getty Images</p>

Xomato/Getty Images

If charcuterie boards—and their next-gen friends, dessert boards, seacuterie boards, snack boards, and breakfast boards—feel so last year to you, consider the latest new idea for entertaining: shotcuterie.

Related: 42 Dinner Party Themes to Level Up Your Next Event (or Average Tuesday)

The shotcuterie concept isn't just about serving boozy shots (though it always helps to have a few of those on hand, too). Instead, think tiny bites and creative presentation.

Get the scoop on everything you need to know to hop on the shotcuterie trend for your next party.

What Is Shotcuterie?

As the name implies, shotcuterie is about offering tiny tastes of a well-curated selection of goodies to your guests, often served in a shot glass or another tiny vessel.

It's perfect for a cocktail party or any type of celebration where you're hoping guests mix and mingle. After all, you can set up different types of shots in different spots in the party to encourage people to move around and check out the presentations, and it's easy to eat these small bites with minimal fuss or utensils.

You'll probably want a mix of both food shots and beverage shots at your party to give your guests plenty to sip and savor.

How to Set Up a Shotcuterie Party

Because the presentation is the fun factor for this party, you'll need to focus on how you'll make everything bite-sized, and the best way to showcase your shots. Here's how to ensure your shotcuterie party is a big success.

Decide your party theme

"Shots" could be all you need for your concept, but you can also narrow your scope and serve only dessert shots and sweet cocktails, opt for a tailgating party with mini versions of sports bar type foods, or pick a particular cuisine theme.

Make sure you have enough shot glasses and trays

You'll want to allow for at least one to two of each shot type for each guest—and you may want to separate different types of shots onto different trays—especially if you're planning to pass some of the shots around.

Opt for reusable shot glasses

Glass or plastic shot glasses that can be easily washed and reused work wonderfully for this party—and set you up for hosting shotcuterie parties in the future. You can find sets of glass shot glasses for about 50 cents per glass on Amazon.

Don't have enough shot glasses? You can also use espresso cups, small ramekins, juice glasses, Chinese soup spoons, and tiny cupcake or muffin cups to serve up small portions. Or look for edible "shot glasses"—there are ways to make or order cookie shot glasses, for instance.

And since the idea is just about small individual portions, they don't necessarily have to be actually in a shot glass to qualify. So tiny slider sandwiches or bite-sized dumplings can also be a perfect addition to your shotcuterie party. Just make sure that you offer small plates or cocktail napkins that people can load up with these tiny bites, too.

Don't forget about other utensils

If your dish doesn't easily pop out of the glass, you may need food picks, tiny demitasse spoons, or other utensils to allow people to eat it without making a mess.

Find your mix of savory and sweet

For a standard shotcuterie party, a two-to-one savory to sweet mix will be your sweet spot—but that isn't a hard-and-fast rule. So go ahead and skew sweeter (or more savory) if that's your preference.

Decide how much food you'll need

Essentially, it depends on the size of your shots and whether your shotcuterie party is supposed to be snacks or a full-on meal. In general, opt for between six and 15 food shots total per person for a party—and err on the higher side if the party is longer than a couple of hours and is during a typical meal time.

Keep food temperatures in mind when you choose your menu

Unless you want to be in the kitchen up until the last minute plating piping hot or freezing cold items, make sure the bulk of your dishes will still be tasty if served closer to room temperature.

Think about presentation

The shot concept is part of the fun, so choose shots that'll look attractive in the glass or cup, and think of ways to enhance how it looks. Consider putting little garnishes on the shot glasses (think a sprig of mint or a raspberry for a chocolate mousse), and get creative with how you assemble it. For instance, a pie shot could be created by actually baking the pie in a mini muffin tin so it's easy to pop out and serve on its own, or you could make the filling and the crust separately, and layer the filling first, and top it with an attractive pre-baked crust topping.

Use melon ballers to make mini scoops of ice cream, and pipe on whipped cream or sour cream. (And don't forget about a drizzle of sauce, too!)

Make sure you offer drink shots, too

Honestly, every self-respecting shotcuterie party needs to have several great shots to drink alongside the snack shots!. Obviously, shots are traditionally potent alcoholic drinks, but you can also make mocktail and nonalcoholic shots for guests to enjoy.

You may also want to feature a few regular-sized drinks (seltzers, wine, or beer) to quench people's thirsts.

Designate a spot for empties

Place an empty tray or a dish basin nearby for people to pop their empties after they sampled, so your shotcuterie display doesn't get messy with used shot glasses.

Consider shotcuterie for a potluck party

Shotcuterie lends itself to allowing guests to share their own takes on the shot concept, so don't be afraid to turn this into a BYOS (bring your own shots!) celebration. You might even want to make it competitive and offer awards for best presentation, spiciest, tastiest, and any other superlatives you want to honor.

Shotcuterie Menu Ideas

The fun part of hosting a shotcuterie event? Choosing exactly which shot dishes will make the cut. We've suggested a few of our favorites—including links to recipes that'll work beautifully for this.

Savory Shotcuterie Ideas

Soups and dips are both simple options for shotcuterie—and easy for guests to enjoy from a shot glass. You can also mix it up by including some mini dishes that can be eaten as-is, like sliders.

  • Shrimp cocktail

  • Chicken and waffles

  • Meatballs

  • Buffalo chicken

  • Soup or chili

  • Dips with crackers/chips

  • Caprese salad

  • Charcuterie

  • Snacks like popcorn or mixed nuts

  • Mini pot pies

  • Dumplings

  • Sliders

  • Mini tacos

  • Crostini

  • Kebabs or skewers

Sweet Shotcuterie Ideas

Shot glasses will be great for creamy desserts like mousses and puddings, but you can also serve some treats (such as bite-sized cookies or mini tarts) on trays. A few fun ideas to help inspire your shotcuterie array:

  • Mini parfaits

  • Ice cream sundaes

  • Tiramisu

  • Chocolate mousse

  • Jello

  • Frozen pops (freeze in mini paper cups that can be peeled away by your guests)

  • Tartlets or cookie cups

  • Trifle

  • Mini s'mores

  • Mini macarons

  • Candy

  • Mini pies

  • Doughnut holes

  • Tiny cupcakes

Related: 10 Delicious Mini Desserts That Don't Require Any Baking

Shotcuterie Beverage Ideas

Obviously, any traditional cocktail shots are fair game for a shotcuterie party—whether you want the fancy mixed ones or are up for straight shots of tequila or other liquors and liqueurs. But you can also turn your favorite cocktail, mocktail, or smoothie into a shot. Get your juices flowing with these shot ideas:

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