Irish Carbomb

October 21, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Guinness, Whiskey.

ABV insignificant

The Vice Blogger quite notably hates shots. Catchers gear may be the so-called “tool of ignorance,” but shots are the libations of fools.  Shots are for people that don’t like the taste of alcohol.  They’re for people that like giving unnecessary high-fives and woowooing (not a coincidence that that’s a name of a shot).  They’re for men that wear sleeveless shirts to bar.  They’re for people that think the lead characters in “Swingers” are people to be idolized instead of dolts that Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn were actually mocking.

Why would one ever do a shot?  If you’re ordering quality alcohol you should savor it, drink it as slowly as possible.  Shooting some quality booze is like ordering an Elliot Spitzer-approved $1000/hour hooker, then seeing if you can come with a single pump.  Meanwhile, if you’re ordering shitty liquor…well, maybe you should just dump that in the trash rather than your face.

Shots are for movie characters that have just gone through a break-up or lost their job.  For stevedores that head straight from the dock to the local dive, ordering a shot and a beer every single round.  And those shots are straight up hardcore, rotgut.  They are not fit for real humans that check their coats when they enter the bar.  For dainty little people that use coasters and ask for the “lightest” beer on tap.

Doing shots is like cheating to get drunk, a shortcut for people that can’t handle the effort, can’t manage the marathon tippling it takes to get loaded some nights.  Shots are akin to using performance enhancing drugs. And I don’t like it. Which is funny because I actually have no problem with steroids in sports and don’t think they should be banned*.

Having said that, there’s a certain je nai se quois about carbombs that I do kinda dig. No, they’re not something you should have every time you go out, or probably even once every month. And, quite frankly, they’re kinda douchey.  But once every season, when a large group of friends has gathered, when there’s something to celebrate, or something to forget (usually a sports loss), they are a great drink.

I love the ceremony of carbombs, as your waitress sprints back to the bar stand with an “I don’t believe this” look on her face, forced to gather all bar hands on deck for the massive project of halfway filling up countless pint glasses with Guinness, making a complimentary number of Baileys and Jameson shots.

I love the guy, usually the fella that initiated the bombing much to many of his mates’ chagrin, looking around like a good host, making sure, “Everyone got one? Everyone got one? We ready?  We ready?”

I love the anticipation as everyone lines up as if in the starting block of a 100m dash. Their drinking hand firmly wrapped around the pint, their off-hand holding the shot glass above the Guinness. Every time I reach this step a bit of totally unnecessary nerves come over me–being an Aurelius stoic I never get nervous for anything–but car bombings makes you feel like something of deep importance, something of great gravitas is about to occur. And I’m not sure why that is exactly.  I think it’s kinda like a boxer entering the ring, not sure whether the remarkable (or miserable) will happen within the next ten seconds nor possibly not at all.

I’m always nervous that the shot glass will shatter upon it’s deployment, that the cannonballed beer will splatter all over the place. Alas, it never occurs.  I also am always worried about someone inhaling the shot glass down their esophagus. This has SURELY happened somewhere. Surely. Though I have never seen it in any of my career bombings.


You drop the shot and with the most melodic *CLINK* it rattles down the sides and hits the bottom of the glass.  You chug the entire concoction, watching out of the corner of your eyes how your friends are progressing.  I’ve never ever seen people bet even a nickel over a carbomb chug, yet we men go after them as if our lives are on the line, looking askancely to see how our buddies, nay competitors, are doing, hurrying up our drinking if necessary to catch up.  Whatever it takes.  A move that frequently leads to brown liquid being poured all down your chin and onto one’s shirt.  Yet another great reason the Vice Blogger is always a man in black.

Upon finishing, you slam your glass on the bar, wipe your face with the back of your arm in a continuous sweeping motion from mid-ulna to fingertips, and smile at your friends.  Triumphantly unfurl a belch if possible.  Like a gunslinger blowing the smoke from his pistols.  Ah yes.

Carbombs, they’re so childish, yet so…manly.  Maybe we should go back to calling them boilermakers like our grandfathers did.  That sounds more masculine, less Jersey shore “Yo, let’s go ‘ave some car bawmbs, yo.”  Boilermakers let you know the gauntlet has been laid down, “Oh, it’s gonna be one a’ ‘those’ nights,” everyone says.   Yes it is.

Maybe next time, children, I’ll tell you about truck bombs.  That’s a pitcher of Guinness with a plopped rock glass of Jameson/Baileys.


*I say this neither to be transgressively contrarian nor ironically humorous.  There is no reason to ban performance-enhancing drugs in sports.  It is impossible to accurately monitor usage, impossible to consistently apply the rules (why is cortisone across-the-board legal?), it gets Washington involved in even more useless exercises of sanctimony than we could possibly need, and the health risks are debatable if not completely dubious.  Oh yeah, and fuck “the kids.”  For the best take I’ve ever seen on steroids please check out this year’s brilliant film “Bigger Stronger Faster*.”

8 Responses to “Irish Carbomb”

  1. amm002 says:

    Totally agree on the hating shots thing. Car Bombs are the only one I’ll willingly do. Worst “shot” I ever did was chugging a pint glass filled with countless clear liquors poured by a sadistic bartender on my 21st birthday, who literally forced me to drink it at the end of the night by tipping the glass up until I finished.

  2. Dave says:

    Oh carbombs, early 20’s memories. Drunken nights. Bad bad.

  3. Yes, bad bad indeed, Dave. I see you’re turning 30 this week and I will be too in a few months. Here’s to a decade of better drinking!

  4. […] Fist Pump. I found this site through a post over at The Vice Blog ( which if you haven’t checked it out I recommend you do) and I had a pretty good laugh.  If […]

  5. Dave says:

    Yes sir here is to better drinking my friend, but I think we’ve been on our way with that for a bit.

  6. KingOttoIII says:

    You are just jealous you arent tan, arent jacked, and cant dance.

    BTW Greg is a closet fist pumped and hand clapper.

  7. Two things, Sal:

    #1. You’re a Jersey Italian. Why aren’t you tan, jacked, and able to dance? (I can’t confirm the dancing part as I’ve never seen you dance.)

    #2. If you ever get some youtube footage of Greg (sic) fist pumping and hand clapping, I will immediately induct you into the VB Hall of Fame, 1st ballot.

  8. I completely agree about the ridiculousness of downing shots, as opposed to sipping something decent. But why the fuck are you chugging carbombs? This sounds even worse. I’ll admit I’ve never tried, but you don’t make it sound worthwhile…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *