Liquor Laboratory

ll logo white
ll logo white

Best Cactus Cooler Shot Recipe: How To Make It (2024 Updated)

cactus cooler shot recipe guide

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Are you looking for a fun new drink to spice up the bar party? Or do you want a perfect summer drink to end your long exhausting week?

No matter what reason, a Cactus Cooler shot is a refreshing, easy-to-make drink that will surely splash out your stress.

So, drop the shot glass, and let’s know more about this chilling drink.

What’s A Cactus Cooler Shot?

Cactus Cooler Shot

The Cactus Cooler shot drink is shot dropped into a larger glass of energy soda – which you need to drink all at once. This Cactus cooler drink has a “wow” factor due to its sweet taste and refreshing feel. 

This cocktail is a mixed drink containing various types of drinks in it, like Mandarin vodka and energy drink (say, Red Bull). It also includes orange juice (or any fruit juice). 

Fun fact: The name of this cocktail drink is derived from a canned orange/pineapple beverage primarily sold in Southern California – manufactured by Dr. Pepper Brand. 

What It Tastes Like

A Cactus Cooler cocktail shot tastes like Jagerbomb drinks, minus the intense flavor. As mentioned earlier, creating your own signature shooter or mix is possible.

So you can expect to find a different taste of this beverage from one pub or bar to another.  

This Cactus Cooler cocktail usually has a splash of orange juice – sometimes with a mix of peach schnapps flavor, served in a shot glass. 

Related Posts:

Cactus Cooler Shot Variations 

Cactus Cooler Shot Variations

Alcohol-Free Version 

Instead of Mandarin vodka and peach schnapps, you can replace them with orange juice and pineapple juice. This is more on the fruity side, and since it’s alcohol-free, it’s suitable for your teens or kids.

Top It With Lemonade


There isn’t actually much deviation from the original recipe, but you can top your pint glass or shot glass with lemonade. It isn’t your typical shot but it’s a drink you can enjoy in your leisure time. 

Change The Energy Drink

You can also replace the energy drink with a flavored one (or just skip this entirely). If you’re not into energy drinks [1], you can substitute them with mango, tropical, or orange-flavored drinks.  

The Best Cactus Cooler Shot Recipe 

The Best Cactus Cooler Shot Recipe 

Prep Time: 1 minute or less 

Total Time: 2 minutes


  • Energy drink or soda (like Red Bull)
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • ½ oz peach schnapps
  • 1 oz Mandarin vodka (can use orange vodka)

Instructions: Fill one-third of your larger glass with energy soda, then fill your shot glass with Mandarin vodka and peach schnapps.

Next, carefully drop your shot glass into the larger glass. To add some extra coloring and flavoring, add some orange juice, and serve. 

Note: You may need a cocktail shaker for a well-mixed cocktail. 

Serving: 1

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does Cactus Cooler have in it?

Cactus Cooler, a beloved carbonated soft drink, tantalizes taste buds with its distinctive blend of tropical flavors, evoking visions of sunny beaches and swaying palm trees. While variations may exist among brands and formulations, the essence of Cactus Cooler typically revolves around a harmonious marriage of orange and pineapple flavors. These primary components intertwine to create a symphony of sweetness and tanginess, perfectly balanced to deliver a refreshing burst of flavor with every sip.

In addition to its core flavors, Cactus Cooler may incorporate a carefully curated selection of complementary ingredients to enhance its taste profile. These may include natural fruit extracts, citric acid for brightness, and sweeteners to achieve the desired level of sweetness. The precise combination of ingredients is a closely guarded secret, entrusted to the skilled flavor scientists and craftsmen responsible for crafting the iconic beverage.

The allure of Cactus Cooler lies not only in its tantalizing flavor but also in its effervescent fizz, which tickles the palate and awakens the senses. The carbonation adds a playful zest to each sip, elevating the drinking experience and leaving a tingling sensation that lingers long after the last drop has been savored.

For those seeking a tropical escape in a can or bottle, Cactus Cooler delivers an oasis of flavor, transporting drinkers to sun-drenched shores and lush, verdant landscapes. It embodies the essence of leisure and relaxation, offering a momentary respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Does Cactus Cooler have alcohol in it?

Despite its tantalizing name and exotic flavor profile, Cactus Cooler is a non-alcoholic beverage, free from any traces of alcohol. It belongs to the category of carbonated soft drinks or sodas, which are enjoyed by people of all ages as a refreshing thirst-quencher or a delightful accompaniment to meals and snacks.

While its vibrant flavors may evoke images of tropical cocktails and beachside libations, Cactus Cooler is strictly alcohol-free, making it suitable for consumption in various settings, including family gatherings, picnics, and parties where non-alcoholic options are preferred.

The absence of alcohol in Cactus Cooler ensures that it remains accessible to a wide audience, including individuals who abstain from alcohol for personal, religious, or health-related reasons. Its popularity extends across demographics, from children to adults, who appreciate its refreshing taste and versatility as a standalone beverage or a mixer in mocktails and non-alcoholic cocktails.

Whether enjoyed straight from the can or paired with your favorite snacks, Cactus Cooler promises a delightful sensory experience that transports you to a tropical paradise, sans the alcohol content.

What is the drink cactus?

The term “cactus” in the realm of beverages encompasses a diverse array of interpretations, each offering its own unique flavor profile and cultural significance:

Cactus Juice: In some regions, “cactus” may refer to the juice extracted from the prickly pear cactus, also known as nopales. Prickly pear juice is celebrated for its refreshing taste and potential health benefits, often enjoyed as a standalone beverage or incorporated into smoothies and cocktails.

Cactus Cooler: As discussed earlier, Cactus Cooler is a carbonated soft drink renowned for its tropical flavors, primarily orange and pineapple. It captivates taste buds with its sweet and tangy profile, offering a refreshing escape reminiscent of sun-soaked beaches and tropical paradises.

Cactus Cocktail: In the realm of mixology, “cactus” may inspire the creation of cocktails featuring cactus-based ingredients or flavors reminiscent of the desert landscape. These cocktails may incorporate elements such as cactus fruit juice, tequila, citrus flavors, and herbal infusions to create innovative and flavorful libations that pay homage to the spirit of the Southwest.

Whether in the form of a juice, a soda, or a cocktail, the concept of “cactus” in beverages invites exploration and creativity, offering a tantalizing array of flavors and experiences inspired by the natural world.

What is a Jolly Rancher shot made of?

The Jolly Rancher shot is a playful and vibrant cocktail that captures the essence of the beloved Jolly Rancher candies in liquid form. This sweet and fruity libation is a popular choice for parties, gatherings, and nights out with friends, offering a fun and nostalgic twist on traditional shot recipes.

To craft a Jolly Rancher shot, mixologists typically blend together a combination of flavored liqueurs that mimic the bold and vibrant flavors of the iconic Jolly Rancher candies. Among the most commonly used liqueurs are those available in fruity varieties such as watermelon, apple, cherry, and blue raspberry. Each liqueur contributes its unique flavor profile, creating a medley of sweetness and tanginess reminiscent of the candies themselves.

The precise recipe for a Jolly Rancher shot may vary depending on personal preferences and available ingredients. Some variations call for equal parts of two or more flavored liqueurs, while others may incorporate additional ingredients such as sour mix or lemon-lime soda to enhance the sweetness and balance the flavors.

Once the ingredients are carefully measured and combined, the cocktail is typically served chilled in a shot glass to ensure maximum enjoyment of its vibrant flavors and refreshing character. The result is a colorful and playful shot that delights the palate and evokes fond memories of childhood candy indulgence.

Does Cactus Cooler have pineapple juice?

Cactus Cooler, the quintessential tropical soft drink renowned for its refreshing taste and vibrant flavor profile, often incorporates a blend of citrus and tropical fruit flavors to achieve its distinctive taste. While formulations may vary among brands and manufacturers, pineapple juice is commonly used as one of the key ingredients in Cactus Cooler.

The addition of pineapple juice to Cactus Cooler contributes to its sweet and tangy taste, infusing the beverage with tropical notes and a hint of acidity. The natural sweetness of pineapple juice complements the citrusy flavors of orange, creating a harmonious fusion of tropical fruits that tantalizes the taste buds and refreshes the senses.

In addition to its flavor-enhancing properties, pineapple juice also lends Cactus Cooler a smooth and velvety texture, further enhancing the drinking experience and ensuring a satisfying sip with every pour. Whether enjoyed straight from the can or served over ice, Cactus Cooler delights the palate with its tropical allure and vibrant character, transporting drinkers to sun-drenched shores and exotic locales with each sip.

Is cactus drink good?

Cactus-based beverages, such as cactus juice or cactus water, offer a refreshing and invigorating taste experience that appeals to a wide range of palates. Derived from the prickly pear cactus, also known as nopales, cactus juice is celebrated for its unique flavor profile, which combines elements of sweetness, tartness, and earthiness.

Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, cactus-based drinks are believed to offer various health benefits, including hydration, immune support, and digestive wellness. The natural properties of cactus make it a popular choice for those seeking a refreshing alternative to sugary soft drinks or artificial beverages.

Additionally, cactus-based drinks are valued for their culinary versatility, as they can be enjoyed on their own as a refreshing beverage or incorporated into smoothies, cocktails, and culinary recipes. Whether sipped straight from the glass or mixed into creative concoctions, cactus drinks offer a delightful and invigorating taste experience that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression.

Overall, the enjoyment of cactus-based beverages is subjective and may vary depending on individual preferences and taste sensations. However, for those seeking a natural and refreshing drink option that offers both flavor and potential health benefits, cactus-based beverages are certainly worth exploring.

Who drinks Cactus Cooler?

Cactus Cooler, with its refreshing tropical flavors and vibrant character, appeals to a diverse range of consumers across various demographics. While it may have originated in the southwestern United States, its popularity has spread far beyond its regional roots, captivating the taste buds of individuals worldwide.

Among its enthusiasts are:

Tropical Beverage Enthusiasts: Those who enjoy tropical-inspired beverages with fruity and citrusy flavors find Cactus Cooler to be a delightful option for quenching their thirst and satisfying their craving for a taste of the tropics.

Soft Drink Connoisseurs: Fans of carbonated soft drinks appreciate Cactus Cooler for its unique flavor profile and refreshing fizz, making it a refreshing alternative to traditional sodas and colas.

Partygoers and Gatherings: Cactus Cooler often makes an appearance at parties, barbecues, and gatherings as a refreshing beverage option that appeals to guests of all ages. Its vibrant colors and tropical taste make it a popular choice for celebrations and social events.

Outdoor Enthusiasts: Whether lounging by the pool, hiking in the great outdoors, or enjoying a picnic in the park, Cactus Cooler offers a refreshing way to stay hydrated and energized during outdoor activities.

Overall, Cactus Cooler attracts a diverse fan base of individuals who appreciate its tropical flavors, refreshing fizz, and versatility as a standalone beverage or mixer in cocktails and mocktails.

What percent is Cactus Cooler?

Cactus Cooler is a non-alcoholic carbonated soft drink, which means it contains no alcohol. Instead, it is typically composed of a blend of fruit flavors, sweeteners, carbonated water, and other ingredients to achieve its signature taste profile. The exact composition and percentage of each ingredient may vary depending on the brand and formulation.

While Cactus Cooler does not contain alcohol, it offers a refreshing and flavorful beverage option that appeals to a wide range of consumers seeking a taste of the tropics without the need for alcoholic content. Whether enjoyed straight from the can or mixed into creative concoctions, Cactus Cooler provides a satisfying sip that transports drinkers to sun-drenched shores and exotic locales with each refreshing fizz.

Why is it called Cactus Cooler?

The name “Cactus Cooler” likely derives from the beverage’s association with the desert landscape and the refreshing sensation it evokes. The cactus, often synonymous with arid environments and resilient survival, lends its name to the drink, conjuring images of sun-soaked deserts and prickly pear cacti swaying in the breeze.

Additionally, the term “cooler” suggests a refreshing and chilled beverage, perfectly suited for quenching thirst and providing relief from the heat. Together, “Cactus Cooler” encapsulates the essence of a refreshing tropical drink that transports consumers to an oasis of flavor and refreshment amidst the desert landscape.

What alcohol uses cactus?

Several alcoholic beverages incorporate cactus as a key ingredient or flavoring agent, offering a unique and distinct taste profile that appeals to adventurous drinkers. Among the most notable alcoholic beverages that use cactus are:

Tequila: While tequila is primarily made from the blue agave plant, which is not a cactus but a succulent, some tequila producers may use other types of agave plants that belong to the cactus family. However, the majority of tequila brands use blue agave as the primary ingredient in their production process.

Mezcal: Mezcal, like tequila, is distilled from agave plants, which are not true cacti but belong to the same botanical family. Some mezcal varieties may incorporate agave species that are colloquially referred to as “wild cactus” or “cactus agave,” although they are technically succulents rather than true cacti.

Cactus-based Liqueurs: Some liqueurs are infused with cactus fruit or extract to impart a distinctive flavor and aroma. These liqueurs may be used in cocktails or enjoyed on their own as a flavorful digestif.

While cactus is not the primary ingredient in most alcoholic beverages, it can contribute unique flavors and characteristics when used in distillation or infusion processes.

What kind of alcohol is made from cactus?

The most well-known alcoholic beverage made from cactus is mezcal, a traditional Mexican spirit distilled from the agave plant. While agave plants are often colloquially referred to as “cactus” due to their appearance, they are technically succulents rather than true cacti. Mezcal is typically produced from the agave species known as Agave espadin, although other agave varieties may also be used in mezcal production.

Additionally, while not a traditional alcoholic beverage, some modern distillers may experiment with using cactus fruit or extract to flavor spirits such as vodka or gin. These cactus-infused spirits offer a unique and exotic twist on traditional spirits, adding a touch of desert-inspired flavor to cocktails and mixed drinks.

Final Thoughts

A Cactus Cooler shot was inspired by a canned beverage native to Southern California, one of the summer delights that make drinkers refreshed and chilled. 

Though there are several recipe variations that you might find in each bar you go to, you can still savor its classy orange and lemon flavors. 

Also, you can make your own Cactus Cooler shot at home with the recipe we mentioned. Mixed with vodka and energy soda served in a shot glass, this is an ideal summer delight. 


  1. Energy Drinks
Lumint ad Side Bar
Flex Ad Side Bar