bullshot

[ boo l-shot ]
/ ˈbʊlˌʃɒt /

noun

a cocktail of vodka and beef bouillon or consommé.

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Origin of bullshot

First recorded in 1960–65; bull1 + shot1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

ABOUT THIS WORD

What else does bullshot mean?

Bullshot is the name of a cocktail made with vodka, beef bouillon, and Worcestershire sauce.

Bullshot is also sometimes used as a term for a screenshot of a video game doctored for promotional purposes.

Content warning: this article contains references to strong language.

Where does bullshot come from?

We aren’t B.S.-ing you, the bullshot cocktail is a real thing. According to a 2011 article in Edible Manhattan, the bullshot was developed around 1952 at the Caucus Club, a famous Detroit restaurant. It’s essentially a Bloody Mary that uses beef bouillon or consommé instead of tomato juice. The word bull plays on the drink’s beef broth and shot, its alcohol. Together, of course, they play on the vulgar slang bullshit.

By 1957, the bullshot had become trendy because of its vitamins, apparently. It remained popular until the 1970s and can still be found at some old-school steakhouses. The bullshot has always raised some eyebrows, however. Famously, Marilyn Monroe reportedly remarked of the cocktail: “What a horrible thing to do to vodka.”

How is bullshot used in real life?

The bullshot cocktail (sometimes written as bull shot) lives on as a specialty cocktail. It remains particularly associated with the city of Detroit, where it was invented, but it can also be found as far away as Berlin, Germany. With the new focus on the health benefits of broth, the bullshot experienced something of a comeback in the 2000s.

Within the gamer community, calling a screenshot of a game a bullshot is an insult. Gamers may notice that a screenshot features, say, character who doesn’t exist in the game, the resolution seems too good to be true, or the lighting is just a bit off. Essentially, bullshot calls out marketing materials that don’t present in-game graphics accurately. This sense of bullshot plays on screenshot and bullshit, i.e., a bullshit screenshot.

In addition to these uses of bullshot, there is also an English play satirizing the character Bulldog Drummond (a kind of WWI-era proto-James Bond type) called Bullshot Crummond, first performed in 1974. It was later made into a movie simply called Bullshot (1983).

And, of course, bullshot sometimes appears as a euphemistic (or accidental) misspelling of bullshit.

More examples of bullshot:

“…I was very disappointed when I discovered the bullshot cocktail ISN’T fake.”
—@AllusionistShow, March 2015

“Is @Twitter seriously suspending accounts for ducking swearing? That’s a bunch of bullshot.”
—@EmeryDodge, March 2018

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.