For those that do not know, there is a coffee drink that is sometimes called a shot in the dark. It consists of an espresso shot poured into a regular cup of Joe.

Suppose that I would like to order two of these drinks, for myself and a friend. The problem crops up when you consider that "two shots in the dark" may refer to either two shots of espresso in a single cup of coffee or two cups of coffee each with a shot of espresso.

There are alternate names for the drink, but they don't provide any relief. For example, a "shot in the dark" may be referred to as a black eye, and a "double shot in the dark" a red eye, but I have also heard these reversed (black eye for 2 and red eye for 1). Wikipedia lists several other names as "regional variants" but I was not familiar with any others.

Am I stuck doing a long manual disambiguation every time I present this order?

Current Options

  • I would like two shots in the dark. (ambiguous, requires disclaimer)
  • I would like two black eyes. (possibly dangerous)
  • I would like two shots in two different darks. (what I used this AM)
  • ? ? ?
  • 2
    My friend and I would each like a shot in the dark, please. Apr 23, 2014 at 21:29
  • I want a "shot in the dark" drink. My friend will have what I'm having.
    – Oldcat
    Apr 24, 2014 at 0:11
  • Neither of these comments works in the case the friend is not with me, which is often the case. It would be confusing to refer to a person who is not there. Apr 24, 2014 at 0:14
  • It becomes unambiguous if you simply add a small pause between the numeral and the drink, as if you're debating with yourself what drink it is you want two of: “I'll have two, err… shots in the dark”. May 25, 2014 at 7:48
  • 2
    "I'd like two drinks, please: a shot in the dark, and another shot in the dark."
    – Sven Yargs
    Jun 23, 2015 at 8:51

4 Answers 4


"2 shots in the dark" may refer to either two shots of espresso in a single cup of coffee or two cups of coffee each with a shot of espresso.

1 'shots in the dark', double espresso or 2 'shots in the dark' single espresso

  • Hey, now there's a good idea. Might try this tomorrow morning! Apr 23, 2014 at 20:03

I had to look up the term, a shot in the dark, although I am an espresso lover (the coffee kind) I have never heard this name for a “doppio espresso”.

A Shot in the Dark is a nice little drink. It's your normal brewed coffee (hopefully made with premium, fresh roasted, fresh ground beans) with a double espresso shot added for good measure. It's pretty straightforward, but not many people know about this wonder booster. It is also known as a Depth Charge...

Also known as: HammerheadBlack EyeBlack FandangoCanadianoEarly ShirleyKickintheAsspressoRedeye

By ordering Two shots... (“I'd like two shots in the dark”) you should not receive four shots of espresso in a single cup because a SITD contains two shots. A double shot in the dark is the equivalent of four servings of espresso in a single cup. When you ask your local barista for two double espressos, you should be served two cups of double espresso, not a cup that has four espresso servings. Ordering two double shots in the dark shouldn't be any different. In other words, the expression for four shots of espresso in a single cup would be a double shot in the dark

  • A shot in the dark (one cup)
  • Two shots in the dark (two cups)
  • A double shot in the dark (four servings of espresso in one cup)
  • Two double shots in the dark (two cups of the above)
  • You've hit on another potential reason this drink is grammatically confusing. The "shot" that goes in the dark can be one or two actual shots of espresso, and all the names seem to be used interchangeably. :( May 29, 2014 at 22:21
  • Well, verified by the barista how many shots of espresso are used, if you order as I suggested (it doesn't matter if the shots are one or two); "Two shots in the dark, please." the barista should give you two cups, whereas "Double shot in the dark" = one cup with double dose of coffee but "Two double shots in the dark" = 2 cups, each with double dose of espresso.
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 30, 2014 at 3:01

To be completely clear, refer to "2 orders of 'shot in the dark'"

  • I think this is a bit clunky and might be misunderstood due to sounding odd. You don't normally refer to "an order of [coffee drink]", and I am afraid it would cause a double-take just because of the odd wording. Apr 23, 2014 at 20:14

Consider inserting the simple adverb,"different" or "separate" when differentiating the request.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.