They are eye catchers, they are fun to drink and not as difficult to make as it may seem.
We talk about layered drinks; to be more specific: layered cocktails or layered shots.
Layered cocktails do not create new textures or flavors but make a beautiful presentation, showcase all the ingredients and could add something special to the drinking or eating experience as different flavors or temperatures are experienced in turns in creative ways. Layered drinks can be drunk at once (shots), with a straw and layer by layer, or, if you dare, stir the layers and enjoy it this way!
A layered drink, also called a pousse-café, is a cocktail in which various liqueurs and drinks are used to create an array of colored layers. They have been traditionally made by carefully pouring slowly one liqueur at a time over the back of a spoon. This process requires practice, patience and takes sometimes long time, but with a little bit of patience and practice, everything is possible.
The simple principle behind layering is: the sweeter the drink the heavier it is. The more sugar something contains, the further down you will find the layer. Very sweetened drinks have a strong density and will always be at the bottom of the glass, followed by fruit juices, water and on top those with the least water and the most alcohol, such as rum with 75% alcohol by volume.
Step by step instructions
All you really need for this is a spoon. But if your bottles are very full, cocktail pourers can help you pour them slow and steady.
Figure out the specific gravity of each of the ingredients in your drink. Check out the image above, it will help you as a main guideline. You may need to research online or just experiment. Sort out your ingredients in terms of heaviness, so you can pour them in from HEAVIEST TO LIGHTEST.
Pour the heaviest liquor or liqueur into a glass of your choice. Just keep in mind, that the broader the glass the less the layers will be noticeable. Try not to get any up on the sides – pour straight down into the center of the glass.
How to pour a layered cocktail
Turn a spoon upside down. Place it inside the glass, with the tip of the spoon against the inside edge of the glass, above the first layer. Be careful not to touch the first layer with your spoon.
Pour the next heaviest liqueur as slowly as possible over the back of the spoon, moving the spoon up as the level of ingredients rises (keep it above the ingredients). It’s easier to do this with a bottle that’s half full (or less) rather than one that’s nearly full, so you may need to pour some of the liquor or liqueur into another container. Pour from the opposite side of where you’re holding the spoon (see picture). If the two ingredients mix up a little bit, give them a few seconds to settle, and they usually separate nicely.
Repeat the process with the third layer, continuing to raise the spoon as you pour. Bring it as close as you dare to the top (you can always wipe off any spillage on the outside of the glass). As you get closer to the rim of the glass, you can move the spoon just a few millimeters away from the edge of the glass and continue to pour over it – that gives the liqueur plenty of room to land in the glass without landing too heavily. (Besides, the further along you get in that layer, the less danger there is of disturbing the one beneath it.)
Your finished result is three (or more, for the daring) distinct layers in different colors. Of course, this means you need to pick ingredients that aren’t too close in color if they’re next to each other (unless that’s what you want). This is an extremely artistic approach to cocktail pouring, and there’s no end to what you can come up with.
We put together two of our favorite layered cocktails:
Ghana Independence day cocktail:
If you want to impress your guests with a cocktail in traditional Ghanaian colors you will need following:
Chase Elderflower Liqueur (available at Xanadu-world.com)
Fill a highball glass (or any other glass) with ice cubes. Pour in the Melon liqueur (which will sink to the bottom). Gently pour in the Chase Elderflower Liqueur. Do not shake. Gently splash in a bit of cranberry juice. Do not mix. Drink will be layered, from top to bottom; green, yellow, red.
This drink looks amazing in any glass and is perfect for someone who enjoys Martinis.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 ounce Gin: we use Williams Chase GB Extra Dry Gin (available at Xanadu-world.com)
1 ounce Armagnac: we use Bas Armagnac - J. Goudouline (available at Xanadu-world.com)
1 ounce Vermouth: we use La Canallese - Extra Dry Vermouth (available at Xanadu-world.com)
2 dashes orange bitters
Directions: Stir with ice and strain into a chilled glass.