This simple layered drink, comprised of three liqueurs, is demonstrative of this classic French mixologist’s technique. The liqueurs are slowly, gently poured over the back of a spoon to diffuse their impact on the layer below. Each liqueur remains relatively intact, showing the colors beautifully. These cocktails are sometimes served flaming in bars or restaurants.
Pousse-café literally translates to ‘coffee-pusher’.
A layered (or “stacked”) drink, sometimes called a pousse-café, is a kind of cocktail in which the slightly different densities of various liqueurs are used to create an array of colored layers, typically three to seven. The specific gravity of the liquid ingredients increases from top to bottom. Liqueurs with the most dissolved sugar and the least alcohol are densest and are put at the bottom. These include fruit juices and cream liqueurs. Those with the least water and the most alcohol, such as rum with 75% alcohol by volume, are floated on top.
These drinks are made primarily for visual enjoyment rather than taste. They are sipped, sometimes through a silver straw, one liqueur at a time. The drink must be made and handled carefully to avoid mixing; however, some layered drinks, such as shooters, are generally drunk quickly.
- Layer ingredients, one on top of the other with Benedictine at the bottom, then in order, upwards, in a pony glass.
- Use the back of a spoon and pour the liqueurs very slowly to avoid mixing.