youtube youtube youtube
corner left
corner right
Ask the Expert

Essential Guide to Mixing Cocktails [title] Layering


Perhaps one of the most challenging methods of making cocktails but with the most fantastic visual effect. Layering is a way of building a drink in a glass ­ often a shot glass. Every ingredient is gently and steadily poured into the glass so that it sits on top of the previous layer.

There are 2 suggested ways of layering using a bar spoon ­ you may like to try both to see which you find works best for you. Firstly, hold the bar spoon touching the side of the glass and pour the ingredient carefully and slowly over it into the serving glass. Secondly, try pouring the ingredient down the twisted stem of the bar spoon, keeping the flat shaped disc end hovering over the surface of the drink. The liquid then slowly settles on top of the previous layer.

The finished result when using the layering method depends also on the specific gravity (or density) of each ingredient. Generally ­ the more sugar and less alcohol an ingredient has ­ the heavier it will be. The heaviest ingredients should always be poured first and the lightest last.

Most syrups are non-alcoholic - for example De Kuyper Grenadine - and have a high sugar content which makes them very heavy. Liqueurs are often lower alcohol than spirits but higher in sugar are generally the next heaviest ­ with the exception of cream liqueurs.

De Kuyper liqueurs can be heavier or lighter than other brands and the temperatures of the ingredients can also affect the final cocktail. It is worth taking time to experiment with various ingredients so that you can see how they interact with each other. Great examples of this technique are the Banana Split Shooter using De Kuyper Crème de Cacao White and De Kuyper Crème de Menthe or the Springbok which layers Amarula Cream and De Kuyper Crème de Menthe.


Another technique which is similar to layering is to “float” an ingredient. This usually refers to the last ingredient to be added to a cocktail which will sit on top of the finished recipe as part of the garnish. Examples of this method are liqueur coffee recipes such as the Disaronno Classico or the Vodka Espresso.

Return to Knowing the basics

View cocktail recipes Cheats corner Bartender Sponsors Features Glasses Where to buy cocktail ingredients Win free stuff Guide

inthespirit - the definitive guide to cocktails, cocktail making, ideas, videos, bartender hints and tips, competitions and cocktail recipes

For the facts about alcohol          


valid XHTML, valid CSS and design by