How to Float Liquor for Drinks and Shots: Proofs, Liqueurs, and Layering
I’ve always been fascinated by the contrast of colors and how they interact with one another. I see it as a form of art that goes beyond what we can see on a surface level. When you think about it, there’s an entire world going on in your drink when you layer them. It’s such an intriguing concept to me because I love exploring new things and seeing something different from what others do. So today, let’s explore the science behind layering drinks!
The idea of layering cocktails may seem a little confusing at first, but it is not as complicated as you might think. Once you understand the basics, it becomes so much easier to create drinks like this on your own time. Let’s get started!
The Science in Layering your next Drink
There are many ways that bartenders choose to layer drinks. But it really all boils down to a science. When layering drinks, the mixer must keep the alcohol’s density in mind to combine the right liquids. Each alcoholic beverage has its own specific gravity. When learning to layer, a specific gravity chart is very helpful.
Higher density alcohols are said to sink below those that are of lighter densities. Of course, there would be times when two ingredients are of the same density level. In this case, the drinks are to be mixed with great precision in order to result in successful layering.
Most of the time, bartenders and drink mixers would use a plastic syringe to be able to get the right amount in the glass and at a slower pace. Experts would tell you that the slower process you try to mix these drinks together, the better the outcome. Even if a syringe is not handy you can also slowly pour the liquor by using the back of your spoon to create a trickle effect instead of a direct pouring of the liquor.
One of the more difficult techniques in bartending is layering or floating liqueurs. Although this seems like a challenge, there is a very simple method that you can use. Each liqueur weighs differently and either floats or sinks when added to another. Most recipes are written with the heaviest liqueurs printed first. If all else fails, experiment and get used to the liqueurs that you most often use.
The art of layering cocktails is a science and an art form that all bartenders should know. It takes creativity, knowledge of the different flavors, and patience to create beautiful patterns on your cocktail canvas. Here are some tips for you to try when working with layers:
- Pick two or three liqueurs that will complement each other in color and flavor.
- Pour one liqueur into the glass at an angle so it pools against the side of the glass (this will be your base).
- Add another liqueur over top at a 45-degree angle so it mixes with both the bottom layer as well as part of its own volume (this will be your second layer).
- Pour the liqueurs into the glass, simply use the rounded or back part of a spoon and rest it against the inside of the glass.
- Slowly pour down the spoon and into the glass. The liqueur should run down the inside of the glass and smooth layer. This technique takes practice but can be mastered by anyone.
Make sure that the liqueurs are poured in order of their weight, starting with the heaviest first.
You can see some specific gravities of various alcohols here. This may help in your quest to create the perfect layered drink.
Your Guide to Creating Layered Shooters: by Monica Caserta
A layered shot is a fun and festive drink that can be enjoyed by many people at the same time. It’s not hard to make, but you need to have some knowledge about how the specific gravity of different liquors works together. If you don’t know what this means, read on for an explanation and tips on making your own layered shots!
Floating liquor for drinks and shots can be a tricky task, but it is well worth the effort. Floating liquor is what makes layered drinks like the flaming shooter possible. It’s also necessary to make some other drinks with two or more layers of alcohol and liqueurs (e.g., Baileys Irish Cream). If you don’t know the specific gravity of your liquors or liqueurs, you can read their proofs to help create layered shots that will not mix together in one glass!
Lower proofs of liqueurs generally mean there is more sugar and that the liqueur is thicker and heavier (e.g. 151 rum can be floated on top to make flaming shooters). Remember, the same type of flavored liqueurs that are made by different companies can sometimes have different proofs (or specific gravity), and this conflict with other liqueurs can spoil the layered presentation.
If a person tries to create a shooter and messes up the layers, he can place the shooter in the refrigerator for about an hour and the liqueurs will separate themselves. (ok, nice idea but who wants to wait an hour for their drink? Once inside, they all taste the same.)