October 20, 2010


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As a mixologist most of the drinks I make are well… mixed, but sometimes when I don’t want the drink to be some shade of brown or I’m trying to impress some friends, I’ll make a fancy layered drink. While most websites or recipes will tell you that it is quite simple to layer a drink: “Just use a spoon!” I could not disagree more. Layering drinks is a skill that requires some honing. The first few layered drinks you make will probably come out all wrong, but with some practice, you can master this skill. I recommend turning it into a pregame where you practice making layered shots. It’s a refreshing change from drinking Four Lokos while you wait for T-Shirt Time. (The Four Lokos may have gotten me into a little trouble this Saturday and I agree with Milos that they are not fit for human consumption so I will stick with Joose.)

To layer a shot you need to hold a spoon so that it touches the glass and carefully poor the ingredients over the back of the spoon so that they flow down the side of the glass and settle without disturbing the ingredients on the bottom. Of course you need to pour the ingredients in order of most to least dense. In my experience, an actual bartending spoon is a must. They work much better than a random spoon from your mismatched house silverware collection. The smaller size of the bartending spoon fits more nicely inside the shot glass it makes a difference, but if you don’t have one use a small spoon. Having a pourer on the bottle also helps a lot unless you can poor very steadily.


1 part Kahlua

1 part Bailey’s Irish Cream

1 part Grand Marnier

Layer the ingredients and drink through a straw bottom layer first or just shoot it! For a popular variation you can top it off with a very thin layer of overproof rum and light it on fire to create the Flaming B-52. Use a straw and drink it fast so the straw doesn’t melt!

That sounds great, but if sweet shots aren’t your thing you can experiment with layering beers. The prime example is the Black and Tan, a mixture of a pale ale or lager and a dark stout or porter. In this case having a defined layer is not as important as the beers will blend together as you drink them, but there should definitely be a clear difference in color at the top and bottom of the glass. Fill the glass halfway with the tan beer then poor the black beer over a spoon touching the glass. In this case your random spoon will come in handy.

Black and Tan

Half Guinness Draught

Half Harp Lager

This is the most popular recipe for the Black and Tan but don’t feel limited to just using these two beers.

Black and Blue

Half Guinness Draught

Half Blue Moon

A popular variation prominently featuring one of my favorite beers, Blue Moon!

Original Author: Ben Bissantz