Mixing Annex – Pousse Cafe

August 16, 2010

Voulez-vous pousse avec moi? But of course.

Layered cocktails separate the men from the boys in the mixology profession. It is a steady hand, simple physics and luck that makes these potent potions pure art.

The name is French, pronounced poos ka-FAY, which means push the coffee. However, this drink style originated in New Orleans during the late 19th Century.

Don’t expect to get it right the first time. But then, that’s half the fun of creating a pousse cafe: drinking your mistakes. Note, too, that many of these beverages look a lot better than they taste. Perhaps you are sacrificing flavor for flair, but that’s a completely subjective decision for you to make.

We hope you paid attention during physics because the pousse cafe is half science, half skill. Heavy ingredients on the bottom, light ingredients on top. Follow the directions very carefully. Oh, and one other thing — don’t go looking for a government grant to study pousse mixology. The taxpayers wouldn’t go for it (we’d surely support it at cocktail.com, though).

Take a look at our Key to Specific Gravity for a list of your favorite spirits according to weight and color.

Here are a few tips:

Use a small diameter glass. It’s easier.

Slowly pour alcohol along long stemmed cocktail spoon or stirrer. Be sure it is touching side of glass.

As a rule, ingredients with higher alcohol percentage are lighter, but always follow directions exactly or use a density guide.

Pousse cafes can be prepared in advance and kept for up to one hour when refrigerated.

Remember density guides are not perfect, because density will vary from brand to brand. Use the same brand of alcohol to ensure consistent results.

Here’s a little list of layered cocktails to end the summer. A word of caution: these drinks are very difficult to make. So get your spoons and stirring rods ready, and wait until after you’ve made them to start drinking, if you know what we mean. Cheers!

Angel’s Delight
You’ll think this one’s heaven-sent.

Angel’s Kiss
Someone upstairs likes you.

Angel’s Tip
Sharpen your cocktail-making skills on this one.

Angel’s Wing
Another divine drink.

Bombs away.

Fifth Avenue
For street-savvy mixologists.

Port & Starboard
It’s sink or swim for the aspiring bartender.

Pousse Cafe
The ultimate cocktail in its class.

Pousse L’Amour
We’re in love with this one.

Princess Pousse Cafe
You don’t have to be royalty to enjoy it.

Stars & Stripes
Say ‘Sousa’ three times when you’ve had one.

[Photo credit: Sanctu]

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