A “pousse cafe” is another term for a layered drink; a drink that’s usually made out of several different liqueurs of various densities to create a stunning layered effect. These were originally created to be pleasing on the eye as opposed to being pleasing on the palette, but today there are several recipes that can be just as pleasant to taste as they are to look at.
The original pousse cafe came from France, with the literal meaning of the term being “it pushes the coffee”. As such, it was used as a coffee chaser or as a digestif after the meal. It was traditionally made from grenadine, yellow chartreuse and green chartreuse, creating a stunning effect that was particularly aesthetically pleasing.
A pousse cafe is usually delicately sipped, often through a straw, to experience one liqueur at a time. The drink has to be made and subsequently handled extremely carefully to make sure that the stripes don’t mix, as the result could be a rather unappealing sludge in a glass. Not quite the look that the pousse cafe is supposed to achieve!
Although the original recipe contained only three ingredients, today there are a whole range of layered drinks recipes to tempt both the eyes and the taste-buds. All are created by carefully layering the liqueurs in order of density to result in the beautiful striped effect.
It’s vitally important that the maker carefully constructs the layers, and always make sure to put the densest ingredient in first to make sure it forms a steady base for the rest of the drink. The next few layers need to be carefully poured in with the lightest liqueur being at the top of the glass, as this will ensure that the stripes don’t mix together.
A couple of popular pousse cafe recipes are as follows:
- B-52. Simply pour 0.5 measures of Kahlua, Baileys and Grand Marnier into a glass in the order given.
- Angel’s Kiss. Pour 0.25 measures of white crème de cacao, sloe gin, brandy and light cream into a glass.
- Pousse cafe – updated version. 0.75 measures of grenadine, yellow chartreuse, crème de cassis, white crème de cacao, green chartreuse and brandy. Layer in the order given for a stunning effect.
Whatever pousse cafe recipe you go for, always make sure to have a steady hand when making it and always pour into an appropriate glass so you can get the full effect. You can even get specific pousse cafe glasses which are, as you would expect, perfect for all layered drinks recipes, but whichever one you choose you’re bound to be impressed with the results.