Want a celebratory drink for July 4th?
How about a red, white and blue layered shooter?
A drink with several layers of different colored liqueurs is called a pousse café (pronounced POOSE-caff-fay). A classic pousse café is a liqueur-based drink served with after-dinner coffee. In French, the name translates to “pushes coffee,” or coffee chaser. The term first appeared in France in 1880.
Because different liqueurs have different densities, they can be made to sit atop each other in discrete layers, when poured in order of densest to lightest. The result is a fun drink that delights the eye, rather than a strategic layering of flavors.
Three flavors can be combined in a shot glass, or more flavors in a tall cordial glass or a whiskey glass. We’ve had one with seven different layers—although that’s not necessarily a good thing. It may look stunning, but combining seven flavors in a pleasing manner is a tough job.
The minute you tip the glass to drink, you’ll be getting tastes of all or several liqueurs—which is why it’s a good idea to cap them at three. Some bartenders provide a straw to sip the pousse café one layer at a time.
The original recipe is believed to have been red, yellow and green layers: grenadine, yellow chartreuse and green chartreuse.
But you can make a red, white and blue July 4th pousse café. Just call it a shooter: an all-American drink for Independence Day.