How to make a layered cocktail or mocktail - as long as you follow these rules, you can use whatever drinks and whatever colours you like!

The Twitter addicts amongst you may have noticed that I took a quick trip to Paris last month (90% of my tweets from my trip were about how I was lost in St Pancras train station, so apologies for that…). A few journalists and bloggers (including me, Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Margot from Coffee and Vanilla) were whizzed across the channel by the lovely people at Teisseire for a stunning lunch at Porte 12 (supposedly Paris’ best kept secret).

If you’re not aware of Teisseire, they are a French company who produce beautiful flavoured syrups (or sirops, for those of you who are more continental), which have recently been launched in the UK. You can use the syrups like cordial, just mixed with water, or you can use them in cocktails, desserts, coffee, etc. They’re pretty versatile, and come in all sorts of flavours.

One of the words in the above lists stands out to me as more exciting than the others (hopefully you agree): cocktails! I thought I’d use the grenadine flavoured syrup to make a rather pretty layered mocktail (alcohol-free cocktail) with orange juice and lemonade. If you’re more inclined towards alcohol, I also tried making the same drink using Chambord raspberry liqueur instead of the syrup, and that worked fine too.

It does require a little bit of experimentation, but here’s my attempt at explaining how to make a layered cocktail or mocktail.

How to make a layered cocktail or mocktail - as long as you follow these rules, you can use whatever drinks and whatever colours you like!

How to make a layered cocktail / mocktail

The key to making layered drinks is to first choose what order you need to pour the layers in. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as just picking which colours look pretty next to each other. The order that the layers will settle in is decided by the relative densities of the liquids – i.e. heavier liquids are going to sink to the bottom. If you want really distinct stripes in your cocktail or mocktail, pour the densest liquid first, working your way up to the least dense. Or, if you want your layers to bleed into each other a little, pour the least dense liquid first, and as the denser liquid trickles to the bottom, the layers will combine a little.

I appreciate that that sentence contained the word ‘dense’ about seventeen times, but I’m afraid I’m not stopping just yet. Just a few more to come.

So, how on earth do you figure out which liquids are the densest?

Layered cocktails

Let’s start with the alcoholic version, since let’s face it, we all know that’s where a lot of us are going to be ending up.

Different alcohols have different densities. As a general rule, thicker, sweeter alcohols like fruit liqueurs are going to be denser than stronger, purer alcohol like spirits. If you Google ‘specific gravities of alcoholic drinks’, there are several pages which list the densities of different types of alcohol (here’s one that looks pretty thorough!). The bigger the difference between the densities of the drinks you choose, the better they will be at creating distinct layers.

Layered mocktails

When layering soft drinks, it’s all about the sugar content of each drink, which is easy to find as it’s usually clearly displayed on the back of the bottle. Drinks with a high sugar content are going to be heavier than low-sugar drinks. Again, the bigger the difference, the better the layers will be.

How to make a layered cocktail or mocktail - as long as you follow these rules, you can use whatever drinks and whatever colours you like!

How to pour a layered cocktail / mocktail

Right, so you’ve chosen the drinks that you want to layer up. If you just pour them all in willy nilly, you’re going to end up with a big mess – even if you pour them in the right order. No, you need to pour very gently to make sure the drinks don’t just all mix together.

Here’s a great technique that I found worked really well.

Start by pouring your first layer (usually the heaviest liquid, unless you want the layers to bleed together a little). I started with orange juice. You don’t need to be careful here, just get it in the glass.

How to make a layered cocktail or mocktail - as long as you follow these rules, you can use whatever drinks and whatever colours you like!

Next, balance a spoon face down inside the top of the glass, above the level of liquid (see the photo below for a clearer explanation, since I am finding it hard to word today). Gently pour the next liquid over the back of the spoon. Gently, I said! I used diet lemonade (low sugar –> sits on top of the sugary orange juice).

How to make a layered cocktail or mocktail - as long as you follow these rules, you can use whatever drinks and whatever colours you like!

It’s hard to see the layers with these two drinks because they do bleed together a bit, but the layers become more obvious once you add the third layer.

The third layer I poured, the grenadine Teisseire syrup, was actually the densest liquid, meaning it sank to the bottom underneath the layers I’d already poured. I found that this gave the best effect with the colours I was using – you will need to experiment to find the best order to pour your layers.

Again, use the spoon, and pour very slowly and gently.

How to make a layered cocktail or mocktail - as long as you follow these rules, you can use whatever drinks and whatever colours you like!

And there you have it! As you can see, the grenadine clings to the orange juice more than it clings to the lemonade, giving that orange colour in the middle.

I also tried an alcoholic version as well, using Chambord raspberry liqueur instead of the grenadine syrup. It gave a similarly beautiful effect, but with less distinct layers.

(note I used a bit less Chambord than I did Teisseire, as I only had a tiny bit left… I may have drunk the rest…)

How to make a layered cocktail or mocktail - as long as you follow these rules, you can use whatever drinks and whatever colours you like!

Once you’ve got your cocktail, you can either drink it the classy way, sipping it slowly with your little finger stuck out, orrrr you can stick some umbrellas and straws in it and drink it the fun way, as cocktails are meant to be drunk.

How to make a layered cocktail or mocktail - as long as you follow these rules, you can use whatever drinks and whatever colours you like!

Now that you know how to make a layered cocktail, here are a few other variations you could try:

4th July mocktail from 365ish Days Of Pinterest
Blackberry Moscow mules from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
Layered tropical smoothie from Sober Julie
Layered fruit gazpacho from Back To Her Roots
Cuban layered coffee from Sweet Paul
Strawberry peanut butter milkshake from Green Kitchen Stories
Super power punch from Yellow Bliss Road
The Vampire’s Eclipse from The Slow Roasted Italian

Or if you’d prefer something a bit more straightforward, you might like my peach and basil white sangria:

Peach and basil white sangria

Note: this is not a sponsored post. I was not paid to write this post, but I was taken for a lovely lunch in Paris by the folk at Teisseire.