Tag Archives: bartending

How to Pour a Pousse-café

Pousse-café sounds horribly exotic. In truth, it’s nothing more than a layered drink, and it’s quite easy to accomplish. The results, when done well, are amazing to look at. To accomplish this, it requires a bit of knowledge of science, and a bit of skill.

First, the knowledge – one of the properties of liquids includes something known as a specific gravity. As Wikipedia puts it “Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a reference substance.” For liquids, the reference substance is water. The higher the specific gravity of a liquid, the heavier it is. This property allows for different liquids to appear as if separate from one another.

The spirits world is filled with a tremendous variation from alcohol to alcohol. Typically speaking, the more sugar and less alcohol, the higher the specific gravity. The lower the sugar and higher the alcohol, the smaller the density. So, in selecting your alcohols, you would want a variation between which alcohols you picked.

So Step 1? Pick your alcohols that you wish to use in your drink.

Step 2 – Pour your drinks from heaviest to lightest. The trick is to pour slowly off of the back of a teaspoon (or other similar surface that gains you some measure of control), onto either the side of the glass, or just above the previous layer. This does take some skill, but it’s not a difficult one to master. When I’ve tried it, it took me two attempts to get it right. I also found using a Martini glass helped immensely.

Here’s the specific gravity of some of the more popular liquors out there, along with their flavors and colors:

Specific Gravity 1.18
Crème de banane (banana): Gold
Crème de cassis (black currant): Blood Red

Specific Gravity 1.17
Anisette (licorice): Clear

Specific Gravity 1.16
Crème de menthe – colored – (mint): Green
Grenadine (pomegranate): Orange-red

Specific Gravity 1.15
Crème de cacao – colored – (chocolate): Brown
Crème de menthe – uncolored – (mint): Clear
Kahlúa (coffee): Dark Brown

Specific Gravity 1.14
Crème de cacao – uncolored – (chocolate): Clear
Maraschino (cherry): Clear

Specific Gravity 1.13
Parfait d’armour (Rose/Orange/Vanilla): Violet

Specific Gravity 1.12
Cherry Liqueur (cherry): Dark Red
Crème de noyaux (almond): Bright Red
Strawberry Liqueur (strawberry): Pink/Red

Specific Gravity 1.11
Blue Curaçao (orange): Blue
Gallioano (vanilla-orange): Amber

Specific Gravity 1.10
Amaretto (almond): Amber
Blackberry Liqueur (blackberry): Dark Red
orange Curaçao (orange): Orange

Specific Gravity 1.09
Apricot Liqueur (apricot): Orange
Cranberry Liqueur (cranberry): Red
Tia Maria (coffee-rum): Brown
Triple Sec (orange): Clear

Specific Gravity 1.08
Drambuie (whisky/honey): Reddish Amber
Frangelico (hazelnut): Brown
Sambuca (licorice): Clear

Specific Gravity 1.07
Apricot Brandy (apricot): Amber
Blackberry Brandy (blackberry): Purple-Red
Campari (herbal/bitters): Bright Red

Specific Gravity 1.06
Cherry Brandy (cherry): Purple-Red
Peach Brandy (Peach): Yellow-Orange
Yellow Chartreuse (herbal): Bright Yellow

Specific Gravity 1.05
Midori (melon): Green
Kümmel (sweet Caraway, cumin, fennel): Clear
Peach Schnapps (peach): Clear

Specific Gravity 1.04
Sloe Gin (plum/sloe): Purple-Red
Brandy (Brandy): Amber
Cointreau (orange peel): Clear
Peppermint Schnapps (peppermint): Clear

Specific Gravity 1.01
Green Chartreuse (herbal): Green

Specific Gravity 1.00

Specific Gravity 0.98
Tuaca (brandy-vanilla): Amber

Specific Gravity 0.97
Southern Comfort (bourbon-fruit): Amber-Orange

Specific Gravity 0.94
Kirsch (cherry): clear

(PHOTO CREDIT: From RNAlexander via the Creative Commons license)

When is a pint not a pint?

Apparently when bars and taverns try to save a dollar or two. From the Wall Street Journal:

Beer prices at bars and restaurants have risen over the past few months, as prices of hops and barley have skyrocketed and retail business has slowed alongside the economy.

Some restaurants have replaced 16-ounce pint glasses with 14 ouncers — a type of glassware one bartender called a “falsie.”

And customers are complaining that bartenders are increasingly putting less than 16 ounces of beer in a pint glass, filling up the extra space with foam.

I’m of the mind that a bar can serve whatever sizes they wish, but if they serve it under the nomenclature of “pint”, then I better be getting sixteen ounces of beer. For you beer fans out there, don’t stand for this. Either hold them to the pint standard, or find a different place to drink.

(via Law for Food)

Ginger Ale Deception

Dear Bartenders of the world,

On behalf of fans of Ginger Ale, I would like to make the following observation:

If a customer asks for ginger ale, and you don’t carry ginger ale, it is perfectly okay to state that “We don’t carry ginger ale at this location”.

In fact, letting us know that you don’t have ginger ale is far preferable to being served a glass of Sprite or 7-up, with a spritz of cola added. You see, this concoction lacks the one ingredient that makes ginger ale worth purchasing…the ginger.

What you are in fact serving, is a very lame suicide soda (aka a graveyard or swampwater soda).

I tell you this because I care.



tags technorati : ginger ale drink bartending