Cocktails at Home: Layering and Sex on the Beach


Last week I told you about some basic tips on how cocktails are generally made up. This week,we’re going to have some fun with layering. Layering is when you float one or more liquids on top of each other without them mixing. It’s a really cool way to change the look of your drinks and you can be really creative with it when coming up with new ideas for drinks.

I know someone who made a Rhubarb and Custard cocktail and floated the rhubarb part on top of the custard part. Then the clever part was he bound two straws together and cut them to different lengths. This way they were each in different parts of the drink and when you sipped you’d get equal amounts of each.

So, on to a bit of theory behind it. It’s pretty obvious, but you want the heaviest liquids on the bottom, and the 258lightest on the top. The way you can roughly figure out what will float on what is by two simple facts, the higher the sugar content the heavier it will be, and the higher alcohol content the lighter it will be.

Now that’s out the way we can get on to the technique. There are two ways to do it and they depend on whether you have ice in the glass or not. If you have ice its very easy – all you have to do is put the heavier liquid in first then very slowly pour the lighter liquid on to the ice. What this does is it stops it hitting the surface of the liquid and plunging in and mixing. It slows the fall so when it gets to the surface it gently filters on top and sits there. Now, if you want the drink with no ice this is still possible. You need to get a spoon, flip it upside down and place it into the glass. This is what’s going to break the fall of liquid instead of the ice, so get the spoon as low as possible and make sure the tip touches the side of the glass. Then same as before slowly pour the lighter of the two on the back of the spoon. And there you have it: easy as that.

So, on to using it in a drink. Generally, you’re not going to be layering individual components but you’re going to be layering things that are mixed. This makes it harder to determine which will be lighter. There’s an easy trick to make one part lighter, which is just shaking it. This waters it down slightly and gets air into the liquid.

Sex On The Beach 

Ok, so last time I talked about how most cocktails are built on the 1-1-2 formula (sweet-sour-spirit). For this ,you can disregard that formula. This is what’s known as a disco drink. It;s simpler and can be built in the glass which means no need for a shaker.



Peach schnapps

Cranberry juice

Orange juice


With this drink, you can include layering to have a bit of fun but it’s not necessary. I’m going to tell you the way to layer it, but if you don’t fancy it just skip out a few of the steps (it’ll be obvious which ones).

First, you’re going to need two glasses. In the one you want to use for your drink, put half a shot of peach schnapps Mixed Sex on the Beachand 2 shots of cranberry juice. Then fill this with ice, I prefer crushed (I use a hammer on cubed ice) but as I’ve said before everyone has different preferences so it’s up to you. In the other glass, mix 1 and a half shots of vodka and 2 shots of orange juice.

Once this is done, pour this mixture very slowly over the ice to create the two layers. If you do have a shaker, put the vodka and orange in that with some ice and give it a bit of a shake, this will create a better line for the layering. Now, to drink it, you’re going to want to mix it anyway but it’s a bit of fun, and when you do mix it – it creates a fade from red to orange which looks good too.


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