Monday, February 19, 2018


This is the penultimate Pousse-Cafe recipe as listed in the New York Bartender's guide circa 1997. You have to be really patient with layering six ingredients, and you need a good Pousse-Cafe glass. Most narrow cordial or dessert wine glasses will work.

I was not patient, nor were my ingredients standard to 1997 liqueurs. My triple sec is way stronger than the budget triple sec that has a lot of sugar. As such, it absorbed some of the green creme de menthe above it and became green. Also, my creme de cacao was very close in sweetness to the grenadine and became orange. Now that I think about it, dark creme de cacao would have been better for visuals.

But what worked was the creme de menthe, the cream and brandy. And look, there's a clear stripe below the center that is the Luxardo maraschino liqueur refusing to budge.

For all this effort, it is a strange drink with no unifying flavor. Pousse-Cafe are all cocktails that have the failing of being all about the look and the skill--a pretty dessert drink--but they don't have the drinker's taste in cocktail in mine. Rather you are supposed to drink coffee and sip off each layer at a time to flavor each sip of coffee.

Pousse-Cafe was a thing of the 1890s that re-appeared again in the 1990s as the bar scene came up with outlandish and bad tasting drinks for several years before dying down again until the late 2000s.
  • 1/2 oz. grenadine
  • 1/2 oz. creme de cacao
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. white curacao
  • 1/2 oz. green creme de menthe
  • 1/2 oz. half-and-half 
  • 1/2 oz. brandy
Carefully pour each ingredient in the order they are shown over the back of a spoon into a Pousse-Cafe glass. Refrigerate for half and hour before serving.

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