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The New Look in Cocktails? Layers and Stripes.

Cocktails with distinct layers are captivating patrons at bars everywhere. These striking beverages, where liquids settle in visually appealing strata, are reminiscent of the fajita effect – where seeing the dish compels others to order the same.


  • The Visual Effect:
    Cocktails with layers, whether striped or ombré, are becoming popular as they are visually appealing for social media.
  • Floats vs Sinkers:
    Layering in cocktails is achieved either through floats or sinkers. Floats involve a liquid layer on the surface, while sinkers settle at the bottom due to their weight.
  • Historical Context:
    Layered drinks date back to before Prohibition, with notable examples being the Pousse Café and the New York Sour.
  • Modern Twists:
    Bars are now innovating with layered drinks. For instance, the Haifa Vice at Chez Zou in Manhattan allows patrons to add their own float. The Ley Lines at LilliStar in Brooklyn has a passion fruit garnish that guests can pour into their drink.
  • Beyond Alcoholic Cocktails:
    Non-alcoholic layered options are also available, like the Remolacha mocktail at elNico in Brooklyn.
  • The Layered Experience:
    While the visual appeal is undeniable, bartenders believe that these layers provide an enhanced drinking experience. A drink can change its taste profile as the layers mix over time, offering a dynamic experience for the drinker.

“Drinks change over time,” Joey Smith, the bar director at Chez Zou, opined. “I think floats are an interesting way for a cocktail to change as you drink it.”

Cocktails are now as much about the visual experience as they are about taste. With the rise of social media, aesthetics matter, and bartenders are getting creative with layered drinks, giving patrons a delightful blend of artistry and flavors. Whether you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy drink or simply to savor layers of taste, the modern layered cocktail has got you covered.

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