The terms are used interchangeably but, really, although both are served in miniature one-gulp glasses, there is a distinction between a shot and a shooter.
Shot and shooter
A shot is a drink with alcoholic ingredients; a shooter has alcoholic and non-alcoholic ingredients.
Layered drink has two or more liquors each floating on top of the other. The layering is possible because liquors have different densities. Following the rule of specific gravity, the heaviest liquor sinks to the bottom, the lighter one floats on top of it, and so on and so forth.
Liquid density and the rule of specific gravity applies to coffee-making too. How do you think the milk foam stays on top of the espresso in your cup of cappuccino?
Right. If you think that baristas need skill to make those latte macchiatos, well, bartenders don’t just need mixing skills. In many cases, they need to be inventive too and create original cocktail drinks.
How to make layered cocktail drinks
In the case of layered drinks, how come they don’t get mixed together? There is a technique for pouring. And although it takes some practice to create the floating layers, the pouring technique is not rocket science. You don’t have to be a professional bartender to learn it — just practice.
You use a bar spoon that you position upside down inside the glass. You pour the liquid directly onto the back of the spoon so that it spreads slowly around the edges of the glass first.
How to drink a layered cocktail
Unless otherwise instructed by your bartender, drink it with a straw. You’re supposed to sip the drink layer by layer and not altogether. It goes without saying that you’re not supposed to use your straw as a mixer to turn the layers into a homogenous mass.
Try making these layered drinks.
Updated from a post originally published in December 21, 2013