Tomorrowland Drink Recipe: Plus Ultra Shot

Start that bright future off right with this science-inspired concoction. 

Plus Ultra Shot

Plus Ultra Shot


  • 1 Jigger (2 oz, or 60mL) total Pisco brandy (Kappa used here) + Viniq Original Shimmery Liqueur + Maraschino Liqueur (Maraska brand used here), recommended ratio 1 oz (2tbsp) Pisco + 1/2 oz (1tbsp) Viniq + 1/2 oz (1tbsp) Maraschino, or to taste


  1. Set out a 2.5oz shot tumbler
  2. Add the maraschino liqueur to the tumbler
  3. Set a barspoon down sloped gently onto the surface of the maraschino: pour the Viniq onto the spoon to flow and layer over the maraschino
  4. Repeat the process with the brandy above the Viniq


“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Tomorrowland is a movie about progress, science, technology, futurism, and optimism in the human condition. To us, layered shots always looked like the future: spirits seemingly defying gravity and entropy, just floating separate above each other. That’s actually the trick: they’re floating, like ice over water. Because of the different amounts of (mostly) sugar in liqueurs, and differences in alcohol-to-water content, different bottles will have different densities. A cup of each would weigh differently on a scale. Using that to our advantage, as long as the spirits are gently set on top of each other, rather than violently poured or mixed, they’ll want to stay separate for a fairly long time.

The technical concept behind pouring layered drinks involves getting each subsequent layer to touch those in the glass as lightly and slowly as possible. With gravity as a constant, the way to do that is to redirect all of the falling speed from pouring  from downward to sideways across the surface. You see this on a lot of spiral handled barspoons. Pouring slowly onto the spiral lets the spirit run down the spiral, onto the bowl, and then gently out onto the surface of the lower spirit, and it never penetrates.

Of course, order in this case matters. If you put a low density (light, want-to-float) liquid on the bottom, and pour a heavier spirit (e.g. liqueur vs spirit) on top, no matter how gently you pour it will mix itself. Layer from heaviest to lightest.

Another secret? If you give shots with well-chosen bottles enough time, with the right pour order a sloppy separation will still clean itself up as the heavy sinks and the light ones rise.

Maraschino liqueurs often have surprisingly high sugar content, due to the rich (and somewhat bitter from pit) cherry flavor they have to balance, so outside of flavored syrups they often end up near the bottom of a layered drink. Conversely, young spirits like Pisco brandy have been distilled to have no dissolved sugar or other solids, so their density is only a function of alcohol content. Spirits tend to be at the top, and layering multiple hard spirits is…challenging.

The liqueur in the middle, Viniq gets its unique lava-lamp look from food-grade mica, since of course you were curious. It’s a little too grape-y for me on its own, but blends fantastically here. The stuff is the product of much product development at E&J Gallo, and as far as I’m concerned has as much technology in its production as liqueur has ever got. The future is now.

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