The Simple Spoon Hack To Build Beautiful Layered Smoothies

When building your perfect smoothie, it can be difficult to make one that looks as good as it tastes. Somewhere in between your frozen blueberries, fresh spinach, and turmeric powder, your protein-packed morning snack starts to look less like a That Girl IG post and more like a blender full of brown sludge.

One way around this color confusion is to layer your smoothie. You've may have seen gorgeous layered smoothies at your favorite trendy brunch spot, or on the social media highlight reel of just about any mommy blogger. But they're not so difficult to make on your own.

The trick is to not simply dump your ingredients one on top of the other. New York Times food columnist Melissa Clark recently shared her secret for making perfectly layered smoothies: the spoon trick. In an Instagram video, Clark demonstrates how you can pour your smoothie flavors into a glass over the back of a spoon, so that each new layer falls evenly over the one below.

How to use the spoon trick

The spoon trick works because it reduces the pressure of the falling liquid, preventing splashes and dips and creating an even surface. This trick works better with layers that are liquid enough to pour evenly, but not so liquidy that they will begin to mix.

Sure, it requires a little more work. You have to blend each layer separately, and rinse out your blender in between. And if making more than one serving, you don't just want to dump all your layers back in the blender together. But layering smoothies like this offers a variety of benefits. They can provide potential for wonderful textural differences and bright pops of flavor, not to mention color, in your glass. Imagine dipping your spoon into a bright, fruity bite of frozen blueberries and coconut milk, followed by a cool, creamy bite of yogurt, with chia-infused strawberry puree at the bottom for a little something to crunch on.

Origins of the spoon trick

This smoothie spoon trick actually comes from the world of bartending. Floating different spirits over the back of a spoon to create perfectly layered cocktails has been a bartender's secret for generations, used for mastering layered drinks like the Tequila Sunrise (made with tequila, orange juice, and grenadine, whose layers replicate the streaked sky at sunset) and the festive Fourth of July Red and Blue cocktail (whose grenadine, lemonade, and blue curaçao layers mimic the stripes of an American flag). 

This layering technique is typically used on cocktails with several boldly colored ingredients, to prevent muddying various colors by mixing them. But it is also used for drinks that might have a single float, like a Black and Tan made with light beer topped with Guinness, or a whiskey sour with a garnet hued head of red wine on top to zhuzh up an otherwise mid bar staple.