Make Cocktails at Home

Learn Mixology – in your own home!

Tag: Build

Triple Stacked Collins

Mixing Cocktails 101 – The Methods – Build

The Built Cocktail

When it comes to making quick and easy cocktails there is nothing faster than a built drink.

As the name suggests, building a cocktail is a process of adding one ingredient after the other and stacking them straight into the glass, no shaking or straining necessary.


When do we build cocktails?

We use the built drink mixing method to make cocktails that do not need the extra cooling, mixing or dilution that the other more aggressive mix methods give us – it works best with ingredients that will mix together easily.


Built drinks are often long drinks (served in highball or Collins glasses) and will normally have few ingredients.


The easiest order to make a built drink at home is:


Non alcoholic ingredients -> Spirits & Liqueurs -> Ice -> Mixer -> Garnish/Straw


How to Build


 Non-Alcoholic Ingredients

Start by adding the non-alcoholic ingredients (lemon or lime juice, syrups etc) to the glass first. Alcohol is pricey [well it is here in Sweden anyway…] so this way if you make a mistake with the measures of syrups or juices you’re not going to have to throw any precious booze away.



Once the non alcoholic ingredients are in the glass it’s time to add the spirits and liqueurs. Remember to use a measure to ensure the correct amount of booze goes into your cocktail as we want these drinks to taste good and that’s only going to happen if our proportions are correct.



Non-alcohol and alcohol are now in the glass so it’s time to add ice. Remember that for most drinks (especially those in Highball or Collins glasses) we want to add as much ice as possible as this will slow down the dilution and also stop us from adding to much mixer.



With the glass stacked with ice we can now add the mixers/lengthening ingredients (soda, coke, fruit juices etc). If you are making a long drink then pour the mixer until about ½ cm from the top of the glass – if the glass is too full then you’re more likely to spill.



Use your bar spoon to carefully give the drink a stir, add your garnishes and straws as necessary and you’re ready to serve.


Build cocktail example:

Cuba Libre (click link for full cocktail recipe)


Start with non-alcoholic ingredients

Start with non-alcoholic ingredients


Measure the rum

Carefully measure the alcohol


The Rum goes in

Pour the alcohol into the glass


Cuba Libre

Add ice, mixer, garnish and you’re done



Non alcoholic ingredients -> Spirits & Liqueurs -> Ice -> Mixer -> Garnish/Straw


Lime juice -> Cuban style Rum -> Ice -> Coca Cola -> Lime wedge and straw


Next mixing lesson will be Shake & strain, until then let me know if you have any questions or comments.



Weekend Cocktail – Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre

Another nice and easy cocktail just in time for the weekend, but don’t let the simple ingredients fool you as this is more than just a humble rum and coke – the addition of fresh lime juice gives a balance that makes this an easy drinking cocktail perfect in warmer weather. The balance in this case is achieved through the combination of sweet:sour ingredients, with the sweetness coming from the sugar in the Coca Cola and the sour from the citric acid in the lime juice.


A little History

The Cuba Libre, as the name suggests, originated in Cuba sometime around 1900 when Coca Cola was first introduced to the island. The name is thought to be based on a battle cry of the Cuba Liberation Army during their war of Independence in 1898, and was called out in recognition of their newly found independence during some heavy drinking sessions.


Making the Cuba Libre


Cuba Libre Ingredients

You will need

  • Collins/Highball glass
  • 50ml Rum (preferably Cuban)
  • 1 lime (preferably ripe)
  • Coca Cola


Mixing Method

Take your highball and use your measure to pour in 50ml Cuban rum (I’ve used Havana Club as it’s actually Cuban but if you’re from the USA then this isn’t going to be available – light Cruzan or Bacardi will do).


Next, cut your lime in half and use a citrus press to squeeze 15ml lime juice (you can use your measure again to ensure you get the right amount.


Fill your glass with cubed ice – nice big ice cubes are best as they will melt slower than smaller ones. Make sure to get as much ice in the glass as you can – more ice will allow the drink to cool faster and also stops us from pouring too much Coke.


Rum, lime and ice in the glass means it’s time for the Coke. Fill the glass with Coke to the top, but leave a small amount of room so that you can actually pick the glass up and move it around without spilling your cocktail.


Finish the Cuba Libre by cutting a nice wedge of lime and dropping it into the glass, and feel free to add a straw if you feel like it.


Cuba Libre, ready to drink




Variations to Try

Since you already have the ingredients a good little experiment is to make a Rum and Coke (Cuba Libra without fresh lime) and try the two drinks next to each other. What you should notice is that the addition of the sour citric acid from the lime juice in the Cuba Libra has offset the sweetness of the Coca Cola and helped even out the flavour, or balance, when compared to the rum and Coke.


The next easy variation to try is changing up the rum. Cuban rums tend to be very light in style so if you swap it out for something darker (Mount Gay, Appletons or even darker with something like Goslings Black Seal) you’re going to end up with a heavier, ‘richer’ flavour. You could also try using a spiced rum (Sailor Jerrys, Kraken, Captain Morgan’s Spiced), depending on which brand you use you can get some strong vanilla, citrus and cinnamon style flavours coming through.


Let me know what combinations you try and how they work out by leaving a comment below or posting on the facebook page.



Key ingredients for the Moscow Mule

Cocktail Recipes – Vodka – The Moscow Mule

Key ingredients for the Moscow Mule



Moscow Mule

Time for the first drink recipe! And a quick and easy one to start, with the cocktail that helped truly bring vodka into bars in the USA for the first time, the Moscow Mule.

A bit of history

The Moscow Mule has been around since 1941, with its invention credited to John G Martin, of Heublein Brothers Inc (an American spirits distributor who had recently obtained the rights to Smirnoff Vodka), and Jack Morgan, who owned a popular bar in LA called the Cock ‘n’ Bull Tavern. The world of cocktails was a very different place in 1941, with the war in Europe raging on and prohibition in the USA only recently coming to an end. Vodka as a spirit was relativly unheard of in North American bars and distillers and distributers were looking for a way to help it break into this lucrative market. Time for Martin and Morgan.

Morgan had recently started making his own ginger beer and Martin was trying to get his Smirnoff brand into bars. Together the two came up with the vodka/ginger beer combo, making perfect use of each others products. In a great marketing move they named this drink the Moscow Mule and served it in a copper mug; Martin set off around the country promoting the cocktail (and thus, the main ingredient, Smirnoff), and low and behold, vodka had finally got its long awaited entry into American bars.


Making the Moscow Mule

You will need:

  • Highball glass/ Collins glass
  • 50ml Vodka
  • 25ml fresh Lime juice/limes
  • Ginger Beer
  • Angustora bitters*

Mixing method

Method: Build.


Take your highball glass and use your measure to pour in 50ml Vodka (the brand is unnecessary, although I’d avoid using anything you’ve paid a lot for as it will be lost in other ingredients). Next, grab your citrus press and squeeze in 25ml of fresh lime juice (the lime juice is key – it will add a necessary sour character to the drink).


So far we have vodka and lime; if you were to taste the cocktail now it would be what we describe as unbalanced, in that the sweet:sour ratio would be off. Therefore, it’s time for the sweetener. Many cocktails we’ll make use a sugar syrup or liqueur to get the sweet component to the sweet:sour balance but for the Moscow Mule we’re going to get our sweetness from the sugar in the ginger beer instead.

So fill your highball with ice (as much as you can fit – the more ice you have, the colder the drink will be. It’ll melt slower as well!) and top up with your ginger beer. The quality of your ginger beer is going to have a big effect on the taste of the overall drink so try and avoid the bland store-brand varieties if you can – we want that nice, spicy kick from the ginger.


Garnish with a nice big lime wedge and a straw.




* Many bars will add Angustora bitters to a Moscow Mule, it certainly adds to the overall flavour of the cocktail so after you’ve made this first version try remaking the drink with a couple of dashes of  bitters and see which one you prefer (and now you have two drinks… for science!). Be careful not to add to much as aromatic bitters have a very strong taste, as with all ingredients, it’s better to add a small amount and then add more if necessary.


Happy mixing,



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