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
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)
Non alcoholic ingredients -> Spirits & Liqueurs -> Ice -> Mixer -> Garnish/Straw.
Lime juice -> Cuban style Rum -> Ice -> Coca Cola -> Lime wedge and straw
The next mixing lesson in the series is is shake and strain. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.