Building a Cocktail

Building a Cocktail

Building is the easiest cocktail preparation method. All ingredients are added directly to the glass rather than first preparing the drink in a cocktail shaker.

Two types of drinks are typically built: The Old Fashioned (including its derivatives) and highballs.

Old Fashioned & co.

Measure the ingredients and add them to the glass one by one. Then add your ice and stir several times with a barspoon. This will incorporate the ingredients and melt a bit of the ice to dilute the drink a little. Then add the twist, if the recipe calls for it.

An Old Fashioned should taste a bit strong (under-diluted) when it’s served. As you enjoy it, the ice will continue to melt, increasing the dilution over time. This means the flavor of the drink will evolve. It will begin a bit stiff, then “ride the curve” up to where it is perfect, then it will mellow toward the end.

If the drink is made with a traditional sugar cube, the sugar will also finish dissolving near the end, making the final sip the sweetest.


Highballs, such as a Gin & Tonic, Jack & Coke, or Seven & Seven, are even easier. Add ice to the glass, then measure and add your ingredients, ending with the carbonated ingredient.

You can give it a quick stir to incorporate everything before adding the garnish, but you don’t need to worry about dilution, as the soda does all the dilution the drink needs.

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