Building is the most common cocktail preparation technique used behind every bar in the world. Building a drink is also the most simple way to craft the most simple of cocktails. This doesn’t mean that these cocktails aren’t tasty, in fact you’ll probably find yourself building more drinks in your bartending career than all the drinks you’ll ever stir or shake combined!


Building is the simplest and fastest way to make a cocktail. It allows us to mix a spirit with a mixer over ice and serve it straight away. There is no need for any advanced tools when building a drink, and all you’re going to need is the basics: a glass, ice and your ingredients.

How to Build

Just because building a drink is a simple practice it does not mean that there is no method to it. Below are the four easy steps for building a drink.

  1. Fill your serving glass with ice
  2. Pour the guests chosen spirit into the glass
  3. Fill the glass with the chosen mixer(s)
  4. Garnish, if applicable, and serve

Often bartenders will combine steps 2 and 3 pouring both the spirit and mixer into the glass in order to ensure that they are properly incorporated with each other whilst also saving time on the drink making process. Most built drinks require just two ingredients to be poured, however there are some which call for more than one mixer.

Popular Drinks

It’s no surprise that some of the most popular drinks out there are built and these include the Gin and Tonic, Cuba Libre, Sea Breeze, Greyhound, Moscow Mule and the Screwdriver. You may notice that many of these are just spirit mixer beverages, and it is mainly these spirit mixer beverages, like the vodka soda, which are built. Some, like the Moscow Mule, require three ingredients to be poured, but they’re still built in the glass and require no other bartending techniques.