Forget about your arsenal of bar tools or mastery of complex techniques. All you need to make a great drink is booze, a glass, ice—and maybe a spoon. Here, the best drinks to build right in the glass.
7 Easy Drinks to Build in a Glass
Just throw your favorite spirit in a glass, top with some soda and ice, and you have yourself a beautifully basic drink. The simplicity of this two-ingredient drink allows a quality spirit to shine. It’s not lazy. It’s a minimalist work of art.
If you want a tall cocktail that looks more complicated than other built-in-the glass affairs, look no further than a Tequila Sunrise. A float of striking red grenadine atop blanco tequila-spiked orange juice creates a vision of a tropical sunrise.
It’s not all highballs when it comes to in-glass mixology. This lowball relative of the Dark ‘N’ Stormy gets its name from the colors of its ingredients. The dueling bright falernum and dark blackstrap rum swirl together into a storm of tropical flavor.
Champagne flutes are perfect for building drinks with sparkling wine. All you need do is add your spirit to the bottom, pop some Champagne, tip the glass to achieve minimal froth from your chosen bubbly, and watch as the electrifying wine fills your glass with ecstatic fizz. Taking this show to the next level, Ernest Hemingway’s own Death in the Afternoon mixes Champagne with absinthe, combining the frothy effects of a Champagne cocktail with le louche—the milky reaction between the enchanting spirit and a cold mixer.
While a well-spiced, perfectly-garnished Hot Toddy includes a fair number of ingredients depending on your taste, you can prep the entire drink in the time it takes to boil the water to top it off. Like a game of Perfection from the ‘90s, you can play against the clock, adding a spirit, sweetener and citrus to the glass, and laying out all your garnishes, all before the kettle whistles. Then just garnish and drink in the taste of victory.
Some cocktails are built in glasses. Others are built on their glass. For die-hard fans, the copper mug is absolutely integral to the Moscow Mule. While some will cite pseudo-scientific claims about the mug’s magical cooling powers, we simply think it looks great.
Forget the White Russian. The best drink to build with Kahlúa in a lowball glass is the Mind Eraser, which highlights the coffee liqueur by only mixing it with vodka and soda. The first sip will make you forget the difficult ordeal you spent mixing this quick and easy coffee cocktail.