Top 5 whisky highball recipes

What is a highball?

A highball is a drink consisting of a spirit, especially whisky, and a mixer such as soda served with ice in a tall glass. Simple, refreshing, and delicious, highballs can be an ideal way to enjoy whisky during the hot days of Summer.

Why is it called a highball?

The term 'highball' originated sometime around 1898, and the story goes that its the combination of 'ball', which at the time was a term for 'having fun' or 'drinking whisky', and from 'high' because the drink would be served in tall glasses, just as it is today.

Where do highballs come from?

Where do highballs come from?

Today highballs are commonly associated with Japan, where its common to find office workers enjoying a whisky and soda, a highball, with their colleagues after a busy - and long - day in the office.

But the exact origins of highballs as a cocktail are unclear. New York barman Patrick Duffy claimed the highball was brought to the US in 1894 from England by actor E. J. Ratcliffe, where it was then popularised.

Our top 5 whisky highball recipes

As a cocktail, highballs are about as simple as you can get: it's a spirit, with an alcoholic mixer, served over plenty of ice in a tall glass. Now you probably won't be surprised that we're going to take 'spirit' to mean 'whisky' here, but our top 5 whisky highball recipes will give you a few variations on the theme of whisky with a mixer.

Classic scotch and soda

They say you can't beat the classics, and yes, scotch and soda is synonymous with whisky highballs.  Perfect for the hot weather, and perfect if you want a long-style whisky drink to enjoy with food.

Ingredients

  • 50ml of a Highland whisky - try our Ardmore
  • Chilled soda water
  • Chilled tall glass
  • Plenty of ice

Method

  1. Chill your glass by leaving it in the freezer for a while
  2. Fill your tall glass with ice cubes
  3. Pour in 50ml of whisky, we think a Highland whisky works well
  4. Top up your glass with soda water

A fresh whisky highball

Clean and fresh

This is a refreshing highball which will wake you up after a warm sticky afternoon, or makes for a great palate cleanser at the start or end of your meal.

Ingredients

  • 50ml of a light whisky - our Craigellachie 10 works well
  • Chilled soda water
  • Lemon peel
  • Three mint leaves
  • Chilled tall glass
  • Plenty of ice

Method

  1. Chill your glass by leaving it in the freezer for a while
  2. Fill your tall glass with ice cubes
  3. Pour in 50ml of a light whisky
  4. Top up your glass with soda water
  5. Garnish with lemon peel and mint leaves

Grown-ups lemonade

This is all about fruity citrus notes - plenty of lemon, and a bit of orange. Think of it as a grown-up lemonade. Perfect.

Ingredients

  • 50ml of bourbon or whiskey - our Heaven Hill works beautifully
  • Chilled lemonade - go for something good quality like this
  • Orange peel
  • Chilled tall glass
  • Plenty of ice

Method

  1. Chill your glass by leaving it in the freezer for a while
  2. Fill your tall glass with ice cubes
  3. Pour in 50ml of your whiskey
  4. Top up your glass with the lemonade
  5. Garnish with orange peel

Rich and fruity

This is a great drink.  Its a rich and fruity highball that has a touch of class about it.  As a tall chilled drink, it works beautifully on a hot summers day; but it's so tasty that it would be great any time of year. 

Ingredients

  • 50ml of a fruity whisky - our Royal Brackla works perfectly
  • Chilled Sekforde mixer for whisky - you can find it here
  • Orange peel
  • Spring of rosemary (optional)
  • Chilled tall glass
  • Plenty of ice

Method

  1. Chill your glass by leaving it in the freezer for a while
  2. Fill your tall glass with ice cubes
  3. Pour in 50ml of a fruity whisky
  4. Top up your glass with Sekforde mixer for whisky
  5. Garnish with orange peel, and if you want to go fancy a sprig of rosemary

Sweet and smokey

This is a refreshing highball which will wake you up after a warm sticky afternoon, or makes for a great palate cleanser at the start or end of your meal.

Ingredients

  • 50ml of a peated whisky - our Croftengea works well
  • Chilled ginger ale
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Slice of root ginger (optional)
  • Chilled tall glass
  • Plenty of ice

Method

  1. Chill your glass by leaving it in the freezer for a while
  2. Fill your tall glass with ice cubes
  3. Pour in 50ml of a peated, smoky, whisky
  4. Add a squeeze of lemon
  5. Top up your glass with ginger ale
  6. Garnish with a slice of root ginger, if you have it

Enjoy your whisky highballs this summer

If you're in, or visiting, Singapore we have an award-winning whisky and cocktail bar - pop in, the team would be delighted to mix you up something delicious. If you're not in Singapore and need a few more cocktail ideas, check out our top 5 best whisky cocktails for the summer. Whatever you're drinking this summer, and wherever you are, enjoy; we'll be raising a whisky highball to you! 

The Single Cask bar in Singapore

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