English Highball Cocktail Recipe

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English Highball Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The English Highball cocktail is a classic British drink that dates back to the 19th century. It was initially created as a refreshing and easy-to-make beverage for the upper class during social gatherings and parties. The highball glass, which the cocktail is named after, was specifically designed to accommodate the drink's tall and slender profile.

  • The English Highball gained popularity during the golden age of cocktails in the early 20th century
  • The drink is often associated with British aristocracy and sophistication
  • It is a versatile cocktail that can be easily customized with different spirits and mixers

How English Highball Tastes?

The English Highball is a refreshing, effervescent, and slightly sweet cocktail with a hint of bitterness from the tonic water. The botanicals in the gin provide a complex and aromatic flavor profile, while the lemon adds a touch of tartness.

Interesting facts about English Highball

  • The English Highball is sometimes referred to as a 'Gin and Tonic Highball'
  • The drink is traditionally served in a highball glass, which is designed to showcase the effervescence and color of the cocktail
  • The English Highball is often garnished with a lemon twist or a slice of cucumber to enhance its refreshing qualities


A few good options for English Highball are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


The juniper laced gin is the spine of the drink, bringing the classic piney and herbal notes. 2 oz is just right to get its presence felt without knocking your socks off. If you use less, it's like listening to a band without the bassist; too much and it's that one friend at karaoke who just won't pass the mic.

Mary Mitkina

Tonic Water

4 oz of tonic water isn't just a trusty sidekick for gin, it brings the bubbles and a quinine kick. It's the difference between a flat joke and one that makes the crowd go wild. Without it, you've just got a boozy lemonade on your hands.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

That 0.5 oz of lemon juice adds a zesty freshness and a tangy twist. Skimp on it and your cocktail might seem a bit shy and retiring; too much, and it's like sucking on the sourest lemon in the history of lemons.

Alex Green


Ice keeps the drink cool and refreshing - the life of the party but invisible like a great DJ. It dilutes the mix slightly as it melts, but if you forgot the ice, you'd better like your drinks lukewarm and intense.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Twist

A garnish that adds aromatics and a flair of sophistication. Without it, it's like a suit without a tie - still classy but missing the final touch.

Mary Mitkina

Cucumber Slice

The cucumber is your secret weapon. It's like that cool, crisp breeze on a hot day. Neglect to add it and you’re missing out on a level of refreshment that's practically Zen.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make English Highball Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice
  2. Add 2 oz of gin
  3. Add 0.5 oz of fresh lemon juice
  4. Top with 4 oz of tonic water
  5. Stir gently to combine
  6. Garnish with a lemon twist and a cucumber slice

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh lemon juice for a brighter, fresher flavor
  • Chill your glass before preparing the cocktail to keep it cold longer
  • Use a high-quality tonic water to enhance the flavor of the gin

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Board: The herbal notes of gin and citrusy zing will cut through the fattiness of meats and cheeses.
  • Sushi: A light, refreshing cocktail like the English Highball complements the delicate flavors of sushi beautifully.
  • Grilled Shrimp: The citrus in the cocktail pairs wonderfully with seafood, especially when it's got a bit of char.
  • Salads: A garden-fresh salad with a zesty vinaigrette makes a perfect match for this refreshing highball. Think greens with goat cheese or feta, and a touch of fruit like apple or pear.


  • Lemon Tart: Conclude your meal with a dessert that echoes the lemon's tartness.
  • Fruit Sorbet: A refreshing palate cleanser such as a cucumber or lemon sorbet would play well with the cocktail's flavor profile.

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What you could change in English Highball

  • Gin: Can be replaced with vodka for a less botanical flavor
  • Tonic Water: Can be replaced with soda water for a less bitter taste
  • Lemon Juice: Can be replaced with lime juice for a different citrus note

Explore all drinks starting with E here

And of course - twists🍹

Elderflower Highball

  • Ingredients: Substitute regular gin for elderflower-infused gin, top with elderflower tonic.
  • Recipe: Follow the standard recipe but with the infused gin and special tonic. The result is a floral, sweeter version of the English Highball that feels like summer in a glass.
  • Flavor Profile: More aromatic with a delicate sweetness that sings of the countryside.

Spicy Highball

  • Ingredients: Add a small slice of jalapeño to the shaker.
  • Recipe: Muddle the jalapeño slice gently before adding gin and lemon juice. Shake, strain into the glass filled with ice, and top with tonic water.
  • Flavor Profile: This highball has a kick, with a spicy undercurrent that warms you up from the first sip. For those who like a bit of heat with their cool.

Herbal Highball

  • Ingredients: Add a sprig of rosemary or basil to the glass.
  • Recipe: Gently clap the herb between your hands to release oils, place in the glass before adding ice, then proceed with the usual method.
  • Flavor Profile: It introduces a subtle herbaceous undertone that makes the cocktail more complex and provides an earthy contrast to the zesty lemon.

In case you forgot basics how to make English Highball

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on English Highball

What is the best time to enjoy an English Highball?

While the English Highball can be enjoyed at any time, it's traditionally served as an apéritif prior to a meal or enjoyed on a warm summer afternoon.

What different variations of English Highball exist?

While the classic English Highball uses gin, it can also be made with other spirits such as rum or whiskey. Variations can also include additional ingredients like fresh herbs or different types of fruit garnish. Remember, the quality of the spirit greatly impacts the final outcome.

What is the significance of the highball glass in making an English Highball?

Apart from giving the English Highball its name, the highball glass is important as it allows the combination of the spirit and mixer to evenly mix, and allows room for ice. This helps keep the drink cooler for longer and emphasizes the effervescence of the cocktail.

Does the type of gin used in making English Highball affect its taste?

Definitely. Different types of gin have different flavor profiles due to the variety of botanicals used in their production. Using different gins can subtly change the flavor of the English Highball.

Do I need any special equipment to make an English Highball?

Making an English Highball doesn't require any special equipment. All you need is a highball glass, a measuring tool for the spirits, and a long stirring spoon.

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