Highball Cocktail Recipe

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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 Highball cocktail has a long and storied history, dating back to the late 19th century. It is said to have originated in the United Kingdom, where it was popularized by British railway workers who would mix their whiskey with soda water to create a refreshing and easy-to-drink beverage. Over time, the Highball evolved and became a staple in bars around the world, with countless variations and adaptations.

Key Moments in Highball History

  • Late 1800s: Originated in the United Kingdom
  • Early 1900s: Gained popularity in the United States
  • Mid-20th century: Became a staple in bars worldwide

How Highball Tastes?

The Highball cocktail is a refreshing, effervescent, and versatile drink. Its taste can be described as crisp, clean, and slightly sweet, with a subtle hint of bitterness from the soda water. The whiskey adds warmth and depth, while the soda water lightens the drink and adds a pleasant fizz.

Interesting facts about Highball

The Highball is often considered a 'session' cocktail, meaning it can be enjoyed over a longer period without becoming too intoxicating.

  • The name 'Highball' is thought to have originated from the practice of railway workers using a highball glass to mix their drinks.
  • The Highball is sometimes referred to as a 'Whiskey and Soda', although there are many variations that use different spirits and mixers.


  • Whiskey: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Soda water: 4 oz(120ml)
  • Ice: As needed
  • Lemon or lime wedge: 1


Whiskey is the soul of a Highball. It provides the rich, complex base flavor. Its smoky, caramel notes contrast beautifully with the crisp soda. Skimp here, and you'll lose the essence; overdo it, and your refreshment turns into a heavyweight. An alternative, like bourbon, offers a sweeter highball, whereas Scotch gives it a smokier edge.

Emma Rose

Soda Water:4oz

Soda water is the lifeblood of the drink. By doubling the whiskey volume, it ensures a harmonious balance, giving the drink its characteristic fizz and making it light enough to sip without overpowering whiskey's flavor. Flat water simply won't do; you'll miss the bubbly jazz that makes the highball sing.

Alex Green

Ice:As needed

Ice keeps the party cool without becoming the party pooper. It chills the drink, maintains a low temp, and slightly dilutes the whiskey, smoothing out any harshness. No ice? Expect a lukewarm handshake when you want a brisk high-five.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon or Lime Wedge:1

A citrus garnish adds a zesty hello, giving a bright aroma and a splash of acidic taste to the dance between whiskey and soda. It's like the cherry on top – except it's citrus, and won't leave you looking for an undercover maraschino. Skip it, and your drink loses its perky edge.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Highball Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Pour 2oz of whiskey over the ice.
  3. Top with 4oz of soda water.
  4. Gently stir to combine.
  5. Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge.

Pro Tips

  • Use quality whiskey for a smoother taste.
  • Chill the soda water before use to keep the cocktail cold longer.
  • Don't over-stir. It can dilute the drink and make it flat.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese plates: The Highball's light, refreshing character complements the creaminess of cheeses like Brie or Gouda.
  • Sushi: The effervescence and mild flavor profile can cut through the umami and richness of sushi.
  • Smoked salmon: The smoky notes in the whiskey combined with the fizzy soda make a nice match with the fattiness of smoked salmon.

Main Courses

  • Grilled meats: The sparkle of soda and the warmth of the whiskey work well with grilled steaks or pork chops.
  • Fried Chicken: The crispiness of the chicken is mirrored by the bubbles of the soda water.


  • Nuts: Salted nuts and the smooth whiskey mixture are a bar snack staple.
  • Chips: Plain or lightly flavored potato chips can complement the fizz and spirit without overpowering the taste.

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What you could change in Highball

  • Whiskey: Can be substituted with other spirits like rum or gin.
  • Soda Water: Can be replaced with tonic water or ginger ale for a different flavor profile.
  • Lemon or Lime Wedge: Orange or grapefruit wedge can be used for a citrus twist.

Explore all drinks starting with H here

And of course - twists🍹

The Ginger Highball

  • Ingredients: 2oz Whiskey, 4oz Ginger Ale, Ice, Lemon or Lime Wedge
  • Recipe: Follow the original Highball recipe, but replace soda water with ginger ale for a spicier, sweeter kick. It's like your Highball just grew a gingery beard.
  • Flavor: This twist adds a warming spice that complements the whiskey's natural heat, while the ginger's sweetness rounds out the drink.

The Citrus Burst Highball

  • Ingredients: 2oz Whiskey, 3.5oz Soda Water, 0.5oz Fresh Lemon Juice, Ice, Lemon Wheel
  • Recipe: Squeeze in half an ounce of fresh lemon juice before adding the soda water. It amps up the tartness and freshness, bringing a citrusy summer breeze into the mix.
  • Flavor: More vibrant and tangy than the classic - a sun-kissed twist for those who like a sharper zing.

The Herbal Highball

  • Ingredients: 2oz Whiskey, 4oz Tonic Water, Ice, Lemon or Lime Wedge, Fresh Mint
  • Recipe: Swap soda water for tonic water and add a sprig of fresh mint. The herbs whisper herbal secrets to the whiskey.
  • Flavor: Bittersweet with herbaceous notes, adding sophistication and a refreshing twist.

In case you forgot basics how to make 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 Highball

What is the correct glassware to serve a Highball cocktail?

Highball cocktails are typically served in glasses known as 'highball glasses'. These are tall and straight-sided, which allows for a good ratio of spirit to mixer and plenty of space for ice.

Are there any variations of the Highball cocktail?

Yes, there are numerous variations of the Highball cocktail, with different spirits and mixers used. For instance, replacing whiskey with dark rum creates a Dark and Stormy, while replacing it with vodka makes a Vodka Soda.

What type of whiskey is best for a Highball cocktail?

The choice of whiskey for a Highball cocktail depends on personal preference. Bourbon and rye work well. Japanese whiskeys are also popular choices for Highballs.

Why is the Highball cocktail called so?

The name 'Highball' comes from the highball glass in which the drink is traditionally served.

Can Highball cocktails be premixed for parties?

It is not recommended to premix Highball cocktails as the soda water could lose its fizz. It’s best to mix them individually just before serving.

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