The Hanks Highball Cocktail Recipe

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The Hanks Highball Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:20

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 Hanks Highball is a cocktail inspired by the legendary actor Tom Hanks. It's a modern twist on the classic highball, with a blend of flavors that are as versatile and appealing as Hanks' filmography. This cocktail is perfect for those who appreciate a well-balanced drink with a touch of sweetness and a hint of bitterness.

  • The cocktail was first created in a popular Hollywood bar, where the bartender was a big fan of Tom Hanks.
  • It quickly gained popularity among the regulars, and soon became a staple on the menu.
  • The Hanks Highball is now enjoyed by fans of the actor all over the world.

How The Hanks Highball Tastes?

The Hanks Highball has a refreshing, well-balanced taste. The sweetness of the honey syrup and the tartness of the lemon juice blend perfectly with the robust flavor of the bourbon. The ginger beer adds a spicy kick, while the bitters provide a subtle hint of complexity.

Interesting facts about The Hanks Highball

  • The Hanks Highball is named after Tom Hanks, one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood.
  • Despite its name, the cocktail doesn't have any direct connection to the actor. It was simply named in his honor by a fan.
  • The cocktail is a twist on the classic highball, a type of cocktail that typically consists of a spirit and a larger proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer.


A few good options for The Hanks Highball are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


The star of the show! Bourbon brings a warm, vanilla and oak richness that makes our highball hearty. Use too much and you might feel like you're sipping straight from the barrel; too little and you'll miss the cocktail's backbone. Substitute with rye for a spicier twist!

Mary Mitkina

Honey Syrup

This sweetener does more than tickle your taste buds; it rounds out the highball, offering a velvety smoothness that can't be replicated. More could lead to a sticky situation, while less would lose the battle against the bolder flavors. Maple syrup can be swapped for a woodsy wink.

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice

Here's the zing! Lemon juice cuts through the sweetness and uplifts the entire drink with its citrus sparkle. Overdoing it may lead to a pucker-fest, and skimping could make for a flat-tasting highball. Lime juice works in a pinch, but the profile will be tarter.

Alex Green

Ginger Beer

A spicy yet refreshing mixer, it adds the 'high' in 'highball.' Too much, and it overwhelms with fizz; too little and you'll wonder where the party went. A ginger ale is a milder substitute but won't have the same kick.

Mary Mitkina

Angostura Bitters

They may be few, but they're fierce! These dashes add a complex bitterness that provides depth. Miss them out, and the cocktail lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. No Angostura? Orange bitters could brighten things up in a different way.

Emma Rose

Lemon Wheel

Not just a pretty face, this garnish releases essential oils and a mild fragrance that engages the senses beyond taste. No lemon wheel might leave your highball looking naked.

Alex Green

Ginger Slice

The final touch for both decor and an added bite. It's okay to skip, but why deny your nose the spicy preview of the flavors to come?

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make The Hanks Highball Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Add the bourbon, honey syrup, and lemon juice to the glass.
  3. Top with ginger beer and stir gently to combine.
  4. Add a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters.
  5. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a slice of ginger.
  6. Serve and enjoy.

Pro Tips

  • Use a high-quality bourbon for the best flavor.
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice will make a big difference in the taste of the cocktail.
  • Don't skip the bitters - they add a depth of flavor that really makes the cocktail stand out.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Cheese platters: The sweet and spicy notes of the cocktail enhance the creaminess of soft cheeses like Brie or a sharp Cheddar.
  • Grilled meats: The robust flavor of bourbon and the tangy ginger complement barbecued pork or chicken perfectly.
  • Spicy Asian dishes: The ginger beer and lemon in the cocktail can help soothe the heat from dishes like Thai curries or Szechuan stir-fries.

    Drink Pairings

  • Iced tea: Non-alcoholic and refreshing, it can be a palate cleanser between sips of the cocktail.
  • Craft beers: A hoppy IPA can stand up to the strong flavors of The Hanks Highball, providing a different but complementary taste experience.

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What you could change in The Hanks Highball

  • Bourbon can be substituted with another type of whiskey.
  • Honey syrup can be replaced with simple syrup or agave nectar.
  • Ginger beer can be substituted with ginger ale, though this will result in a less spicy cocktail.

Explore all drinks starting with T here

And of course - twists🍹

The Smoky Hanks

  • Ingredients: Replace bourbon with smoky mezcal for an earthy twist. Recipe: Follow the original recipe, swapping bourbon for mezcal. The result is a cocktail with a smoky undertone that dances with the ginger and honey, evoking images of late-night campfires and mystical tales.

    The Herbal Hanks

  • Ingredients: Add a sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme. Recipe: Lightly bruise the herb and place it in the glass before adding ice. Proceed with the original recipe. The herb's aroma will infuse the drink with a botanical note, giving it a sophisticated garden-fresh twist.

    The Berry Hanks

  • Ingredients: Muddle a few blackberries in the bottom of the glass. Recipe: Add blackberries to the glass and muddle. Add ice and continue with the original recipe. This twist will offer a fruity berry burst to the highball, with a rich color and a taste that's as alluring as a sweet summer romance.

In case you forgot basics how to make The Hanks 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 The Hanks Highball

What is the kick in the cocktail from?

The kick in 'The Hanks Highball' comes from the ginger beer that is used in the recipe. Ginger beer is known for its spicy and strong flavors which adds an exciting twist to the cocktail.

What does Angostura Bitters taste like?

Angostura Bitters have a complex flavor profile, it's slightly sweet, spicy, and mildly bitter. It adds depth to cocktails like 'The Hanks Highball'

Is this cocktail suitable for a casual gathering?

Yes, 'The Hanks Highball' is suitable for casual gatherings. Its refreshing taste makes it a great cocktail to serve on such occasions.

Is it possible to prepare 'The Hanks Highball' in a pitcher in advance?

Technically yes, but it may compromise the taste and quality of drink because the carbonation from ginger beer could be lost and ice may dilute the cocktail more than desired.

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