Tokyo Highball Cocktail Recipe

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Tokyo 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 Tokyo Highball is a refreshing cocktail that hails from Japan. It's a popular choice among whiskey lovers who appreciate a lighter, more refreshing way to enjoy their favorite spirit. The highball culture in Japan is quite fascinating, with bars dedicated solely to perfecting this simple yet complex drink. It's a favorite among businessmen and women looking to unwind after a long day at work.

How Tokyo Highball Tastes?

The Tokyo Highball is crisp, refreshing, and subtly sweet. The Japanese whiskey provides a smooth, rich base, while the soda water adds a bubbly effervescence. The hint of lemon gives it a refreshing citrus twist.

Interesting facts about Tokyo Highball

  • The Tokyo Highball is a variation of the classic Highball cocktail, which originated in the late 19th century.
  • The cocktail is traditionally served in a tall glass, which is where the 'highball' name comes from.
  • Despite its simplicity, the Tokyo Highball is considered a sophisticated drink in Japan and is often enjoyed during formal occasions.


  • Japanese whiskey: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Soda water: 4 oz(120ml)
  • Lemon peel: 1

Japanese Whiskey

  • Why 2 oz?: It's the perfect balance; enough to get the whiskey's presence felt without overwhelming the mixer.
  • Flavor: Japanese whiskey often has a smooth, subtle character that soars in a highball situation.
  • No whiskey, no party: Without it, you just have fizzy lemon water!
  • Alternatives: A smoky Scotch could make for a more robust drink, possibly overpowering for a highball though.

Emma Rose

Soda Water

  • Why 4 oz?: It's all about that fizz – it makes the drink refreshing and allows the whiskey to elongate its flavor journey.
  • Without it: It's no highball; it's neat whiskey with a citrus twist (and significantly less hydrating).
  • Alternatives: Tonic water could add a bitter edge, changing the profile entirely.

Alex Green

Lemon Peel

  • A zesty garnish: Adds aromatic citrus notes to the nose and brightens the flavors.
  • Flavor without it: Less complex, missing that high note of freshness.
  • Alternatives: An orange peel offers a sweeter aroma, while a sprig of mint could add a refreshing herby tingle.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Tokyo Highball Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.
  2. Pour the Japanese whiskey over the ice.
  3. Top with soda water.
  4. Gently stir to combine.
  5. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality Japanese whiskey for the best flavor.
  • Make sure your soda water is well chilled before using.
  • Don't over-stir the cocktail, as this can dilute the whiskey.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Sushi: The delicate flavors of sushi complement the subtle notes of the whiskey.
  • Tempura: The light and crisp texture of tempura provides a nice contrast with the refreshing highball.
  • Grilled Fish: A simple grilled fish can be enhanced by the smoky undertones of the whiskey.
  • Edamame: The saltiness of edamame is a perfect match for the crispness of the highball.

Drink Pairings

  • Green Tea: Non-alcoholic option that complements the Japanese aesthetic of the highball.

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What you could change in Tokyo Highball

If you can't find Japanese whiskey, you can substitute it with a smooth, light Scotch or Irish whiskey.

Explore all drinks starting with T here

And of course - twists🍹

Yuzu Highball

  • Ingredients: Japanese Whiskey, Soda Water, Yuzu Peel
  • Recipe: Follow the original method, but garnish with a yuzu peel instead of lemon.
  • Taste: Yuzu offers a tantalizing mix of tart, sweet, and floral notes for a distinctly Japanese touch.

Smoky Highball

  • Ingredients: Smoky Japanese Whiskey (like Hakushu), Soda Water, Lemon Peel
  • Recipe: Same as the original but with a smoky whiskey.
  • Taste: Expect a campfire vibe that adds depth and warmth perfect for chilly evenings.

Matcha Highball

  • Ingredients: Japanese Whiskey, Matcha-infused Soda Water, Lemon Peel
  • Recipe: Infuse soda water with matcha powder before combining with whiskey.
  • Taste: It'll have an earthy undertone with a unique caffeine kick.

In case you forgot basics how to make Tokyo 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 Tokyo Highball

What type of glassware is traditionally used for a Tokyo Highball?

Traditionally, Tokyo Highball is served in a highball glass.

Are there any variants of Tokyo Highball cocktail?

Yes, there are several variants to the Tokyo Highball. It can be modified depending on your preference, the alcohol base, and even the soda used.

What is the best time to drink Tokyo Highball?

Because of its refreshing nature, Tokyo Highballs make great aperitifs, so it's often consumed before a meal. However, it's versatile and can be enjoyed at any time.

What food pairings complement a Tokyo Highball?

Tokyo Highball tends to go well with sushi or other light, flavorful dishes.

Can I experiment with different types of citrus aside from lemon in a Tokyo Highball?

Absolutely, some other citrus fruits like lime or yuzu can be used to add a different flavor profile. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

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