Whiskey Highball

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Cocktail Type


Great for

After Work



Highball Cocktail Ingredients

What is in a Highball? The short answer is whiskey, soda and a whole lot of vibe! At first, Highball cocktail ingredients can seem like a bit of a cheat (there are so few!), but this is what makes it one of the best cocktails for beginners! When your ingredients are fewer, it leaves you with some room to focus on technique and presentation, you see. 

Highball cocktail recipe

Now for the fun and rewarding part – assembling your classic Highball cocktail! 



No need to stir the drink – the carbonation takes care of the mixing


A great cocktail choice for picnics & on-the-go occasions (so easy!)


Choose a good spirit to provide a strong backbone for this elegant drink



1 Person

60 Ml

2 Oz

2 Parts

150 Ml

5 Oz

5 Parts

Soda water or ginger ale



Fill a highball glass with ice


Pour in the whiskey


Top with ginger ale or club soda, and serve

Why is it called a Highball?

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane to see where on earth the Highball recipe originated and why it got such an uncommon name. The story goes that the history of the Highball cocktail all started in jolly old England around 1887… 

This is when club soda was first invented, and an American actor visiting the UK asked for a ‘scotch and soda’ at the bar of influential bartender Patrick Gavin Duffy. If cocktail lore is to be believed, it would be this fine gent who would go on to introduce the drink to American whiskey enthusiasts later in the decade.  

During the Prohibition, the Highball’s popularity soared at speakeasy establishments throughout the US, and it would remain firmly in vogue until the 1980s when vodka became the spirit du jour. It also had a moment in the limelight in Japan in the 1950s, and the retro feel that it has in the East ricocheted into another bloom of popularity recently when grandpa cocktails began to trend.  

Long story short – the Highball has been around the block, and it keeps hitting all the right notes every step of the way.  

And the name? Well, as per usual there are a bunch of theories in this regard, but the one that makes the most sense is (to us, at least) is that in the day of steam locomotives, there was a system that ran a ball up the duct when the boiler reached a high level. In the event of such a ‘high ball’, the men tending the locomotive could take a break, and often had a nip of a flask. 

Tips on how to make a Highball in the best way

Pouring the best Highball recipe is simple – just follow these easy guidelines: 

  • The whiskey: With your Highball featuring just club soda and whiskey, it’s essential to pour with a good base like Wild Turkey whiskey to ensure the best sip. Your delicious whiskey will shine brightly. 
  • The soda water: Keep it chilled in the fridge for optimum chill and make sure it’s well-sealed after each opening to keep the fizz.  
  • Your glass: A highball is best and a suitably easy glass to find in most kitchen cupboards. It holds about 235-360ml in volume, a bit less than a Collins glass, which can hold up to 400ml. Too much soda or ginger ale will dilute the whiskey too much.  
  • The ice: Sticking to a smaller glass will keep the ice from melting at a fast pace. Load your glass with large cubes to deliver an icy sip. Leave out the small ice chips, they’ll deliver a watery drink. 
  • Ratio: For the perfect combination, pour 60ml of whiskey to 120ml-150ml of soda water. 

The perfect occasions to serve a Highball

Our easy Whiskey Highball makes a perfect refreshing sip in the summer months, especially when served with soda water. It’s an ideal partner to rich foods that need a light fizz for balance. Being that’s it a quick and easy pour for cocktails if friends drop by. It’s also a perfect aperitif to enjoy alongside canapés with a little buttery richness when hosting dinner parties. During the chilly winter months, serve it with ginger ale, when one needs a little extra sweetness. 

Gorgeous Highball recipe variations to try at home

While you’re learning how to make a Highball, we highly recommend having fun with the format. It’s infinitely adaptable to individual taste, which means you can play around with it until you find something that really floats your boat.  Here are a few to try:  

John Collins

The John Collins features bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda as ingredients. We suggest you choose a top-shelf bourbon like Wild Turkey to deliver sweet vanilla and oak notes that blend brilliantly with zesty fresh lemon juice. 

Irish Gold

Feeling a little whimsical and in the mood for a drink with a sweeter tinge? Combine 60ml Irish whiskey, 1 tablespoon of peach schnapps, a splash of orange juice, and 120ml of ginger ale, before garnishing it with a jaunty lime slice. 

Vodka & Tonic

If you prefer to use vodka as your drinks base, a vodka and tonic is always a classy way to go. Or perhaps you want to keep things on the lower end of the calorie spectrum and add soda to a flavoured vodka for a nuanced drink that’s less sweet. We love using pineapple- or watermelon-infused vodka for summery occasions.  


We suggest your Highball Cocktail with 60ml of whiskey, which should deliver a drink of around 9% ABV, if topped up with 120ml of soda water

This Highball recipe is ideal serve as a pre-dinner drink, suitably delicious when enjoyed with buttery nibbles. A Whiskey Highball is also a fantastic drink to serve with roast if you have guests who aren’t wine lovers. It’s also a perfect drink to serve side by side spicy foods, especially when poured with ginger ale. The strong bubbles can help tame any fires on the palette.

Zero mixologist skills are needed when making a classic Highball cocktail. It’s an easy drink to make, no matter your skill level. Follow our easy guide to pour the best version.

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