Highball Cocktail

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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 only two!), but this is what makes it one of the best cocktails for beginners! When you have fewer ingredients to juggle, there’s more room to focus on technique and presentation, you see. 




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

2 Oz

60 Ml

2 Parts

5 Oz

150 Ml

5 Parts

Ginger ale or club soda



Fill a highball glass with ice


Add the whiskey


Top with ginger ale or club soda


Stir gently and serve

The origins of the Highball recipe

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 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.  

You might also like: The Rise of Japanese Cocktail Culture

Why is it called a Highball?

Well, as per usual there are a bunch of theories in this regard, but the one that makes the most sense (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. 

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. 

Bourbon Rickey

Indulge in the captivating flavors of the Bourbon Rickey. Bourbon, fresh lime juice and club soda creates a quick and elegant cocktail that tastes like it took ages to create. Perfect for beginners!

Irish Gold

Feeling a little whimsical and in the mood for a drink with a sweeter tinge? Combine 2 oz Irish whiskey, ½ oz peach schnapps, a splash of orange juice, and 4 oz 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 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 flavored vodka for a nuanced drink that’s less sweet. We love using pineapple- or watermelon-infused vodka for summery occasions.  

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A Whiskey Highball is one of the easiest two-ingredient cocktails, combining 2 ounces of whiskey and 4 – 6 ounces of club soda on ice in a tall glass.

It depends on how your Highball Cocktail is poured. For instance, if you use a typical 80-proof whiskey and pour two ounces, the drink will be around 9% ABV, or 18% proof.

A highball cocktail is a mixed alcoholic drink composed of an alcoholic base spirit and a larger proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer, often a carbonated beverage. Popular versions include whiskey and soda, and gin and tonic.

A highball is a cocktail, but a cocktail is not always a highball. In fact, the term 'highball' is used to describe a family of cocktails that combine an alcoholic base spirit and a larger proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer, often a carbonated beverage.