There’s a good reason the Highball has remained popular for well-over a century: It doesn’t require much more than mixing your chosen spirit with soda water and a few ice cubes.
But just because a Highball is simple to make doesn’t mean it should be forgettable. We’ve reached out to some friends in the industry to learn what specific spirits—and mixers—they prefer when it comes to building something long, refreshing, and easy.
Hatozaki Finest Whisky + Soda
2 oz Hatozaki Finest Japanese Whisky
4 oz soda water
Fill a highball glass with ice, add whisky, and then slowly pour in soda water.
“We believe that our Hatozaki Finest allows for a refreshing highball given the components and structure of the blend. We believe the blend promotion of malt whiskies and grain whiskies is ideal: this provides the perfect balance with the introduction of carbonated water. The sweet parcels from the grain whiskies and the robust characteristics from the malt whiskies are blended together to create a flavor profile that is not overpowering, yet not so subtle once mixed for a highball. The balance of the Finest allows for a highball for all occasions, especially to complement food, given its light, palatable style.” —Kimio Yonezawa, Kaikyō Distillery Master Distiller and Blender
Benriach Smoky Ten + Soda
2 oz Benriach Smoky Ten
4 oz Topo Chico mineral water
1 dash Antimixologist Tropical Bitters (can sub orange bitters)
Orange peel, for garnish
Build ingredients in a highball glass over ice and enjoy.
“A Scotch and Soda is a fantastic way to sip on a whiskey cocktail. I’ve come up with my own twist on the classic highball using our Benriach Smoky Ten, tropical bitters, Topo Chico Mineral Water, and orange. I chose the Benriach Smoky Ten because its sweet, fruity, and smoky notes pair well with tropical bitters to enhance the flavor profile of this cocktail. Top it off with an ice-cold Topo Chico and garnish with an expressed orange peel to create a refreshing whiskey highball that’s perfect for any occasion.” —Javier Rosario, Benriach Brand Ambassador
Starward Two-Fold + Tonic
1 oz Starward Two-Fold Australian Whisky
3 oz light tonic water (such as Fever-Tree Mediterranean)
1 slice ruby red grapefruit
Build in a highball glass, add ice and stir. Garnish with a wedge of ruby red grapefruit.
“Starward Two-Fold is a distinctly approachable, well rounded whisky fully matured in Australian red wine barrels. The result is a lighter style whisky that, unlike other whiskies has the ability to work with a premium tonic. Fever Tree Mediterranean is a light, delicate and fragrant tonic with rosemary and lemon thyme notes that play perfectly with Two-Fold’s tropical palate and rich red berry and vanilla nose.” —Kotryna Gesait, Starward Brand Ambassador
Vamonos Riendo Mezcal + Topo Chico (The Sparkling Conversation Cocktail)
1.25 oz Vamonos Riendo Mezcal
Topo Chico mineral water, to top
Tajin Clàsico, for garnish
Citrus wedge, for garnish
Rim a lowball glass with Tajin Clàsico and fill with ice. Add Vamonos Riendo Mezcal. Fill with Topo Chico, and add a wedge of preferred citrus
“The smaller bubbles of Topo Chico help to heighten the fruit flavors of Vamonos Riendo for a fresh and vibrant taste experience.” —Carlos Rosas, bartender at Pitiona Restaurant in Oaxaca, Mexico
Clément Canne Bleue + Grapefruit Soda
2 oz Clément Canne Bleue Rhum Agricole
4 oz grapefruit soda
1 pinch salt
Add spirit to a highball glass filled with ice, then slowly add soda while titling glass or pouring down a riveted bar spoon to ensure incorporation without stirring. Garnish with pinch of salt.
“Clément Canne Bleue has this lovely grassy, floral, white peppercorn quality to it that couldn’t be more perfect with grapefruit soda. I like to add a little pinch of salt as well to tie it all together—it’s kind of like a Paloma’s more subtle twin.” —Kiowa Bryan, Spiribam National Brand Ambassador
Novo Fogo Barrel-Aged Cachaça + Ginger Beer (Brazilian Buck)
1.5 oz Novo Fogo Barrel-Aged Cachaça
4 oz ginger beer
2 dashes aromatic bitters
1 squeeze fresh lime
Build drink over ice in a highball glass and stir to combine.
“Novo Fogo Barrel-Aged Cachaça and ginger beer are good friends. After two years spent aging in American oak ex-bourbon barrels in the Brazilian jungle, the cachaça develops notes of vanilla, black pepper, bitter chocolate, and coffee, all against a distinctive spine of fresh sugarcane. This flavor profile is wonderfully balanced with a spicy ginger beer: Brands like 18.21, Fever-Tree, and Q are particularly tasty. A dash of aromatic bitters and a squeeze of fresh lime make for a tropical Brazilian Buck that is simple yet sublime.” —Luke McKinley, Novo Fogo Marketing Director
Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Original Rum + Coconut LaCroix
2 oz Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Original Rum
4 oz Coconut LaCroix sparkling water
Add spirit to a highball glass filled with ice, then slowly add soda while titling glass or pouring down a riveted bar spoon to ensure incorporation without stirring.
“Chairman’s Spiced is an all-natural traditional Saint Lucian rum, and yet I always get a hint of Big League Chew bubble gum on the nose. I’m not sure if it’s the nostalgia of that childhood aroma mixed with another smell of my early ‘20s—the coconut oil scent of the tanning salon I get when I open a Coconut LaCroix—but the mix is magic. Additionally, the second most popular way to drink rum in Saint Lucia is with fresh coconut water, so this combination is somewhat of a highball variation on that traditional serve.” —Kiowa Bryan, Spiribam National Brand Ambassador