HOW TO MAKE A HIGHBALL
If you’re talking about highball cocktails in their simplest form, they require just four elements: a glass, lashings of ice, your choice of spirit and a carbonated mixer. However, the tools you use to craft your cocktail, the ingredients you combine and the ratio in which you mix them all play an important part in the finished drink.
Now, you can really experiment with flavours with highball cocktails; they are a great way to add in tastes you love and showcase your personality. However, there are some key things to bear in mind that will ensure that they’ll be the best highball cocktails you’ve ever made.
To be a true highball glass, it should be narrow in proportion to its height and have straight or slightly flaring sides. The optimal capacity of a highball glass lies somewhere between 235ml to 280ml, but highball glasses can range in capacity from around 175ml to 295ml.
And whilst a typical highball glass may be smooth and clear, you can inject extra aesthetic appeal to your drinks by opting for glasses that are embossed and/or coloured. Before serving your highball cocktails, chill or freeze your glasses if you can. This will help the drinks stay cool and crisp for longer.
Ice that comes straight from the freezer is the best way to ensure your highball cocktails don’t get served up lukewarm. Plus, if you don’t want to risk your drinks becoming too diluted, large cubes or spears are your frosty friends. Of course, you can always add additional frivolity by using a fun ice cube mould that will yield ice shapes that match your cocktail or event theme.
The spirit you choose acts as the base for your highball cocktail. And depending on your choice, the spirit may provide a fairly neutral flavour or pack a punch that your other ingredients can play with.
For example, Ballantine’s Finest blended scotch whisky has subtle yet sweet flavours of milk chocolate, red apple and vanilla, with a fresh and floral finish that makes it well-rounded. This is why it’s a great choice for a huge variety of highball cocktail recipes.
Our Ballantine’s Passion, however, is a tropical whisky with notes of kiwi, grapefruit and honeydew melon which makes it perfect for creating a summer serve when combined with fruity mixers.
You’ve got the glass, you’ve filled it with ice and you’ve poured in your spirit. Now you need to top it up with a fizzy mixer. The choices here are pretty much limitless! You could opt for a classic like cola, tonic water or lemonade or seek out something special like an artisanal soda made with botanicals.
If there’s a flavour you want to include in your highball cocktail, then it should be easy enough to find a mixer that fits the bill. If you haven’t got the specifics nailed down though, you could have fun trying different taste profiles instead. For example, for a sweet highball cocktail, you could try cream soda but if you’d prefer something with a little heat, then ginger ale might be just what you’re looking for.
The ratio of spirit to mixer mainly comes down to personal preference. However, equal parts are likely going to be too strong and anything over three-parts mixer to one-part spirit may end up tasting more like a soft drink. The sweet spot, therefore, is somewhere in the middle.
By now, you’re sure to have a highball cocktail that tastes delicious and is wonderfully refreshing. However, if you want it to look just as good (and impress your friends), then why not get creative with garnishes and decorative elements?
For instance, you could add a fresh wheel of lime to the rim of the glass for a tropical drink or place a sprig of mint on top of a strawberry-flavoured highball. You could even add pops of colour with edible flowers.