Skip to main content

We're sorry Ballantines.com won't work in this browser

Try the Edge browser

How to make the ultimate highball cocktail with Ballantine’s

blt highball2380 2 aspect ratio 16 9

Haven’t you heard? Highball Season is officially here.

 

Highballs aren’t just for sipping on in summer (although they are perfect for cooling off on a sunny afternoon). Ordering one at the bar whatever the weather for a longer, refreshing way to enjoy Ballantine’s will really add a spritz to your night.

What is a highball cocktail?

Traditionally highballs are cocktails that use a spirit base with a non-alcoholic, carbonated mixer, served on ice, in a tall glass. Some of the classics you may already be familiar with are the G&T or a vodka & cranberry.

If we throw it way back, we know that highballs have been enjoyed since the late 1800s, but generally, spirits were levelled up by just adding a little soda water. Highballs are super simple to make and go down an absolute treat for whisky connoisseurs and newbies alike.

Fun fact: The origins of the ‘highball’ glass are rumoured to have developed from bartender slang because these thirst-quenching, long whisky drinks were quite literally served in a ‘high’ (tall) glass!

Now, we already know there’s no wrong way to mix, so when it comes to highball cocktails using Ballantine’s, the possibilities are endless. If you ask us, if there’s fizz, it counts.

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.

Glasses

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

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.

Spirit

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.

Carbonated mixer

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.

Final flourishes

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.

BEST HIGHBALL COCKTAIL RECIPES

We’ve picked out a few of the best highball cocktails that you can make using Ballantine’s whisky, a selection of mixers and garnishes so there’s something for every occasion. Try serving these fizzy highball cocktails next time your mates are in town and remember, there is no rule book here.

ballantines whisky soda

Ballantine’s & Soda

They don’t come easier than this. Just mix together Ballantine’s Finest with soda water, pop in a garnish of your choice and you’re good to go. A perfectly refreshing whisky highball for any occasion; at the bar or at home, rain or shine.

Try it now
ballantines whisky cola

Ballantine’s & Cola

Whisky & Cola is a tale as old as time… Doing it with Ballantine’s Finest will make you the MVP of the night. A classic whisky mixer for those looking to enter into the world of highballs.

Try it now
Ballantine's & Tonic - Ballantine's

Whisky & Tonic

A G&T without the g, Ballantine’s Whisky and Tonic Water is a real thirst quencher for those hot summer evenings. Mix yours up with a wedge of lemon and get refreshed.

Try it now
ballantines finest apple pop whisky cocktail

Apple Pop

Zippy, fresh, and light, this popping drink is a low-octane whisky and apple juice cocktail that still packs a serious flavour punch.

Try it now
ballantines whisky ginger ale

Ballantine’s & Ginger Ale

Kick things up a little with a Highball that doesn’t hold back on flavour and is beloved by whisky fans the world over. Ginger Ale & Ballantine’s is the ultimate iconic duo that never disappoints.

Try it now
ballantines finest sunny scotland

Sunny Scotland

It’s creamy. It’s sweet. It’s super refreshing. This raspberry highball take on the classic whisky sour just got a summer twist. Perfect for a sunny day in bonnie Scotland.

Try it now
iced green tea highball

Iced Green Tea Highball

An easy recipe to mix up at home, The Green Tea Highball is the perfect blend of green tea, soda and Ballantine’s Finest… This seriously delicious whisky drink with an added caffeine kick tastes even better when enjoyed with mates. Sound like your cup of tea?

Try it now
ballantines grapefruit highball

Ballantine’s & Grapefruit

Ready, set, spritz! Try this fizzy, fresh & fruity Ballantine’s cocktail that’ll keep the party bubbling all night long. If you fancy making things a little funky, then pop in a cocktail umbrella or a colourful paper straw, and enjoy!

Try it now
ballantines glentauchers bergamot highball

Bergamot Highball

Meet the Bergamot Highball. This bittersweet citrus cocktail is made for those who are bored of the usual oranges and lemons. The tart notes of bergamot blend perfectly with the red berry and citrus flavours of our single malt whisky. A serious upgrade for summer.

Try it now
scotch coffee

Scotch Coffee

Your new favourite cocktail has entered the chat… This is one for the adventurous Highball seeker. There’s no Espresso Martini’s around here… we like out coffee cocktails with whisky and an added spritz.

Try it now
ballantines glenburgie honey ginger highball

Honey & Ginger Highball

A soothing highball for summer, this whisky ginger drink hits more than one note. Spiced, herby and naturally sweet, what more do you need? Pick a sprig of rosemary from the garden to garnish this exceptional serve.

Try it now
passion orange fanta ballantines

Whisky Fanta

Orange soda for adults? Go on then. This whisky Fanta recipe uses Ballantine’s Passion, our tropical flavoured spirit drink, for extra fruity fizz.

Try it now
ballantines finest lemon soda drink

Ballantine’s & Lemon Soda

Ballantine’s Finest paired with a classic lemon soda. The result is a highball that is sweet, long and refreshing; perfect for a warm weekend.

Try it now
Honey & Cinnamon Highball - Whisky Recipe -

Ballantine’s Honey & Cinnamon Highball

Sweet yet spicy this highball has all the classic flavours of a hot toddy but reinvents them in a way that makes this drink perfect for summer.

Try it now
Miltonduff 15 year old with serve

Cherry Blossom Highball

Light and floral, this sakura highball delivers complex notes of pear and scotch whisky, using cherry blossoms as a delicate garnish.

Try it now
orange whisky highball

Orange Highball

Adult OJ? Let’s do it. This highball cocktail uses the sharp citrus flavours of orange and lemon, combined with sweet notes from Ballantine’s 12 year old whisky.

Try it now
ballantine's cocktail moxxi’s mule

Scotch and Ginger Beer

Just three ingredients; Ballantine’s Finest, ginger beer and lime. The perfect trio for a highball that is warm yet cool, sweet yet spicy.

Try it now
ballantines finest session soda new

Session Soda

This highball cocktail amps up a classic whisky soda with fresh lemon, sugar syrup and rosemary, making it ideal for weekend sessions with friends.

Try it now
Hibiscus iced tea with Ballantine's 12

Iced Hibiscus Tea

Fragrant and flavourful thanks to lemongrass and basil with a warming kick that comes from Ballantine’s 12 year old whisky. This is one highball cocktail you won’t want to miss this summer.

Try it now
ballantines pina cocktail

Ballantine’s Pina

Whisky and pineapple soda might be an unlikely match but they truly work. Sweet and tropical with a kick of chili heat and bursts of tangy bubbles.

Try it now

If our list of best highball cocktail recipes has got you feeling inspired and ready to get your mixologist on at home, grab yourself a bottle of Ballantine’s and get creative. Make sure to tag us in your creations on Instagram.

You can also find more whisky cocktails in our collection as well as the best whisky mixersfruity whisky drinks and dessert cocktails.

ballantines finest scotch whisky and soda

17 mixers to drink with whisky for when you want something simple

Here we share the best whisky mixers, from classic combos to more exotic pairings. Which will you try first?

DISCOVER MORE
ballantines finest stay berry whisky pitcher drink

Ballantine’s, the beach edition: 3 bucket cocktails to capture those summer vibes

Get your bucket and spade ready with our shortlist of the top 3 beach bucket cocktail recipes to sip by the seaside.

DISCOVER MORE
ballantines finest scotch whisky blog news page

Blog

You already know we’ve nailed the Finest Whisky to ever grace a glass. But that’s just a little drop of what we’re about. Scroll on for the latest news and features from across the world of Ballantine’s whisky, True Music and much, much more.

DISCOVER MORE