Many of the drinks that we feature on this blog (or plan to feature as our recipe index becomes a bit more extensive) are cocktails. But those certainly aren’t the only mixed drinks out there and one of the most common types of mixed drink is the highball.
A highball is any tall drink that mixes a base spirit with a carbonated beverage, which includes the Vodka Tonic, Gin Rickey, Rum and Cola, etc. Highballs are some of the most versatile drinks out there because the proportions can always be altered to your specific taste. Unlike a cocktail, which so often depends on a balance of competing flavors, a highball can always be customized depending on how dainty or robust the drinker is.
Another advantage of a highball is that you don’t need a shaker or mixing glass. Simply fill your serving glass (traditionally a highball glass) with ice, add your ingredients, stir, and then serve. The ease and simplicity (and lack of extra glasses or shakers to wash) make highballs a great option for parties. Plus, less liquor in a bigger drink makes it easier for guests to pace themselves.
Unfortunately, the highball is often the product of an, “I don’t want to taste my liquor so I’ll mix it with Mountain Dew” mentality. On the contrary, a good highball will allow you to enjoy the flavor of your favorite brand of gin, whiskey, or other spirit, while taking the edge off the alcohol.
To get you started, here’s a few of our favorite highball recipes:
Gin (or Vodka) and Tonic: This classic drink is very nearly the pinnacle of simplicity. Style never goes out of style, and neither will the Gin and Tonic. Garnish with a twist of lemon or lime.
Dark and Stormy: One of the lesser-known highballs, simply blend Dark Rum with Ginger Beer (not Ginger Ale, the distinction is important). Or, you could swap out the Rum for Vodka, add a splash of lime juice, and you’ve got a Moscow Mule.
Gin Rickey: A Rickey is any highball wherein a base spirit is mixed with soda water and a splash of lime juice. The most common variety is the Gin Rickey, but any liquor will do and the Applejack Rickey is also rather tasty.
Because the highball is so flexible and there are so many different sodas out there, there’s no reason to stick to the same old Jack and Coke every weekend. Go ahead and try your own combinations and let us know if you come up with anything particularly tasty.