Whilst the whisky highball is a staple classic, it's having a moment right now globally. But you don't need to limit yourself to the standard Scotch & Soda serve - there's a world of opportunity beyond the regular serve.
We tell anyone who will listen that the Highball is where the G&T was about fifteen years ago. The overall standard is pretty poor - but with more choices to pick from across the main variables of spirit, mixer and garnish - there's a whole world of delicious opportunity waiting to be discovered.
Below you'll find a few of our favorite combinations and a quick 'top tips'
(do as we say, not as we do! Picture credit Murray Orr)
WHISKY - choose a whisky you like.
Although your mixing of it can make things you don't like more palatable - it's always a good place to start from to pick something you like, and you can see working with the combination you're about to pair it with. For everyday highballing we'd suggest a super versatile, flavour forward blend like SUPERBLEND - with enough depth and complexity to cut through and be noticed, but without dominating.
Is it sacrilege to mix high end whiskies?
Our opinion is that if you own the whisky you should be free to do whatever you want with it. Make your own fun! However, there are purists who will troll you for taking fine single malts or high end blends and diluting them with fizzy water or flavouring, even ice - so be prepared for that. Funnily enough many of these same trolls are the people who buy whisky simply to look at or post pictures of full bottles on their feeds... so you can take their opinion as you wish. From a flavour perspective however, the secret to happy highballing is tweaking and experimenting... so pick a level that you can be comfortable with. You don't want to be feeling guilty sipping on a delicious drink because it's going to force you to sell a kidney in later life.
Thanks to the gin and wider soft drinks boom there's never been more choice when it comes to finding something tasty to mix with your spirit. Highballs are so much more than Scotch and Soda!
From niche mineral waters (Vichy Catalan is a studio fav) to an array of tonics in a huge range of flavours (some good, some bad). The world is your oyster.
We are totally besotted by Scottish Craft Soda company Rapscallion's range. They take raw ingredients and real fruit (sounds obvious, but actually very rare in soft drink world) and craft fresh, low sugar sodas from their Glasgow site. The range has some classics like Ginger Ninja, Burnt Lemon soda but also features a seasonal roster that get released in limited batches.
They're also wonderful people and their values are super solid - check em!
ICE - don't skimp on the ice.
Ice is a crucial ingredient in the Highball (unless of course, you're talking about iceless highballs) but in our opinion anything in between loads of ice and no nice is a recipe for disaster. You want your highball to be cold. Dilution is the enemy so do what you need to do to make sure you're glasses are filled with good quality ice when highball time clicks round.
Here's our pick of killer combinations for the seasons Highball Adventures.
SUPERLEND + RAPSCALLION RHUBARB
Superblend's got a heart of juicy red fruit, but the spice from the Sour Mash Whiskey in the blend cuts through mixers with punch. Rhubarb and Whisky might not sound like the obvious choice but it's a combo you will return to once you've tried it. YUM!
Combine ingredients an an ice filled Highball Glass. No garnish needed.
Experience N.12 + Rapscallion Burnt Lemon Soda
Whisky & lemonade taken to another level entirely.
Whisky and Lemonade is a classic combo but it's only as good as it's component parts. Burnt Lemon soda is fresh, juicy, tart and deliciously smoky when mixed with a peated blend like Exp. N.12 // Echoes. Layers and layers of flavour this turns an easy drinking highball into a proper experience. Refreshing, sophisticated and totally morish. We'd put this on tap if we could.
50ml Experience N.12 // Echoes
125ml Rapscallion Burnt Lemon Soda
A big squeeze of lemon give things an even more bigger citrus lift - but it's entirely not needed with soda's this fresh.
Combine ingredients in an ice filled Highball Glass, give a little churn - or choose not too and experience the drink getting progressively more smoky (and stronger) as you sip down the glass. The perfect way to transition from day time tinto evening on a warm summers day? we think so!