It’s easy to make a great drink.
Really easy. All you need are high quality ingredients, and if you want to step it up, a highball glass.
Like a chef making a terrific meal, the best way to make a cocktail is to use a few great ingredients and then let them shine. So to make a drink you’ll love, choose your favorite spirit and add a great mixer.
Preparation: The Highball
A highball is as good as it gets – a delicious yet easy-to-make cocktail with a spirit, mixer and ice, all served in a highball glass. The tall, narrow shape of a highball glass concentrates the bubbles of a cocktail, holding the carbonation longer and bringing the flavors and aromas of the spirit to the top of the glass.
The name likely originated from an old American Railway term for the ball indicator inside a steam train’s water float, which told the conductor that there was enough water pressure in the tank for the train to depart. When the train was ready to leave, the conductor would give the signal: two short whistle blows followed by a long one. Thus the “highball” – a cocktail served from the beverage cart with two measures of spirit and a long pour of the mixer.
How to make a perfect highball
START WITH A HIGHBALL GLASS
A tall 12 oz highball glass allows for better proportions between the spirit, mixer and ice – which improves balance and taste.
Just like a flute best contains the effervescence of champagne, the tall, narrow shape of a highball glass concentrates the bubbles of a cocktail, holding the carbonation longer and bringing the flavors and aromas of the spirit to the top of the glass.
High quality ice holds carbonation and minimizes dilution, keeping the drink “fizzier” longer.
Large cubes are best as they minimize surface area and dilution. Smaller cubes water the cocktail down and speed up carbonation loss.
POUR 1.5 OZ SPIRIT
From a Gin & Tonic to a Mule or Paloma – A highball can be made with any spirit but quality of the spirit matters.
The simplicity of the highball lets the spirit shine, emphasizing its subtle flavors.
POUR 5 OZ Q MIXER
A highball is about 2/3 mixer and 1/3 spirit, so the mixer is critically important. A high quality mixer has perfect carbonation and is not too sweet (sugar masks the subtleties of the spirit).
If you’re looking for glass, ice tray and other bar tool recommendations, we have put some of our favorites (from affordable to investment) on Pinterest.