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What is a Highball?

By FineArtBartender

What A Highball Actually Is

Most people don’t know that 90% of all the drinks actually mixed are highballs. Rum and coke, Scotch and Soda, Gin & Tonic, Vodka and Seven, Rye and Ginger. A Highball is any cheap well spirit, plus an inexpensive mix from your pop gun. These drinks are designed to be high profit margin cocktails for the house and super fast to prepare. Highballs are great for putting on as a happy hour special, and essential knowledge to becoming a bartender.

The first step in making your highball is using the correct glass, doing so makes mixing cocktail much more enjoyable. Start by filling a highball class ¾ of the way with ice, you will have approximately five to six ounces of space in the top of the glass and between the cubes of ice to add your drink. Using your ¾ way filled highball glass, add 1 ½ ounces of your favourite booze.

Preparation of any Highball:

  1. Fill a clean highball glass with ice
  2. Add your spirit
  3. Top with your inexpensive mix
  4. Garnish and serve

After pouring the mixture into the glass. It is usually filled the rest of the way with some type of carbonated beverage.  When using carbonated mixtures, you want to stir not shake.  If you shake a carbonated drink what happens?  Exactly, so stir gently.

Gin and Tonic

gin tonic in tall highball glassA classic and refreshing cocktail. Perfect for sunny days and patios as the tonic is a definite thirst quencher. The bitterness of the tonic, plus juniper of the gin makes this highball a genuine palate pleaser. The tonic water also glows when under black light, so if you happen to be in a night club with one of these in hand, don’t be surprised if your cocktail gets more attention than yourself.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Gin ( I prefer Tanqueray)
  • Can of Tonic Water
  • Lime Wedge, or lemon

If Gin isn’t your preference, consider swapping out the complex, botanical infused spirit for vodka. Note that vodka isn’t any lower in calories if you are watching your sugar intake. Tonic water though has as much sugar as Coke or Ginger Ale.

What Is The 7 & 7 Cocktail And How Is It Made?

The 7 & 7 is as simple as it gets and obviously very specific on the ingredients used.  The 2 ingredients are Seagram’s 7 Crown and 7up.  Any deviation to this recipe spells disaster so don’t try to substitute anything.  This is one my favourite Whiskey highballs and can be enjoyed any day of the year.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Seagram’s 7 Crown
  • 7up
  • Lemon Wedge

The Vodka And Red Bull

Another one of my favourite cocktails.  This is the best late night cocktail when you are burning out, and need a boost of energy and awareness.  It drowned out the taste of the vodka so i usually go a little heavy on the vodka as apposed to the recipe below.  Its one of the most popular cocktail recipes of the 21st century and like everything else, their are health risks and side effects with using this cocktail entirely to get smashed.  It can flat out give you a hear attack, so id only recommend at the absolute most 1L of RedBull.  I accidentally consumed 1.5L = 3 Large Cans, and it made me feel like i drank 10 cups of coffee.  Not a good feeling.  And for those of you that have bad hearts and haven’t found out about it yet, its a killer!

Ingredients:

I prefer a cheap crappy vodka for this, you cant taste the difference!

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • RedBull

Aim to stretch the RedBull in this simple drink. Add lots of ice to the glass to make a can of the energy drink last for up to 3 drinks here.

As for other Highballs, the options are many. Your guests will tell you exactly what they want, even if it sounds like an odd combination. Gin and Coke? I can’t say I have ever ordered one, though I have had one (it was terrible). How about Tequila and Ginger? The El Diablo is a tasty cocktail with tequila, ginger beer and cassis… but there we have a much more complex cocktail that falls outside the rules of a highball.

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