Making The Perfect Highball — A Quick Guide

Studying the best way to make a highball is fairly straightforward. At its core, a traditional highball is blended scotch and fizzy mineral water in a highball glass over ice. That’s it, lesson over.

I child, I child.

Certain, you may simply throw some blended scotch, ice, and water in a glass and go about your small business. However to actually “get” this combined drink, it is advisable to dial it in a little bit greater than that. An important side — I’d argue much more vital than the scotch you’re utilizing — is to sit back your glass, water, and whisky first. I’ve been in bars the place additionally they hold the barspoons and jiggers in a freezer drawer, too.

The concept behind all this chilling is that when all the things is already ice-cold, a particular little bit of alchemy takes place. Immediately, you get an entirely distinctive taste and textural expertise from these three easy elements. The chilly whisky has its personal viscous texture that’s type of amped up by the bubbles within the chilly water, which deliver the flavors to the floor of the drink.

For those who strive a highball like this, you will style a distinction. However since we’re solely speaking about mixing blended whisky with some water and ice (even at its most intricate, it’s straightforward), I’m going to take this one step additional. I’m making three completely different highballs at the moment, to resolve if the additional money for the higher-end bottles is absolutely price it with a combined drink like this.

I’m beginning with Johnnie Walker Black (the traditional selection for a highball). Then I’m making an attempt the identical utility with Johnnie Inexperienced (our favorite expression of the entire Johnnie Walker line). Lastly, I’m going a little bit loopy and mixing a highball with Johnnie Walker Blue (I used to be fortunate sufficient to snag their lovely new Year of the Ox Limited Edition over the Lunar New Yr).

Sure, I’m mixing a $200+ bottle of scotch right into a combined drink … for science! To check if the “good things” retains its influence if you deal with it just like the “low-cost stuff.” Let’s get mixing!

Part1: The Highball

Zach Johnston


  • 1.5-oz. blended scotch whisky
  • 4-oz. fizzy mineral water/membership soda
  • Ice

In the case of what scotch to make use of for this drink, go along with blended. Whether or not that’s a smoky mix or a candy mix is as much as you. I like a whisper of smoke in my highballs, but it surely must be subdued. I additionally just like the candy malts and a little bit of fruit. For me, that’s Johnnie Walker. For those who choose Chivas or Dewar’s or old-school Black & White, go for it!

Likewise, if you happen to’re not into scotch, strive your favourite bourbon or rye or Candian or Irish whisk(e)y. Simply be certain that to pre-chill your bottle earlier than you begin mixing.

What You’ll Want:

  • Collins glass or highball glass (a tall 10-oz. glass)
  • Barspoon
  • Jigger
Zach Johnston


  • Put all the things within the freezer (the glass, spoon, jigger, and whisky) and put the water within the fridge in a single day.
  • Add the ice to a pre-chilled glass (I wish to have the barspoon already within the glass to make stirring simpler).
  • Add the chilled whisky and high with chilled water.
  • Evenly stir.
  • Serve.

Half 2: Style Check

Zach Johnston

Style Check 1: Johnnie Walker Black Label

Okay, this was fairly goddamn stable. On the primary sip, there was that signature notice of smoke from Johnnie Black with a barely ashen physique. There wasn’t an excessive amount of candy however the malts had been positively current. The water actually helped amp up the ashy-smoke whereas mellowing the malts, all whereas including a pleasant fizziness.

It’s refreshing, velvety clean, actually rattling chilly, and hits the spot.

Bottle Line:

I like this. I’ve drunk one million of those in bars (golf equipment) with dangerous bottle choices. It’s straightforward to drink and provides you that slight smoky reminder that you’re, certainly, consuming scotch.

Style Check 2: Johnnie Walker Green Label

Wow. I’m shocked how a lot completely different this tastes. There’s an actual sense of dry cedar subsequent to gentle notes of candy pink berries. There’s not one of the spice or grassiness that’s normally in a dram of Inexperienced Label, however that’s okay. There’s the faintest wisp of smoke on the tip, however solely barely.

The mix of that wooden and berry notice actually works with the fizzy water, sort of like a very fancy bespoke all-natural soda.

Bottle Line:

That is too completely different to essentially say it’s higher than the Johnnie Black highball. Although it’s actually not worse. I feel in order for you that full twinge of smoke, Black Label is perhaps extra your jam. Plus, the Black Label is just about half the worth.

Style Check 3: Johnnie Blue

After the drastic shift between the Black and Inexperienced, I actually didn’t know what to anticipate with this highball. That is ludicrous. It’s like the very best cream soda that was ever made. One that you just’ve solely heard rumors of. There was a slight nuttiness below that well-rounded vanilla physique.

I acquired zero smokiness. It was all velvet vanilla sodas and creamy vanilla cake with walnuts.

Bottle Line:

That is extraordinary and so crushable. In the event that they offered this in a can, it’d by no means be in inventory. However given that every 1.5-oz. of whisky that goes into this highball prices round $15 (that’s no less than a $75 bar pour, of us), it’s not precisely sensible.

Half 3: Remaining Ideas

Zach Johnston

I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked one of the crucial beloved blended malt whiskies continues to be superb in a highball. However that’s sort of the purpose — an ideal whisky shines regardless of the way you wish to drink it. I usually like Johnnie Blue neat or with a little bit water, however, wow, this highball was near magical.

In the long run, I feel I’ll follow making my highballs with Johnnie Inexperienced. On the very least, it’s far more inexpensive. Furthermore, I actually like that cedar and berry notice with the fizzy water. It’s very Pacific Northwest — reminding me of untamed huckleberries rising round cedar groves.

Nonetheless, if you happen to ever have Johnnie Blue simply laying round…


Source: Making The Perfect Highball — A Quick Guide

Related Articles

Back to top button