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Why Highball Is More Than a Two-Ingredient Cocktail

Why Highball Is More Than A Two-Ingredient Cocktail

Where did it begin?

Rumour has it that it was first introduced to American culture by E.J. Ratcliffe, who ordered a “Scotch and Soda” in a bar owned by Patrick Gavin Duffy.
Duffy went on to claim that it was he who brought the Cocktail to the US, saying “it was I who first brought the Highball to America, in 1895” in his book, The Official Mixer’s Guide.

1934 - The Official Mixer's Manual by Patrick Gavin Duffy #theofficialmixersmanual #bartender #cocktail #barman #bartenderhistory #drinks #patrickgavinduffy #highball

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The first real appearance of the Highball in mixology guides was in the 1890s, when it began to be mentioned in cocktail making books such as The Mixicologist by Chris Lawlor in 1895 and Bartender’s Manual by Harry Johnson in 1900. From here it took off and news of just how good it was spread fast.
In England, it took a bit more time to become quite as popular. This was mainly down to Tommy Dewar, Whisky legend and partner of Dewar’s and Sons. He made the Highball fashionable and introduced it to many influential people at the time.

The Japanese Highball

The Japanese make good Whisky and they definitely know how to make a good Highball. The cocktail became popular there when Westerners began ordering it at bars. It wasn’t long before you could buy it bottled at shops.


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It was hugely popular in the 60s and 70s but fell out of favour over time. It wasn’t until the 2000s that it became popular again.

This is because the Japanese know how to do a Highball right. Everything is thought out and of the best quality; from the soda right down to the glass it is held in.

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How to make the perfect Highball

The attractive thing from the get go with the Highball, is that it is so easy to make, and yet tastes so good when done right. 
To make the perfect Highball you will need:
*50ml Douglas Laing’s Scallywag
*100ml Fentiman’s Ginger Ale
*Lemon to garnish
Use a chilled, tall glass. Pour the Whisky into the glass, add ice and pour over the Ginger Ale.

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This is a wonderfully versatile cocktail with lots of flavours, but it is certainly not overwhelming. Have a go and see what combinations you can discover to make your Highball perfect.

Cover image: Suntory

This post first appeared on Flaviar -, please read the originial post: here

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Why Highball Is More Than a Two-Ingredient Cocktail


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