Some people will tell you the Highball got its name from a railway signal, but the oldest reference we could find offers a different explanation. Round about 1888, in St. Louis University Club, a drink of bourbon and soda served with an ice ball was popular with members who referred to it as a Ball; if they wanted a longer drink, they’d ask for a High Ball.
Today a whisky highball involves whisky and a mixer, usually carbonated, served in a long glass over ice. So Scotch and soda, or JD & Coke are both examples of highballs, although very often these days, they’re served in short tumblers – a lowball?
For a Whisky Highball or a JD & Coke, the method is the same; it’s the mixer and ratios that are different.
For both, fill a highball glass with ice. Pour the whisky over and add the soda, ginger ale or coke.
- 1 part whisky (blended Scotch)
- 5 parts soda water or ginger ale
- 1 part Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whisky
- 3 parts Coca Cola
Chilling the glass first will help keep the drink cool for longer.
Don’t stir as this will reduce the bubbles and, as any ball-player will tell you, there’s nothing worse than a Foulball!