How to Make the Best Scotch and Soda

Scotch and soda cocktail with ice in a highball glass

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
139 Calories
0g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 139
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The name Scotch and soda tells you everything you need to know about this popular cocktail. While it is a very simple Scotch whisky drink, there are a few ways to improve it and customize it to suit your taste. 

Adding still water to whisky opens up the liquor's flavor, and club soda will do the same. It also brings in a little effervescence to make it even more invigorating. The amount of soda is really up to you; some people prefer it in an old-fashioned glass while others like this drink as a highball. In terms of taste, a few ounces make a big difference: If you want a flavorful drink, go with a short pour of soda; for a softer drink, opt for the long pour.

The concept here is to water down Scotch without destroying the flavors of the whisky. In the process, you're making a longer-lasting, smoother, and more refreshing drink. Without a doubt, it's one of the easiest ways to dress up your favorite Scotch.


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"It might be befuddling to understand why Scotch and soda is the world’s most popular highball until you have one. Lighter floral, citrus, and dried fruit notes glide across the tongue in a well-made Scotch and soda. Use this recipe as a guide to finding your favorite Scotch and a highball that defines your day." —Sean Johnson

Scotch and Soda Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 ounces Scotch whisky

  • 1 to 6 ounces club soda, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Scotch and soda cocktail recipe gathered

     The Spruce Eats

  2. In a highball or old-fashioned glass filled with ice, pour the Scotch.

    Scotch poured over ice into a highball glass

    The Spruce Eats

  3. Top with the club soda and stir well. Serve and enjoy.

    Scotch and soda cocktail with ice in a highball glass

    The Spruce Eats


  • For the best Scotch and soda, be selective about which brand of soda you choose. A high-quality, craft club soda tends to have a cleaner profile and is a really nice complement to a decent Scotch.
  • When serving it short, consider using an ice ball or large cube. These will melt slower than smaller cubes and prolong the drink's full flavor.

Recipe Variation

The two styles are very similar in taste, so switch from Scotch to Japanese whisky. In Japan, the highball drink is preferred. It's typically 1 1/2 ounces of whisky stirred with ice (often a long hand-carved cube) then topped with 4 to 5 ounces of soda.

What's the Best Scotch for a Scotch and Soda?

From blended to single malts, any Scotch whisky can be used in a Scotch and soda, and it's a fantastic option when exploring new-to-you bottles. The beauty of this drink is that you can easily tailor it to fit the whisky you're pouring at the moment. For instance, when you have a great single malt, add just a splash of premium soda, but for a casual happy hour, choose an affordable blended whisky and fill a tall glass with soda.

What Soda Goes Good With Scotch?

Clear, unsweetened sodas are preferred in a Scotch and soda. Club soda is the easiest choice, though plain soda water out of a soda maker is excellent as well. Sparkling water tends to be less carbonated but is a good option. That said, ginger ale is commonly paired with whiskey in highballs, lemon-lime sodas add a sweet citrus spin, and Scotch and cola is a popular drink throughout Europe. Try different Scotches and other styles of whiskeys with various sodas to find your personal favorites for different moods.

How Strong Is the Scotch and Soda?

The Scotch to soda ratio is a variable that will factor into the actual alcohol content of your drink. If your whisky is 80 proof (Scotch varies greatly), one made with 1 ounce of soda will fall in the 23 percent ABV (46 proof) range. Pouring 4 ounces of soda will easily cut that in half.