Why Highballs Are the Drink of the Summer

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Johnnie Walker

You might not be able to go to your favorite bar this summer, but you can still enjoy high-quality cocktails at home. Just serve Highballs the next time you’re kicking back with friends. The whisky drink is as bright as a Gin & Tonic and as complex and flavorful as an Old Fashioned—and simple enough for anyone to make at home.

While it’s only a two-ingredient cocktail, the combination of whisky and soda water—or another mixer—leaves plenty of room for variation and complexity. Starting with a deeply smooth whisky like Johnnie Walker Black Label keeps the Highball as light and drinkable as any summer cocktail, but its subtle notes of vanilla and creamy toffee notes bring more flavor than you would expect from such a simple recipe. 

The simple preparation and complex taste make it the perfect drink to serve when hosting. Whether you’re kicking back with your immediate family or celebrating with your friends, these tips, recipes and food pairings should provide plenty of inspiration for your next summer get together.

Keep It Simple

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The elegance of the Highball is in its simplicity. It only takes two ingredients and a couple of minutes to create a smooth and sophisticated drink. Check out the recipe for the Ginger Highball to discover how easy it can be to mix an artful summer cocktail.

Ginger Highball

  • 1 1/2 oz Johnnie Walker Black Label
  • 4 1/2 oz Ginger Ale
  • Pour into a Highball glass filled with ice and garnish with a lime wedge.

The Ginger Highball is as simple to prepare as any two-ingredient drink, but the interplay of those two ingredients is as complex and intriguing as something you would order at a high-end cocktail bar. It’s a perfectly balanced drink, with the spice notes in the ginger ale complementing Black Label’s hints of smoke. 

Stay Flexible

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 Johnnie Walker

There are countless ways to make the drink, even when you stay true to using the two-ingredient formula and whisky as the base. Any get together is a great opportunity to explore the versatility of the Highball.

Want to serve something a little sweeter? Try the Berry Highball with whatever berries you have on hand. The fruit infusion will add some color and subtly sweet notes to the traditional highball, and give your get together even more of a summer feel.

Berry Highball

  • 1 1/2 oz Johnnie Walker Black Label
  • 4 1/2 oz Soda Water
  • 4 Sliced Strawberries
  • Add ingredients to a Highball glass filled with ice and garnish with a lemon wedge. 

If you want to double down on the seasonal vibes, you can go tropical by making the Coconut Highball. It still has the fizzy quality you want from a Highball, but the coconut water does an excellent job at bringing out the vanilla notes in the whisky.

Coconut Highball

  • 1 1/2 oz Johnnie Walker Black Label
  • 2 1/2 oz Soda Water
  • 2 oz Coconut Water
  • Pour ingredients into a Highball glass filled with ice and garnish with a lime wedge.

Play With Pairings

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 Johnnie Walker

The Highball is plenty delicious on its own, but pairing it with the right food elevates the classic drink.

One combo we highly recommend is pairing the tomato salad and burrata with a Watermelon Highball. The sweetness from the watermelon cuts right through the acidity of the tomato while the creamy texture of the burrata brings out the richness of the whisky. It’s a well-balanced symphony of flavors ideal for a summertime afternoon. 

Watermelon Highball

  • 1 1/2 oz Johnnie Walker Black Label
  • 1 1/2 oz Soda Water
  • 3 oz Watermelon Juice
  • Pour ingredients into a Highball glass filled with ice and garnish with a watermelon slice and cucumber wheel.  

Prefer a mix of salty and citrus flavors? You can try the Lemon Highball and mix it with some olives. That Highball’s use of lemonade instead soda water makes it the perfect cocktail if you’re making fish for dinner, since lemon and seafood is such a classic and delicious pairing.

Lemon Highball

  • 1 1/2 oz Johnnie Walker Black Label
  • 4 1/2 oz Soda Water
  • Squeeze of Lemon Juice
  • Pour ingredients into a Highball glass filled with ice and garnish with a lemon wedge.

The options are endless—you can experiment with all sorts of food and Highball pairings. Buy a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label today and start making these Highballs.