The highball is perhaps the easiest cocktail ever. One glass. Ice. Spirits. Top with pop, water, club soda or tonic. Stir and done. The variations are endless—bourbon and ginger ale (my parents’ standby), Jack and Coke, rum and Coke, whiskey and soda, vodka and tonic—yet hardly varied. Until now.
SodaVie launched its line of naturally brewed, hand-made sodas last year, and they bring a world of new flavors to the highball. Okay, I know local bartenders are doing more creative things with them than just topping up spirits. And I am generally opposed to substituting cocktail mixes for real ingredients, because the results are too often over-sweet and artificial tasting. These sodas are so fresh and potently flavored, though, so original and creative in themselves, that they don’t feel like a cocktail shortcut. One glass. Ice. Spirits. SodaVie. Cheating never tasted better.
The highball dates back to the 1890s, when a bartender named Patrick Gavin Duffy mixed whiskey with club soda and ice, according to The Craft of the Cocktail. A general rule of thumb is 1-1/2 to 2 ounces of spirits and 4 to 5 ounces soda. Garnish with a slice of orange, lime or lemon or a sprig of fresh herbs as you like.
If you have gin, try: Cucumber (citrus, ginger and cucumber—I especially like it with Hendrick’s), Thai Basil Clove (basil, anise and clove)
If you have vodka: Celery Seed (an aromatic citrus soda), Strawberry Mint (berry and mint)
If you have rum: Mojito (lime and mint), Pineapple/Cilantro (pineapple and cilantro)
If you have tequila: Citrus Kicker (citrus and lemon with a hit of chili)
For a highball by another name: try a Dark and Stormy by pouring 2 ounces of dark rum and 5 ounces SodaVie Ginger Beer over ice, and then squeezing in a lime wedge. Or, make a Moscow Mule by pouring 1-1/2 ounces vodka and 4 to 5 ounces of SodaVie Ginger Beer or Moscow Mule soda over ice, garnished with lime.