The whisky highball, or whisky and soda cocktail, is an unassuming mix, utterly simple but thoroughly divine. A look back at the history of mixology tells us that this cocktail was popular across America and Europe long before it became a favoured highball drink in high-end bars across the globe. Whisky and soda have rather humble origins and can be traced to the early 19th century when brandy and soda was a largely sought after paring. However, following the Napoleonic Wars, the supply of cognac became erratic leading to the emergence if Scotch as the go-to drink. By and by, soda came to be added to whisky to prepare the smoky, rich drink enjoyed today.
Yet another fascinating narrative around whisky and soda being named ‘highball' has to do with the railway revolution sweeping Europe. Highball referred to the ball in a steam engine’s water tank which indicated whether the volume of water was sufficient to create steam. To signal the water levels were correct, engineers on the train would blow two short and one long whistle, just like two shots of liquor and one long pour of soda are required to make a classic highball.
Concocted using three simple ingredients — whisky, soda and ice — the beauty of the drink lies in the sheer versatility of the spirit itself as well as the opportunity to personalise the quantities of soda and ice according to one’s preferences. What is of note is the process of carbonation once seltzer or soda is added to the highball glass so avoid stirring the drink too much lest it release all the effervescence and bubbles in the sparkling non-alcoholic mixer.
Making a glass of Johnnie Walker Black Label and soda mixed with three ice cubes is a real treat at any cocktail party or home hosting event. You can opt for this signature whisky with its spicy and rich notes and a bit of dry finish as it makes for a rather well-balanced spirit for mixing cocktails. Garnish the drink with a lemon wedge to blend its citrusy aroma with the strong whiff of whisky.
A Black and soda can be served in a tall highball glass but be sure to monitor the proportions of the whisky and carbonated drink. You can also add a spot of water to the mix without overpowering the soda content. Serve the highball cocktail in a cold glass to make the drink feel refreshing.
Find out below a simple recipe to make a delicious glass of Black and soda, useful for those parties where you decide to act bartender:
Fill a tall glass with ice cubes.
Add 25 ml Johnnie Walker Black Label.
Add 75 ml soda water or fill to the top.
Garnish with a wedge of lime.