45 Highball Cocktails and Drinks to Make in Your Home Bar

Our list brings you the best highball cocktails, showcasing popular gin and whiskey drinks in a simple glass. Dive into these easy recipes and see why everyone loves them at bars and parties.

Highball cocktails are a type of mixed alcoholic drink composed of an alcoholic base spirit and a much larger proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer. Typically, highball drinks are served in a tall glass, often referred to as a highball glass, over ice. The name “highball” originally comes from the early railroad signal, meaning “clear track ahead”.

The classic highball formula involves filling a tall glass with ice, adding a measure of spirit, and then topping it off with a carbonated mixer. Examples include the whiskey and ginger ale combination known as a “Whiskey Highball” or rum and cola known as a “Rum and Coke“.

The highball cocktail keeps things simple, which makes it so versatile. You can use any base spirit like whiskey, gin, tequila, brandy, or vodka. Because of this, bars worldwide serve many highball variations, making them classic go-to drinks. People love ordering favorites like gin and tonic or vodka soda when they want a straight-up, tasty drink.

45 Best Highball Cocktails and Recipes

Because of their simplicity, some purists might argue that highballs don’t belong in the same category as more complex cocktails. But in our world of mixology, even the more simple cocktails are generally accepted and classified as cocktails!

Whiskey Highball

A side shot of a Whiskey Highball cocktail in a highball glass on a coaster with a jigger on a side, placed on a table in front of an orange wall.

You mix whiskey with soda in a tall glass filled with ice. It offers a straightforward and delicious way to enjoy whiskey with a bubbly twist.

Rum and Coke

A side shot of a Rum and Coke cocktail in a highball glass with 3 ice cubes on the side and turquoise background color

This cocktail pairs rum with the familiar sweetness of cola. You simply add rum to a glass filled with ice, fill it with coke, and you’ve got a popular drink many people love.

Gin and Tonic

A side shot of a Gin Tonic cocktail in a highball glass on a black stone coaster with lime slices on the side placed on a white marmol table with a light blue background.

The drink combines the distinct flavor of gin with the crisp taste of tonic water. You pour gin into an ice-filled glass, top it with tonic, and enjoy a classic drink that always hits the spot.

Vodka Soda

This drink keeps it simple by mixing vodka with sparkling soda water. You fill a glass with ice, add vodka, top it off with soda, and get a refreshing drink that’s light on taste and big on refreshment.

Scotch and Soda

This cocktail is a straightforward blend of scotch with soda water. By pouring scotch over ice and adding soda, you create a bubbly drink that lets the unique flavor of the scotch shine through.

Dark ‘n’ Stormy

A side shot of a Dark and Stormy cocktail in a highball glass on a table, and plant leaves on the side.

This cocktail stirs up a storm with dark rum and spicy ginger beer. You pour ginger beer into a glass filled with ice, top it with rum, and enjoy a drink that’s both sweet and spicy.

Moscow Mule

A side shot of a Moscow Mule cocktail in a highball glass on a table with two line wedge and 2 pieces of ginger in front and a brown wooden bowl on the background.

Vodka meets zesty lime and ginger beer in this cocktail. You combine vodka and lime juice in an ice-filled copper mug, fill it up with ginger beer, and relish a drink that’s tangy and effervescent.

Paloma

A side shot of a Paloma cocktail in a highball glass on a brown coaster placed on a light blue table surrounded by a jigger, a straw and a half grapefruit.

This cocktail brings together tequila and grapefruit soda. You pour tequila over ice, add grapefruit soda, and end up with a bright, zesty drink that’s tangy and slightly sweet.

7 and 7

This is a crisp blend of Seagram’s 7 Whiskey and 7-Up. You add whiskey to an ice-filled glass, then pour in the 7-Up, creating a bubbly and refreshing drink with a hint of whiskey warmth.

Cuba Libre

A side shot of a Cuba Libre cocktail in a highball glass with two half limes on the side and a basket with limes on the background.

It’s a classic combo of rum, Coke, and a splash of lime juice. You add rum to a glass of ice, top it with Coke, squeeze in some lime, and you have a drink that’s both sweet and tangy.

Fuzzy Navel

A side shot of a Fuzzy Navel cocktail in a low ball glass on a wooden tray surrounded by a bowl with orange slices, a jigger, and a bar spoon.

This cocktail mixes peach schnapps with orange juice. You combine the schnapps and orange juice in a glass with ice, and you get a sweet, fruity drink that tastes like a peachy sunrise.

Sea Breeze

A side shot of a Sea Breeze cocktail in a highball glass on a wooden tray placed on a marmol table

Vodka finds its refreshing side in this mix of cranberry and grapefruit juices. Pour vodka into an ice-filled glass, add the cranberry and grapefruit juices, and get a breezy cocktail that’s both tart and sweet.

Greyhound

A side shot of a Greyhound cocktail in a highball glass on a black stone plate with a straw on the side placed on a white marmol table, and two half grapefruits on the background.

This drink combines vodka and grapefruit juice. You pour vodka over ice, add the grapefruit juice, and end up with a straightforward, tangy cocktail that’s as refreshing as it sounds.

Pimm’s Cup

A side shot of a Pimm's Cup cocktail in a highball glass on a wooden board placed on a brown placemat with a jigger around.

A quintessential British summer drink, this cocktail stars Pimm’s No. 1. Mix it with lemon-lime soda or ginger ale in a glass with ice, and you get a fruity, herbal drink perfect for garden parties and picnics.

Tom Collins

A side shot of a Tom Collins cocktail in a Highball glass on a stone plate placed on a marmol table, with a shaker, a jigger, an orange and a bar spoon in the background

This classic cocktail combines gin, lemon juice, sugar, and soda water. You shake gin, lemon juice, and sugar together, pour it into a tall glass with ice, top it with soda water, and enjoy a fizzy, citrusy delight.

John Collins

A side shot of a John Collins cocktail in highball glass on a coaster placed on a white cloth on a beige table surrounded by a straw, four lemons, and a shaker

Think of it as Tom Collins’ whiskey-loving cousin. Start with whiskey, add lemon juice, sugar, and soda water to an ice-filled glass, and you have a bubbly drink that’s as refreshing as its gin counterpart.

Americano

A side shot of an Americano cocktail in a highball glass on a wooden board placed on a white table surrounded by five oranges, a shaker, and a bar spoon.

Campari meets sweet vermouth in this cocktail. You fill a glass with ice, add equal parts of Campari and sweet vermouth, top it off with soda water, and get a bittersweet, sparkling drink that’s perfect before dinner.

Tequila and Tonic

A side shot of a Tequila Tonic cocktail in a highball glass on a wooden coaster placed on a white bar table surrounded by a jigger, a bar spoon, two limes, two lime wedges anda red cloth.

This drink takes tequila’s vibrant character and pairs it with the tonic’s bubbly nature. Just pour tequila over ice, top it with tonic water, and you’ve got a crisp and effervescent drink that’s a refreshing twist on the traditional gin and tonic.

Horse’s Neck

A side shot of an Horse's Neck cocktail in highball glass on a black stone coaster placed on a orange cloth on a white table surrounded by ginger pieces, orange pieces, a jigger, and a bar spoon.

A drink with either brandy or bourbon, it gets its kick from ginger ale and a unique twist with a long lemon spiral. Add your choice of spirit to an ice-filled glass, top with ginger ale, and garnish with that long lemon twist to create a cocktail that’s both tasty and visually striking.

Vodka Tonic

A side shot of a Vodka Tonic cocktail in highball glass on a black stone coaster with lime pieces around, placed on a white marmol table in front of a yellow wall.

A simple and clean combination, this cocktail merges the smoothness of vodka with the quinine-rich tonic taste. Pour vodka into a glass filled with ice, top it off with tonic water, and you’re ready with a straightforward drink that’s always a crowd-pleaser.

Vodka Cranberry (or Cape Codder)

A side shot of a Cape Codder cocktail in a highball glass on a wooden board placed on a white cloth with lime pieces around.

This cocktail blends vodka’s neutrality and cranberry’s tartness. Fill a glass with ice, add vodka, pour in cranberry juice, and you’ve whipped up a drink that’s both tangy and refreshing.

Bourbon and Ginger Ale

Here, the deep notes of bourbon meet the spiciness of ginger ale. Fill a glass with ice, pour in the bourbon, top it off with ginger ale, and you’ve got a cocktail that’s the right mix of spice and warmth.

Lynchburg Lemonade

A side shot of a Lynchburg Lemonade cocktail in a highball glass surrounded by lemon wedges on a blue table, with some cocktail tools behind and in front of a yellow wall.

This spirited lemonade features whiskey, triple sec, and lemon juice, all fizzed with lemon-lime soda. Mix whiskey, triple sec, and lemon juice in a glass, add ice, top it with lemon-lime soda, and you’re sipping on a zesty and spirited lemonade perfect for hot days.

Presbyterian

This bubbly mix combines the warmth of whiskey with the dual fizz of ginger ale and club soda. To make, just add whiskey to a glass filled with ice, pour in equal parts ginger ale and club soda, and enjoy a drink that dances between sweet and spritz.

Salty Dog

A side shot of a Salty Dog cocktail in a highball glass on a beige table surrounded by a grapefruit wedge, an orange cloth, a shaker and a jigger, in front of a white wall.

A tangy cocktail with a salty rim, this drink combines gin or vodka with the tartness of grapefruit juice. Rim a glass with salt, fill with ice, pour in your choice of spirit, add grapefruit juice, and relish a drink that perfectly balances salty and sour.

Shandy

A refreshing, beer-based drink, the Shandy blends beer’s maltiness with the citrusy punch of lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. Fill half a glass with beer and top the rest with your chosen soda to create a light and fizzy cocktail perfect for sunny days.

Madras

This colorful cocktail mixes vodka’s clarity with the sweet and tart combo of cranberry and orange juices. In a glass filled with ice, pour vodka and equal parts of cranberry and orange juices for a fruity and vibrant drink.

Mojito Highball

Taking the classic Mojito up a notch, this drink combines rum, lime juice, sugar, mint, and soda water. Muddle mint leaves with sugar and lime juice at the bottom of a glass, add rum, fill with ice, and top with soda water to get a highball version of the Cuban classic.

Sloe Gin Fizz

A side shot of a Sloe Gin Fizz cocktail on a black stone plate placed on a white marmol surface with a jigger and oranges on the background

A frothy delight, this cocktail features berry-flavored sloe gin with lemon juice, sugar, and soda water. Shake sloe gin, lemon juice, and sugar in a mixer, pour into a tall glass, then top with soda water for a bubbly, tangy, and slightly sweet treat.

Kalimotxo

People often raise eyebrows at the Kalimotxo until they try it. You just mix red wine and cola, and this drink from the Basque region offers a surprising blend of sweet and deep flavors.

Spicy Mule

If you love the classic Moscow Mule but crave more kick, try the Spicy Mule. You pour vodka and lime into a glass, then top it off with spicy ginger beer to add that extra zing.

Jameson and Ginger

The smooth Jameson Irish whiskey and bubbly ginger ale make a perfect pair. Just pour Jameson into an iced glass, fill the rest with ginger ale, give it a quick stir, and you have a drink that balances warmth and crispness.

Campari and Orange

A side shot of a Campari and Orange cocktail in a highball glass on a green placemat placed on a wooden table with a jigger and a green bowl with orange wedge around.

The bright red Campari and orange juice create a drink that’s both visually striking and refreshing. Just pour Campari into a glass, add the orange juice, and enjoy the bittersweet dance of flavors.

Blue Lagoon

A side shot of a Blue Lagoon cocktail in a highball glass on a bart table and blur background.

This vibrant drink gets its name from its striking blue color. You mix vodka, blue curaçao, and lemonade, and this tropical treat not only looks stunning but also tastes like a beach vacation.

Melon Ball

The Melon Ball bursts with fruity goodness. Mix melon liqueur, vodka, and pineapple or orange juice, and you get a drink that tastes as vibrant as a summer day.

Malibu and Pineapple

When you want a tropical escape, the Malibu and Pineapple is your ticket. Combine Malibu coconut rum with pineapple juice, and every sip will remind you of a sunny beach.

Aperol Spritz

A side shot of an Aperol Spritz cocktail in a wine glass on a wooden coaster surrounded by orange pieces placed on a beige table.

The Aperol Spritz hails from Italy and has become a favorite worldwide. To make this bubbly drink, mix Aperol, prosecco, and a splash of soda. It’s like sunshine in a glass!

Lemon Lime & Bitters

This is a refreshing classic that never goes out of style. Pour lemon and lime soda into a glass, add a few dashes of aromatic bitters, and you get a drink that’s both tangy and slightly sweet.

Bacardi and Cola

A side shot of a Rum and Coke cocktail in a highball glass with 3 ice cubes on the side and turquoise background color

This drink is a timeless favorite. Simply mix Bacardi rum with cola, making a smooth and bubbly cocktail perfect for any occasion.

Port and Tonic

This mix offers a unique spin on the usual tonic pairings. Add port wine to tonic water, creating a delightful blend of rich and refreshing flavors.

Amaretto and Coke

Dive into the sweet almond taste of the Amaretto and Coke cocktail. Mix amaretto with coke, and you’ll have a drink that’s both nutty and refreshing, making it a crowd-pleaser.

Campari and Grapefruit

If you’re after a bittersweet treat, the Campari and Grapefruit is your go-to. Blend Campari with fresh grapefruit juice for a delightful balance that will tantalize your taste buds.

Prosecco Spritz

A sparkling sensation, the Prosecco Spritz shines at any gathering. Combine prosecco with a splash of soda and a fruity liqueur, and the outcome is a bubbly and light cocktail perfect for celebrations.

Lemon Drop Highball

For a zesty treat, reach for the Lemon Drop Highball. With vodka, lemon juice, and soda, this cocktail gives you a tangy burst of flavors that are refreshing and lively.

Brandy and Ginger

The Brandy and Ginger cocktail is all about warm and spicy notes. Just pour brandy into a glass, top it off with ginger ale, and you have a smooth drink with a spicy kick. Perfect for those cozy evenings!

Non-Alcoholic Highball Cocktails

These are often called “mocktails” or “virgin” versions of popular cocktails. Some alcoholic free highball drinks we like:

  • Virgin Mojito: Mint leaves, lime juice, sugar, and soda water.
  • No-Gin and Tonic: Non-alcoholic gin alternatives with tonic water.
  • Ginger Ale Highball: Ginger ale with a splash of lime or lemon juice.
  • Lemon Cucumber Sparkler: Lemon juice, cucumber slices, simple syrup, and soda water.
  • Virgin Paloma: Grapefruit juice, lime juice, and soda water with a pinch of salt.
  • Virgin Mary: A non-alcoholic version of the Bloody Mary using tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and various seasonings.
  • No-Gin Fizz: Non-alcoholic gin, lemon juice, sugar, and soda water.
  • Pineapple and Soda: Pineapple juice topped with soda water.
  • Virgin Dark ‘n’ Stormy: Ginger beer with lime juice.

History and Origin of the Highball Cocktails

Highball cocktails trace their roots back to England in 1887 when an American actor, EJ Ratcliffe, reportedly ordered a “scotch & soda” from bartender Patrick Gavin Duffy. Duffy later claimed to have introduced this drink to America in 1885. 

The Highball surged in popularity in the U.S. during Prohibition, thanks to increased scotch sales and the growing trend of using ice. After Prohibition ended, whiskey and soda became a classy choice, but by the 1980s, vodka took over.

In Japan, people have always loved the Highball. They first served it to workers in the 1950s. Its fame decreased for a while, but in 2008, a local scotch brand’s campaign (Suntory) made it popular again. Now, young Japanese drink it to feel a connection to their grandparents’ time. Examples are Whisky Mizuwari, Suntory Kakubin Highball, Yuzu Highball, Shochu Highball and Umeshu Highball. Check out our article about Japanese highballs and Japanese whiskey cocktails for more inspiration.

More Cocktail Recipes

We’ve got lots more classic cocktails and modern classic cocktails for you:

  1. Martini: You make this classic drink with gin and vermouth and garnish it with an olive or a lemon twist.
  2. Manhattan: This traditional whiskey drink mixes rye or bourbon with sweet vermouth and bitters.
  3. Old Fashioned: Mix bourbon or rye whiskey with sugar and bitters and often garnish with an orange slice or cherry.
  4. Negroni: An Italian favorite made by combining gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, usually with an orange peel on top.
  5. Espresso Martini: You make this modern favorite by mixing vodka, espresso coffee, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup.
  6. Penicillin: This cocktail combines Scotch whisky, lemon juice, honey-ginger syrup, and a dash of smoky Scotch.
  7. Aperol Spritz: A popular drink made with Aperol, Prosecco, and soda water, it’s light, refreshing, and a bit bitter, often served with an orange slice.
  8. Paper Plane: A newer cocktail made with equal parts bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and fresh lemon juice.

You can find more simple mixes on our mixed drinks sections

Easy Highball Cocktails: Whiskey Highball recipe (and 44 More!)

Enjoy our simple whiskey highball recipe! With the simplicity of whiskey and soda, this cocktail offers classic refreshments for any event.

Whiskey Highball Cocktail Drink

Whiskey Highball Cocktail Recipe

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Enjoy our straightforward Whiskey Highball recipe! With Whiskey, fizzy club soda, and a bit of lemon, it's a refreshing and tasty drink for any time.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 142

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • 4 oz soda water
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slice - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Highball Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your Highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Add Whiskey: Pour 2 oz Whiskey over the ice.
  • Add Soda Water: Measure and pour 4 oz soda water into the glass.
  • Stir Gently: Use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients gently.
  • Garnish (optional): Place a lemon slice into the glass for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Whiskey: This drink is one of the most versatile ones, feel free to experiment with all the spirit out there.
  • Club Soda: When I've run out of club soda, tonic water or ginger ale are suitable replacements. Tonic water introduces a bitter undertone, and ginger ale adds a sweet and spicy flavor.

Making a Pitcher of Whiskey Highball:

  • Scale: For a pitcher serving 8, you'll need 16 oz of Whiskey and 32 oz of club soda.
  • Mix: Combine the whiskey and club soda in a large pitcher and give it a gentle stir.
  • Serve: Pour the concoction into individual ice-filled highball glasses, garnish with a lemon twist or wedge, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Whiskey Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative available in the market. These usually mimic the flavor profile of traditional Whiskey quite well.
  • Proceed As Usual: Replace the Whiskey with the non-alcoholic alternative and follow the original steps to enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

This recipe is inherently vegan, containing no animal products or by-products. However, always ensure that the specific brands of whiskey and club soda you use do not have any non-vegan additives or processing agents.

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