You might be familiar with classic drinks like gin & tonic, scotch & soda, vodka & tonic. While these are technically highballs (note the lowercase) the highball began as a whiskey drink. It’s a simple recipe and a party favorite. 

A Highball (note the capitalization) is traditionally Whiskey and carbonation via Soda water OR ginger ale.

Odd to think we’d need to list a recipe for this drink but seriously, someone came up with this.

Soda guns at bars didn’t just come out of nowhere.

A Brief History:


Considered by most sources to have started as the original “Scotch and Soda” The Highball (caps) came to encompass any whiskey with added fizz.

Some credit the Adams House in Boston-or a bartender in New York named Patrick Duffy- as creating the drink. However it’s so simple who can tell? 

Carbonated recipes date back to the later half of the 1800’s and it’s just so simple an idea to mix it with booze. So whoever first put soda to whiskey won’t go down in history but they’re still a hero.

The best guess (of a few) for where the name may have come from is the trains. Old school trains with railroad signals of raised globes (balls) meant the track was clear. Which meant drivers naturally would speed up. 

There is a belief that highballs were so named relating to railroads because they sped up the intake of alcohol into the system. We have some worse drink names nowadays so why not?


Random Fact:

The nickname, "Mr. Usher" refers to a Whiskey highball, an order Patrick Duffy received often from an unknown British actor back in the 1890's. 

No matter where the name came from, and how easily discoverable it was, we’re still very thankful for the day The Highball introduced itself to the world for the first time. 

If your favorite is the traditional whiskey variety or another spirit and fizz concoction we’d love to hear it in the comments. Thanks for reading and as always...

Cheers from,

Happy Hour City!