The Japanese have long been committed whisky drinkers, and until recently that meant holing up in a small, dark den designed for serious drinking. But the country’s leading distiller, Suntory has been revolutionizing drinking culture with the aid of a pint glass and a more than generous slug of soda.
So, what is a highball, really?
The Highball is considered a cocktail whose base composition is an alcohol added in larger proportion with non-alcoholic beverages, served in a large glass filled with ice. The most famous one is the scotch and soda. But the Japanese Highball is a whole new taste experience that will appeal to more refractory people. This helps to cleanse the palate as you eat.
A highball is probably best compared to a Japanese lager: it is a light, refreshing drink that clears the mouth. In Japan, whole groups of drinkers will often order a “toriaezu beer” when they enter a bar. This loosely translates as an “in the mean time beer”. Basically, it is an easy, refreshing, and inoffensive drink that can be ordered quickly on arrival at a bar before everyone takes a look at the menu.
The highball step by step
• Fill your glass with ice (preferably made with mineral water).
• Pour your whisky.
• Stir with a large spoon to cool the whisky evenly.
• Pour very gently the sparkling water with a neutral taste along your glass to maintain maximum bubbles. Stir one last time just to homogenize the temperature of the mixture.