Bartending/Techniques/Highball cocktails

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Book Citation: The following text on drinks and bartending contains information based on The Official Harvard Student Agencies Bartending Course, Third Edition, ISBN 0-312-25286-2

'Highballs' are iced drinks containing liquor and water or a carbonated mixer served in a tall glass. In practice, the term highball is used to refer to any drink prepared in a highball glass with ice. These drinks are prepared directly in a 9 oz (270 mL) highball glass.

Making a highball

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  • Fill a highball glass two-thirds full with ice. Use an ice scoop or your hands; never use the glass. If the glass breaks in the ice, it will leave shards indistinguishable from ice. This makes it impossible to locate all of the shards; it is likely that small chips will be scattered through the ice as well as the big pieces. It may be illegal in your area to use anything but an ice scoop for this reason.
  • Pour in one jigger (45 mL) of liquor. Note: some bars save money by putting in 1 oz (30 mL) instead of a whole jigger (45 mL).
  • Pour mixer to the top.
  • If the mixer is non-carbonated, stir it; or stick a straw in it and let the drinker stir. If it's carbonated, the bubbles do the stirring for it.
  • Garnish, if necessary.

Otherwise, if you feel that you're ready for a genuine Spanish "cubata" (rum & coke), you should pour both liquor and mixer 50%-50%. It gives a much stronger taste. It is not really recommended because customers will get drunk fairly quickly, and will stop ordering drinks. It is the usual mix in Spain.


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Highballs with gin

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Highballs with vodka

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