Japanese Highball Recipes: How To Make All The Best Highball Cocktails


Drink more bubbles. This is one of the simplest and most satisfying combinations in the cocktail world. From the inimitable of England Pimm Cup the antidote to Texas heatstroke Ranch water, the no-frills equation has graced bars around the world since time immemorial. And in Japan, the birthplace of the upcoming Summer Olympics, the age-old thirst-quencher is affectionately nicknamed “highball,” a modest name for a drink whose quiet and omnipotent influence spans generations.

“In the 1950s, highball was a favorite among whiskey drinkers in Japan,” says Gardner Dunn, senior Japanese brand ambassador Suntory House distillery. “It was built to bring down the whiskey proof and open it up in a refreshing way to pair well with Japanese cuisine.”

Dunn should know. According to maven drinks Julia momose, the mastermind behind Chicago’s famous Japanese-inspired cocktail bar Kumiko and author of the next book The way of the cocktail: Japanese traditions, techniques and recipes, Suntory’s beautifully balanced whiskey played a major role in the development of this original mid-century highball craze.

“In an effort to sell more Japanese whiskey, Suntory founder Shinjiro Torii attempted to break into the beer drinker market with a focus on the effervescent, low ABV delight of highball,” says Momose. .

As soon as they hit the city of the Land of the Rising Sun, the highballs became an instant and widespread hit. Today you can walk to any bar across the country and you’re bound to meet a crowd of revelers toasting together to a raucous soundtrack of “Kanpais!” And we’re not just talking about the kind of wall dives where two-ingredient mixed drinks more often than not reign supreme.

“The popularity of highball in Japan is undeniable,” continues Dunn. “People enjoy them in tall cups filled with ice in izakayas, after work with friends while eating yakitori, and in more formal bars where the bartender adds each ingredient carefully, stirring the ice to cool the ice. whiskey 13 and a half times to the left, then adding soda water along the arm of the spoon, being careful not to burst the bubbles.

Easy to drink and served cold and crisp, highballs are making inroads in the United States today, becoming a permanent fixture in everything from casual sports bars to high-end omakase outfits. The demand is so high, in fact, that Suntory is back to his old tricks, and this time around, it’s okay with a new specially designed whiskey, as well as an incredibly innovative bar accessory: a ready-made kegerator. to-rocker. highball style, custom designed to produce perfectly proportioned drinks with a flick of the wrist.


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