A highball is any two-ingredient cocktail that contains a small amount of base alcohol (usually two to three ounces), and a larger amount of non-alcoholic mixer (usually four to six ounces). It’s a drink that’s typically served over ice, in a Collins or highball glass, and it can be garnished with citrus, fruit ,or even herbs.
Many believe the original highball is the Scotch and soda, but several drinks fall into the highball category: the whiskey ginger, the rum and coke, and even the gin and tonic are all considered highballs. Additionally, while traditional recipes use a spirit as the base alcohol, it is just as common nowadays to see amari, wine, sake, or other lower-alcohol beverages to create a drink that is more sessionable.
Another fun fact is that the highball is especially popular in Japan, where bartenders create elaborate and delicious interpretations of the drink, and it’s receiving somewhat of a renaissance stateside now, too!