Highball cocktails are easy to drink and even easier to make! Try all of these bubbly and refreshing classic mixed drinks.
Want a refreshing, easy to drink cocktail? The highball cocktail is where it’s at. A highball is a family of cocktails that use base alcohol and a larger percentage of mixer, like fruit juice or soda water. Typically they’re served over ice and often in a tall highball glass. Two advantages of highball cocktails: they’re easy to drink, because they’re more watered down than the standard. They’re also very easy to make: often just mixed right in the glass! No shaking required.
Highball cocktails are perfect for summer because they’re light and refreshing: but you can drink them anytime! Here are the classics that everyone should try.
A classic highball cocktail: the vodka tonic! This variation on the Gin & Tonic is less about the booze and more about citrusy bubbles. Vodka melds right into the tonic water, making for a zingy, easy to drink cocktail (so beware). While it’s simple, there are a few tips on making the very best vodka tonic. Here’s how to make this two-ingredient cocktail!
Ahh, the Tom Collins: a nostalgic highball cocktail that’s about as classic as it gets! This tall highball drink is a gin sour, a sweet and sour drink made with gin. It’s refreshing, bubbly, and makes any evening more fun.
Ingredients: Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, soda water
Some cocktails have a strong image, and the Long Island Iced Tea is one of them, right? It’s boozy, low-brow, and sickly sweet, with strong chain restaurant vibes. But have you tried a classic Long Island Iced Tea? Mixed up as intended, this drink will blow you away. Ditch the sour mix and Triple Sec in favor of fresh citrus and top shelf liquor. One sip and it’s zingy, sweet tart, nuanced and sophisticated.
Ingredients: Vodka, tequila, white rum, gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, cola
It’s tall, it’s bubbly, and it’s one of the easiest to make cocktails out there. Try the Gin Rickey! This classic cocktail was born in the 1880s and has been popular ever since. And for good reason: it’s tangy, bubbly, and irresistibly delicious. If you love a Vodka Soda or a Gin and Tonic: this is the drink for you!
Want a highball cocktail that’s laid-back, tart and refreshing? Look no further than the Sea Breeze! It tastes just like its name: light, breezy, and all about no-frills vibes. It’s perfect for happy hour with friends, a light brunch drink, or a little evening nightcap. Or mix up a big pitcher for a garden party or a weekend at the lake. Also try the grape-based classic, the Transfusion!
Here’s one of the most refreshing highball cocktails out there: a Southside Fizz! A cousin of the Southside Cocktail, this gin cocktail features bright citrus, herbaceous mint, and fizzy soda water. It’s tart and fizzy, perfect for drinks on the patio, a daytime brunch drink, or a wintertime cocktail when you’re dreaming of summer. The best way to describe it? A Tom Collins + a Mojito!
Ingredients: Gin, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, soda water, fresh mint
Here’s a light and refreshing highball cocktail that’s perfect for summer afternoons: the Americano! It’s the original inspiration for the Negroni and is even better, in our opinion. It’s bitter, complex and bubbly all at once! Starring Campari and vermouth, it’s both sophisticated and carefree at the same time. We think an Americano should be served with lots of soda water, so it fits the definition of a highball cocktail.
It’s fizzy, it’s tangy, it looks festive, and it goes down easy. What’s more fun than a Moscow mule? You might not think of a mule as a highball cocktail since it's served in a copper mug. But it is, because of the ginger beer mixer! With only 3 ingredients and 3 minutes required, it’s perfect for parties or a lazy evening on the patio. Also try all the Moscow Mule variations: Mexican Mule, Kentucky Mule, or Gin Gin Mule
Here’s a refreshing way to drink your favorite whiskey: the classic Whiskey Highball! This two-ingredient cocktail originated around the turn of the 20th century and it’s still popular to this day. Why? It’s so easy to make, and it's an intriguing way to enjoy the flavors in a sip of whiskey. This drink has two variations: one straight classic for whiskey lovers, and one as a more balanced drink with ginger ale.
Got OJ? Got vodka? Let’s make a Screwdriver! The Screwdriver is one of the easiest highball cocktails there is, ideal for afternoon drinks or brunch. Cocktail connoisseurs might call it low brow…and let’s be honest: it is. But there are lots of legit two-ingredient drinks! To step it up: add Galliano and make it a Harvey Wallbanger.
Here’s a light, bubbly classic highball cocktail that’s flown under the radar for too long: the Floradora! This beautifully pink drink was inspired by a Broadway show by the same name and dates back to the early 1900’s. It’s a total gem of a drink: raspberry syrup pairs beautifully with lime, gin, and the spicy kick of ginger beer! With it’s sweet name and delicious sweet tart flavor, we think it’s time for another spot in the limelight!
Here’s one of the easiest highball cocktail recipes you can make: the vodka cranberry! Also called the Cape Codder, it’s got only a handful of ingredients and it tastes tart and refreshing. Even better (or worse?), it goes down easy. The flavor is nicely balanced so that the alcohol is just strong enough.
Looking for a tasty, refreshing cocktail that takes 1 minute to mix together? Try Rum and Ginger Ale! It’s similar to a Dark and Stormy, but the ginger flavor is subtler and melts right into the rum. Add a squeeze of lime and it’s the perfect refreshing highball. It’s a great way to make a fast and easy cocktail with a bottle of rum.
Here’s a refreshingly tart highball cocktail: the Greyhound cocktail! It’s citrusy and light, perfect as a brunch drink or for sipping at happy hour. It works in any season: it can be beachy for summer, or throw in a rosemary branch and use winter citrus!
What’s more classic of a highball cocktail than a gin and tonic? Its crisp, botanical flavor is straightforward but at the same time intriguing: a feat using only 2 ingredients! It’s no wonder that this is one of the world’s popular cocktails. We’ve researched to gather a few tips about making the perfect gin and tonic. Here are all our secrets.
Here’s a cocktail that’s light, refreshing, and goes down easy: the Vodka Soda! Cousin to the Vodka Tonic, the vodka soda is even more tart and refreshing. Just lime, vodka and soda water make the best hydrating combination! This concept is actually called a “rickey”, a classic cocktail made with liquor and soda water.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.