How to Make Highball

Find out about Japanese Whiskey Highball

How to Make Highball

Do you like Japanese whisky highball? Highball might not be as popular as a drink compared to other alcoholic beverages in other countries. But it is a well-known drink here in Japan.

Although highball is not a drink that originated in Japan, it has gained a large following due to its refreshing taste and low-calorie value.

In this article, I will explain what highball is in Japan as well as some differences between Japanese highball and highball in other countries. I will also show you how to prepare a Japanese whisky highball.

*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.

What is Highball?

highball with food

Generally speaking, when people talk about highball, they refer to a mix of an alcoholic spirit and a non-alcoholic mixer. However, in the case of Japan, in most cases, it refers to a mix of whisky and club soda.

In other countries, this drink is more referred to as “whisky and soda” or “scotch and soda”. However, in Japan, the name “highball” is widely used and you will see it on restaurant and Izakaya menus frequently. Although this drink has existed for a while now, it became especially popular in the mid-2000s because of an advertisement campaign from the large Japanese beverage company, Suntory.

One of the reasons highball has become so popular in Japan is due to its low-calorie content in comparison to other alcoholic beverages such as wine and Japanese Sake. This makes it a popular option for people who are on a diet. It is also an easy-to-drink beverage, making it popular among people who aren’t regular drinkers.

Because of its refreshing properties, a highball is well accompanied, especially by foods that are spicy or high in fat. Karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken) and Gyoza (dumplings) are just a few examples of well-ordered foods along with a highball.

How to make Japanese Whiskey Highball

preparing highball

The ingredients for a highball are whisky and club soda. In Japan, it is well preferred to drink with a lot of ice. You can also add a lemon slice into the mix for an extra something. It is said that 20% of whisky and 80% club soda is the ideal ratio for this drink, but of course, you can prepare it as you wish. When preparing it, be sure to first pour the whisky, and then the club soda. and when mixing it, don’t stir it too much so that the club soda doesn’t lose its bubbliness.

The whisky used in the drink is very important. The three most preferred Japanese whiskies to prepare highball are Kaku whisky, Torys whisky, and Black Nikka whisky.

You can check some of the best Japanese whiskies you can purchase online from the following article!

Variations of Japanese Highball

coke highball

As I previously mentioned, a highball is referred to in Japan as a mix of whisky and club soda. However, there are some variations that are also well known and popular in Japan. Here are a few of these exceptions.

Coke Highball (コークハイボール): This is a mixture of whisky and coke. This makes a drink that is sweeter than the regular highball. It is a popular option among young adults.

Ginger Highball (ジンジャーハイボール): This is a mixture of whisky and ginger-ale. Same as coke highball, it is a sweeter version of highball.

Yuzu Highball (柚子ハイボール): This is a mixture of whisky, club soda, and a yuzu-flavored sweetener. Sometimes, honey is added to the yuzu sweetener, making a drink called “Yuzu Hachimitsu Highball” (柚子はちみつハイボール).

Chu-Hai / Sour (酎ハイ/サワー): This cocktail consists of Shochu and club soda. It is like a highball but using shochu instead of whisky. Hence the name Chu-hai (“chu” from shochu and “hai” from highball). People add different sweeteners to change the flavor.

Highball you can buy online.

Although preparing your own highball is not difficult, there is an even easier way to drink this, and that is by buying a highball can at supermarkets or convenience stores. And some of these drinks are also available online. Here are three highball products you can purchase online.

Suntory Square High Ball

kaku highball
Suntory Square High Ball

Suntory Square High Ball (also known as “Kaku Highball”) is a canned highball product made with Kaku whisky (角ウィスキー). Kaku whisky is arguably the most popular Japanese whisky for preparing highball. This Square high ball is what initiated the highball popularity in Japan.

▶︎Click here for more details about this highball right now!

Suntory Torys Highball

torys highball
Suntory Torys Highball

Torys Highball (トリスハイボール) is also a canned highball product, but this one is made with Torys whiskey. This whisky is lighter compared to the previous Kaku whisky. This makes it a good choice for those who are not very used to drink alcoholic beverages. It is also cheaper.

▶︎Click here for more details about this highball right now!

Black Nikka Clear Highball

black nikka highball
Black Nikka Clear Highball

Lastly, I would like to recommend Black Nikka Clear Highball. This is a highball product made with Black Nikka whisky which is a stronger whisky compared to Torys whisky. Another thing to notice is that it is mixed with Wilkinson club soda which adds a sharp taste, giving this product that refreshing sensation many look for in a highball.

▶︎Click here for more details about this highball right now!

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and made you interested in maybe ordering this when you come visit Japan (that, of course, if you are over the allowed drinking age).

If you are interested in other Japanese beverages, be sure to check these other articles.

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Written by

Born and raised in Costa Rica, I started living in Tokyo from college. I love traveling within Japan & around the world. Since I wasn’t born in Japan, I know the cultural impact that you can get when visiting Japan for the first time and what you might be worried about before your trip. And I’ve lived long enough to somewhat understand the nuances of the Japanese culture that make this country such an attractive place to visit. Hopefully I can provide to you both the information you’re looking for and the information you didn’t know you needed to know.