If you don’t frequent bars or are not that familiar with some of the drinks (like me), then you probably wouldn’t know much about the highball (or what it is exactly).
So I’m sorry, Sam – I’m going to have to ask you a few basic questions. Consider this a 101. (To anyone who reads this who’s on the same boat: You’re welcome.) 😉
Sam Wong is the group chief bartender of the recently opened Chi Kinjo, a “modern sushi bar and highball den” in Singapore. The interior looks sleek and the menu delectable (they have starters, maki, aburi nigiri, and hot big and small plates), so it wouldn’t do your lovely meal justice if you don’t match it with the right highball.
Let’s aim… high
“I’m actually pretty sure everyone has tasted a highball, because a G&T, mojito, and even a vodka soda is a highball,” he says. (Thanks, Sam.)
“But if it’s really your first time to experience a highball, then I’d suggest the following:
#1 Go for a spirit or liqueur that you’re familiar with
It’s always more comforting on the tongue when you taste something familiar.
#2 Check the menu for what this spirit or liqueur is normally paired with
Ask the bartender if it doesn’t say. The bartender should be well equipped with the knowledge and ready to help!
#3 Choose a condiment or garnish that serves the purpose of what you’re looking for
For example, rosemary for aromatics, citrus for a tangy taste, or spices that’d complement the drink.
#4 If all else fails…
Look around the bar and see what everyone’s drinking. They’re all drinking the same thing for a reason! That’s because it tastes good.” 😀
There's one more tip
“To fully enjoy a highball, you should immediately take a first sip once it’s served,” Sam emphasises.
“The drink should not last with you for no more than four to five minutes, because the ice in it would dilute the drink really fast, and you’ll basically be drinking water after.”
But if you’re still unsure…
You can go with Sam’s top choices, for starters.
“Personally, I love a whisky highball. It’s my go-to drink whenever I’m at a bar. It’s a straightforward drink consisting of whisky, soda and a lemon peel, all in one glass,” he states.
“It’s also a tipple that you can drink the entire night because it’s lower on ABV!”
And since we’re talking more about Chi Kinjo, Sam points us to one particular highball we should try.
“I really love the Blackcurrant Oolong. It may sound really sweet, but the oolong tea cuts through it,” he observes.
“You get a nice Cassis-forward taste, followed by the aromatic floral notes of the oolong which last for a really long time.”
I guess it’s safe to place that order now. 😊