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Whiskey Cocktail Hour: Scotch and Grapefruit Highball

The Highball is a super-simple drink. Essentially, it requires you to have a base spirit, some ice, and a large amount of a non-alcoholic mixer. Some great examples of this are the gin and tonic, whiskey and ginger, scotch and soda, seven and seven, vodka soda, etc. I like the Highball because it’s quick to make, and it’s refreshing and light, which goes a long way in the hot summer months. In my book, having something you can throw together quickly for your guests is key.


A Highball is also a great opportunity to get creative. You don’t have to just stick with soda in your Scotch and Soda. You can mix it up and add a different kind of bubbly mixer, you could add bitters, or you could add some fruit garnish. That said, because the drink is generally not mixed at all, and certainly not shaken, you wouldn’t add sugar or syrup of any kind.


For this version I decided on a blended Scotch and grapefruit soda. I love grapefruit soda, and it makes a great pairing with many blended whiskies. I do also stir my base spirit and ice together before adding the bubbles. I like to dilute the whisky a bit and cool it down before adding the rest of the ingredients. You don’t have to stir yours, it’s just a personal preference, but one that I think makes a difference in the overall drink.


Scotch & Grapefruit Highball

  • 2-3 oz blended scotch (I really enjoy Cutty Sark Prohibition in this recipe)
  • Grapefruit soda
  • Orange bitters
  • Lemon twist

Instructions: To a Collins Glass, add plenty of ice. Pour your whisky over the ice and stir a few times to cool down and dilute the whisky a bit. Add bitters, then top with soda. Garnish with a lemon twist.


For more recipes like this, check out fern + shaker on the web, and follow along on Instagram at @fernandshaker.

Emily Ross-Johnson

Emily is a bit of a Jane of All Trades. She started her career as an opera singer in NYC, and over time gravitated to the Food & Beverage Industry. Over the span of her professional life she has performed at Carnegie Hall, founded her own Whiskey Society, represented numerous spirit brands and managed multiple successful bar programs. She loves creating and photographing beautiful drinks and sharing them with others.

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