Chances are at some point during your growing years, your parents enjoyed a highball. And even though you were likely not a beer lover at 10 years of age, nor could you tolerate Scotch and with wine definitely out of the question, you probably liked highballs.

At the very least you liked the sweet maraschino cherry that adorned the drink. In an attempt to emulate mom and dad, you sometimes in a restaurant had a Shirley Temple, the non-alcohol version of a highball with the cherry.

When rebellion took hold during your teen years, you abandoned thoughts of having a Highball and when you came of age, highballs were not in vogue. The classic version was not “cool.” You moved on to Cosmos, beers and rums.

Well, lookee here! Highballs are back in style and no one will make fun of you for drinking like your parents. Okay, maybe no one except that mean girl who fashions herself a wine expert insisting all the while that there really are strawberries in pinot noir. (There aren’t. She is just plain wrong.)  

Highballs are easy to make and often even easier to enjoy. The drink is defined as a base spirit, often whiskey but it can be rum or vodka, along with a larger amount of a non-alcoholic mixer, like tonic, 7-Up®, or soda, in a tall glass with plenty of ice.  Possibly one of the earliest forms of a named highball was the Scotch and soda.

Other well-known highballs are gin and tonic, seven and seven, and the Cuba libre. You will note that highballs generally build on their sweetness level, with all of them making good use of the sugars involved in both the alcohol and the mixer. That quality adds to their hot-weather value since our body’s loss of minerals and sugars when we perspire requires that we replace what leaves us. Those are the virtues, in addition to the cold-value, which attract us to this group of adult beverages.

 

Second Serve

As created by Dan Greenbaum – Attaboy, New York City

The U.S. Open Tennis Tournament at Flushing Meadow, New York does not happen until late August but why wait? Tennis requires preparation and practice. Won’t hurt to get started early.

 

  • 1 ounce Amaro Montenegro
  • 1 ounce fino sherry, preferably Valdespino Inocente
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup (1:1, sugar:water)
  • soda water (to top)

Garnish: half orange wheel 

  1. Add all ingredients, except soda water, to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake and strain into an ice filled Collins glass.
  3. Top with soda and garnish with a half orange wheel.

Phil Collins

Jackson Cannon at the Hawthorne in Boston really hit on something with this drink. Carrying through on the smart word-play, every year on the Genesis drummer’s birthday there is one kick-ass party at the bar. Seems like we should have thought of that also.

 

  • 1 1/2 ounces cucumber vodka, preferably Square One
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup (1:1, sugar:water)
  • 1/2 ounce yellow Chartreuse
  • dash cranberry bitters
  • soda, to top

 

  1. Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice and shake.
  2. Strain into Collins (keeping the theme alive) glass and top with soda.

Kentucky Buck

Erick Castro, Polite Provisions, San Diego

I was a bit leery of a bar dude in San Diego at a place named Polite Provisions who creates an action-sounding cocktail like this one. But it is a very good drink. Besides, has Erick Castro ever steered you wrong?

 

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce ginger syrup (see Editor's Note)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 strawberry
  • soda water

Garnish: lemon wheel

  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle strawberry with ginger syrup.
  2. Add lemon juice, bourbon, bitters and ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Double-strain into a Collins glass over ice and top with club soda.
  4. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

NOTE

Castro uses three-parts sugar to four-parts ginger juice for his ginger syrup. If you can't find fresh ginger juice, try muddling a two-inch chunk of ginger (chopped into small pieces) with the simple syrup before muddling the strawberry. Adjust amount of ginger up or down depending on desired heat.


Scarlet Pimpernel

As created by Gillian White at Sylvain on Chartres Street in the French Quarter.

White was likely inspired by her work surroundings to create a drink then name it for the central character of a novel set in the late 1700s, during the French Revolution. Baroness Emma Orczy penned the story, which was a popular book published in 1905, soon to become a swashbuckling classic movie produced in 1934 and again in 1982.

 

  • 1 ounce gin, preferably Beefeater
  • 3/4 ounce grapefruit liqueur, preferably Giffard Pamplemousse
  • 3/4 ounce génépy, preferably Dolin Génépy des Alpes
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 12 drops celery shrub, preferably Bittermens Orchard Street Celery Shrub
  • 4 mint leaves
  • soda water, to top
  • Garnish: mint sprig

 

  1. Combine all ingredients save for soda water over ice in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake and double strain into a Collins glass over ice.
  3. Top with soda water and garnish with mint.

Special thanks to Punch online magazine.

 


Correction: Last week’s Happy Hour column referred to Maryhill Winery in Oregon on the Columbia River. Maryhill is actually on the Washington side of the Columbia River and most of their grapes come from that side of the boundary.

Also, the area of France noted in the article, same paragraph as the Maryhill gaffe, should have been spelled Provence.

The fact-checker has been dealt with in the harshest terms. I docked me a week’s rations of steak. Okay, so it’s Lent and that was off the table anyway. It’s the thought that counts, right? 

 

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Read Happy Hour here on www.myneworleans.com every Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored, at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine. Be sure to watch "Appetite for Life," hosted by Tim every Thursday evening at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m., on WLAE-TV, Channel 32 in New Orleans. Previously broadcast episodes are available for viewing at http://www.wlae.com/appetite-for-life/