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Why a Highball Cocktail Is More Than the Sum of Its Parts

Don't dismiss it as a whisky and soda.
Photographer: Brent Hofacker / Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo

Let’s get one thing out of the way: the most well-known highball is a whisky and soda. But it’s not just a whisky and soda. 

The classic has evolved into a cocktail that's way more than the sum of its parts. For that, thank the dedicated bartenders in Japan. They might not have invented the highball—it's not clear who did and where it happened, though most signs point to the U.S. in the late 1800s—but like so many consumer products, they perfected it, and are now re-introducing it to the rest of the world. And we’re loving every sip of the drink that most people surmise is named for the tall glass it's served in.