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Cool Off With the 18 Best Summer Highballs

When the summer rolls around, it inevitably brings some scorching sunshine with it. On those dog days, a tall glass of something refreshing can be necessary — especially at happy hour. Enter: the Highball. Typically consisting of a spirit, soda, and ice, Highballs don’t require much effort, which is ideal when there’s already sweat rolling down your neck.

That said, this straightforward format also presents an opportunity for some seasonal experimentation. The spirit-and-soda base provides a blank canvas for mixologists and at-home bartenders to easily create more complex libations. When it comes to the Highball, the world is your oyster.

No matter your ingredients or spirit of choice, there’s a Highball out there for you to cool down with. Keep reading to discover the 18 best Highballs to help beat the heat.

The Best Tequila Highballs for Summer

The Paloma

Our friends in Mexico know a little something about keeping cool, and one the best ways to do so is with a Paloma. A traditional combination of tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda (though whether that soda should be Squirt or Fresca is up for debate), the Paloma is tart, invigorating, and essentially swelter-proof.

The Ranch Water

Rumored to have been created by ranchers trying to beat the oppressive Texas sun, the Ranch Water is probably one of the world’s easiest cocktails. Rather than building it over ice, ditch the glassware altogether and mix it right in your bottle of Topo Chico. Simply crack the bottle open, take a quick chug, and replace the missing liquid with tequila and a squirt of lime juice. The vivacious bubbles of the Mexican mineral water complement the vegetal, grassy notes of the beloved agave spirit.

El Diablo

El Diablo is more effort-heavy than other Highballs on this list, but it’s still worth a spot on your radar. Its tequila base is bolstered by crème de cassis, which brings a bittersweet, berry tilt to the herbaceous spirit. Brightened by a hit of lime juice and ginger beer, this drink can be likened to a fruity Mexican Mule.

The Tequila Sunrise

If sweeter cocktails are your jam, open your eyes to the Tequila Sunrise. While it’s often lumped in with the less-than-sophisticated creations of the ‘70s, the Tequila Sunrise is as delicious as it looks; its ombre fade is created with just tequila, orange juice, and grenadine. Make sure to pour the grenadine in slowly to create that visually arresting, layered appearance.

The Best Vodka Highballs for Summer

The Sea Breeze

With a name like the Sea Breeze, it’s hard to imagine a better time to enjoy this classic vodka sipper. Popularized at 1970s pool parties, this crushable cocktail stars vodka, cranberry juice, and grapefruit juice. Plus, with its simple build, it’s perfect for batching before your next picnic or barbeque.

The Salty Dog

While Highballs are traditionally elongated with something sparkling, the Salty Dog swaps out the bubbles in favor of grapefruit juice. Given vodka’s relatively neutral flavor profile, the cocktail takes on all the citrus flavor, so fresh-squeezed juice is a must here.You can also opt for gin at the base for an extra dose of herbaceousness. Be sure to rim your glass with salt so the cocktail lives up to its name.

The Moscow Mule

As one of the 10 most popular cocktails in the world, the Moscow Mule is a classic for a reason. The zippy combination of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice is super sessionable, and the standard copper cup ensures your drink stays cold no matter how high temperatures may soar.

The Best Gin Highballs for Summer

The Gin & Tonic

It doesn’t get much more classic than the Gin & Tonic. The simple ice, gin, and tonic build remains a mainstay in U.K. dive bars, where many bartenders garnish theirs with a slice of lemon instead of the American-preferred lime.

The Tom Collins

Equal parts sweet and citrusy, the Tom Collins dates all the way back to the 1800s. Made with a 2:1:1 ratio of gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup, it’s topped with club soda. To stay true to the original recipe, use Old Tom gin, which is distilled with sugar to produce a slightly sweeter, less herbaceous spirit that complements the cocktail.

The Gin Rickey

Though the Rickey was created by Missouri native Colonel Joe Rickey in Washington, D.C., in 1883, it wouldn’t truly take off for a few decades. The basic cocktail was originally made with whiskey, but gin took its place about 10 years after the drink’s creation. The clear spirit proved to be the perfect complement to the build’s lime juice and club soda.

The Floradora

The flamingo-hued Floradora takes advantage of one of summer’s best ingredients: ripe raspberries. With gin and crème de framboise liqueur at its base, the berry-forward build gets its extra zip from lime juice and ginger ale. To lower the ABV, swap out the raspberry liqueur for raspberry simple syrup.

The Best Whiskey Highballs for Summer

The Whiskey Highball

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Made with just whiskey and club soda, the cocktail allows the spirit’s subtle nuances to shine without its signature burn. Feel free to use whichever whiskey you prefer — enjoyment is the key here.

The 7 & 7

Made with one part Seagram’s 7 blended whiskey and two parts 7Up — hence the simple moniker — the 7 & 7 has remained one of the most dependable dive-bar orders since its heyday in the ‘70s. A little lemony, a little limey, and plenty crushable, the 7 & 7 has been likened to a cruder version of the Whiskey Sour.

The Lynchburg Lemonade

While the Lynchburg Lemonade is now Jack Daniel’s signature cocktail, it didn’t start out that way. The drink was originally created by restaurateur Tony Mason when he unknowingly served the whiskey and orange liqueur cocktail to a representative from the Jack Daniel’s distillery, who went on to steal the recipe, and it was released under the brand’s name. While Mason later sued, he was only awarded a dollar, and the case was later reversed on appeal. The build also includes fresh lemon juice and a dose of lemon-lime soda.

The Best Rum Highballs for Summer

The Fog Cutter

The Fog Cutter is a labor of love, but we promise the juice is worth the squeeze. Often compared to the Long Island Iced Tea, this tropical drink features a whopping four spirits at its base: rum, brandy, gin, and sherry. Brightened up with lemon and orange juices and sweetened with orgeat and cane syrup, the Fog Cutter is crushable — and it’ll knock you out if you have one too many.

Dark ‘n Stormy

Created by British sailors seeking a cure for seasickness in the 1920s, the Dark ‘n Stormy consists of just Goslings Black Seal Rum and ginger beer. Goslings has since trademarked the cocktail, so know that if you do swap out the brand for whatever rum you’ve got on hand, you won’t technically be making a Dark ‘n Stormy.

The Planter’s Punch

The Planter’s Punch is relatively low-lift compared to others in the tiki cannon. The unofficial cocktail of Jamaica is made in the classic “one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak” punch style with lime juice, velvet falernum, dark Jamaican rum, and club soda completing the build.

The Cuba Libre

The Cuba Libre was allegedly created by a U.S. army captain serving in Havana during the Spanish-American War. Legend has it that when the war ended, the captain whipped up a rum, Coca-Cola, and lime juice concoction and toasted Cuba’s freedom. You’re likely familiar with its citrus-free form, the Rum and Coke, but the classic build can be fancied up with top-shelf rum and Turbinado syrup when the mood strikes.

The article Cool Off With the 18 Best Summer Highballs appeared first on VinePair.

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