Highballs for All

I love elaborate cocktails. But if you tracked my at-home cocktail consumption, you’d find that it’s mostly highballs—like a Gin and Tonic or Moscow Mule. Getting out the shaker often signals WORK to me, since I have to develop and test recipes a lot and document the results. When I’m relaxing, I like to put some ice in a tall glass and then just pour some stuff in and grab a straw. No exact measurements or complicated techniques. But that doesn’t mean these are boring drinks, oh no it does not.

I like to make my own variation on a Gin and Tonic. So, of course, it has gin and tonic. Then I squeeze in some fresh grapefruit and top it off with a few dashes of homemade rhubarb bitters. Fan-cy! Sometimes I’ll mix tequila and soda with some tangerine and a splash of agave syrup. Or rum, seltzer, homemade grenadine, and some lime. What are your favorite ad hoc highballs? Here are a few to try out if you’re looking for ideas.

Dark ‘n’ Stormy ~ You can make your own ginger beer or opt for store-bought, but this simple cocktail of rum, ginger beer, and lime tastes more complicated than it actually is.

Paloma ~ Tequila, grapefruit soda, and a little lime makes this drink taste like a lighter, sparkling margarita. Extras like a pinch of salt and some bitters add complexity.

Cucumber-Rosemary Gin and Tonic ~ Cucumber and gin go together really well, and amping up the botanicals in the gin with a little rosemary is another simple yet elegant twist on the classic.

Crimean Cocktail ~ White wine, Cointreau, lemon, and soda. I’m refreshed just thinking about it.

Tom Collins ~ Gin, lemon, and a little simple syrup. That’s all you need for a good time. I like to use the sweeter Meyer lemon.