AskDefine | Define highball

Dictionary Definition

highball n : a mixed drink made of alcoholic liquor mixed with water or a carbonated beverage and served in a tall glass

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A cocktail made from spirit plus soda water etc.
  2. An all clear or full speed ahead signal.

Derived terms


  1. To move quickly; to hightail.

Extensive Definition

A highball is the name for a family of mixed drinks that are composed of an alcoholic base spirit and a larger proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer. Originally, the most common highball was made with rye whiskey and ginger ale. The Online Etymology Dictionary suggests that the name originated around 1898 and probably derives from ball meaning a "drink of whiskey" and high because it is served in a tall glass. Other sources suggest that the highball was invented in 1895 by a New York barman named Patrick Duffy, and that the term 'highball' comes from the 19th century railroad practice of raising a ball on a pole to urge a passing train driver to speed up. Duffy used this term to describe his method of quickly mixing a drink by simply adding the ingredients to a tall glass over ice. To enable this speedy process, Duffy used one spirit, one mixer (ginger ale or soda) and either a simple garnish (such as a twist of lemon) or none at all. Another possible explaination comes from the time of drinking. A highball, as opposed to a cocktail which is drunk in the evening before dinner, is drunk in the afternoon when the sun is high (ball refering to the sun) and should be light and refreshing.
Well-known examples of highballs include Jack and Coke, Scotch and Soda, Seven and Seven, the Moscow Mule, the gin and tonic, and Sex on the Beach. A highball is typically served in large straight-sided glass, for example, a highball glass or a Collins glass, with ice. The proportions of some highballs, such as the Alabama Slammer, may be altered -- made with little or no mixer -- and served as a shooter.

List of highball cocktails

  • Alabama Slammer — Amaretto, Southern Comfort, sloe gin, and lemon juice
  • Allen Key — vodka and melted Freezie
  • Blackout Grin — Coke, Gin, and Vodka
  • Cape Codder or Cape Cod — vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice, and sugar.
  • Captain Coke — Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Coca-Cola
  • Captain Jack - Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Jack Daniels Whiskey, Root Beer (also known as a Morgan Daniels)
  • Caribou Lou — Bacardi 151, Malibu Rum, and pineapple juice. This drink originated in Kansas City, Missouri and popularized in several songs by rapper Tech N9ne.
  • Lynchburg LemonadeJack Daniel's, orange liqueur, sour mix, and lemon-lime soda, served over ice with a lemon wedge or maraschino cherry garnish
  • Madras — vodka, cranberry juice, and orange juice.
  • Malibu Stacy - Malibu Rum, and pineapple juice.
  • Melonball - 2 oz Midori, 1 oz vodka, pineapple juice (or orange juice)
  • Moscow Mule — vodka, ginger beer, and lime, served in a copper mug

Jack and Coke

Jack and Coke (also known as "JD and Coke" or "Kentucky Freedom") is a popular cocktail made with Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey and Coca-Cola. The drink is usually served in an old-fashioned glass or a Collins glass over ice. The term "Jack and Coke" has been used in combined advertising for Jack Daniel's and Coca-Cola, and several products were created as part of this marketing campaign, including bar signs and taps.
Jack Daniel's released a canned beverage called "Jack Daniel's and cola," a mixed beverage of the same type as Jack and Coke, in the US, and in several markets in the South Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand. The beverages have become a collector's item.
While "Jack and Coke" is arguably the most iconic of its type, other brands of whiskey and cola are often substituted in accordance with local popularity, availability and personal preference.

Moscow Mule

A Moscow Mule is a cocktail made with vodka, ginger beer, lime and Angostura Bitters. The name refers to the popular perception of vodka as a Russian product and the intense flavor "kick" of ginger beer. When serving a Moscow Mule in the traditional copper mug, which typically holds 12 fl. oz., reduce all ingredients by 50%.


The Moscow Mule kicked off the vodka craze in the United States during the 1950s, when gin was the preferred "white" (clear) liquor. The cocktail was invented in 1941 by John G. Martin of G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc., an East Coast spirits and food distributor, and John "Jack" Morgan, President of Cock 'n' Bull Products which produced ginger beer and proprietor of the Cock 'n' Bull Tavern, a bar on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles popular with celebrities. George Sinclair (2007) quotes from an article run in the New York Herald Tribune:
The mule was born in Manhattan but "stalled" on the West Coast for the duration. The birthplace of "Little Moscow" was in New York's Chatham Hotel. That was back in 1941 when the first carload of Jack Morgan's Cock 'n' Bull ginger beer was railing over the plains to give New Yorkers a happy surprise...
Three friends were in the Chatham bar, one John A. Morgan, known as Jack, president of Cock 'n' Bull Products and owner of the Hollywood Cock 'n' Bull Restaurant; one was John G. Martin, president of G.F. Heublein Brothers Inc. of Hartford, Conn., and the third was Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff, Heublein's vodka division. As Jack Morgan tells it, "We three were quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d'oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius". Martin and Kunett had their minds on their vodka and wondered what would happen if a two-ounce shot joined with Morgan's ginger beer and the squeeze of a lime. Ice was ordered, limes procured, mugs ushered in and the concoction put together. Cups were raised, the men counted five and down went the first taste. It was good. It lifted the spirit to adventure. Four or five later the mixture was christened the Moscow Mule...
As suggested above and evidenced by an article run in Insider Hollywood the Moscow Mule was most popular in Los Angeles: "There is a new drink that is a craze in the movie colony now. It is called 'Moscow Mule'" (Gwynn, 27 December 1942).
The Nevada State Journal reinforced the Mule's popularity in reporting: "Already the Mule is climbing up into the exclusive handful of most-popular mixed drinks" (12 October 1943).
Legend has it that the Moscow Mule was served in a copper mug as part of its marketing. John G. Martin then launched a Moscow Mule marketing campaign targeting American bars, a strategy that played a major role in shifting the liquor market from gin to vodka.


  • Mule's Kick, served over crushed ice in a copper (or other metal) mug, with no fruit.
  • Three Legged Mule, with Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Manuka Mule, served with 42 Below Manuka Honey vodka, adding a warm and spicy taste
  • Raspberry Mule

Salty Dog

A Salty Dog is a cocktail containing vodka or gin and grapefruit juice, served in a glass with a salted rim. The main difference between the Salty Dog and the Greyhound is the salted rim.

In popular culture

  • In the television series The Larry Sanders Show, the Salty Dog is the preferred drink of Artie, played by Rip Torn.
  • In the Elmore Leonard novel Swag, the Salty Dog is the preferred drink of characters Frank Ryan and Ernest Stickley, Jr.
  • In the computer game Kingdom of Loathing, the Salty Dog is a mid-grade drink made by mixing gin and grapefruit.
  • In the 1993 film Point of No Return, government assassin Claudia Doran (played by Bridget Fonda) orders a Salty Dog on her last undercover mission to assassinate Fahd Bahktiar (played by Richard Romanus), one of the richest Arabs in the world.
  • In the 2006 Japanese Drama "Kekkon Dekinai Otoko", Shinsuke Kuwano, played by Abe Hiroshi, orders a Salty Dog during episode 8 after looking after his neighbour's pet Pug Ken-chan.

Seven and Seven

A Seven and Seven (also known as a Seven Seven) is a mixed drink made with Seagram's 7 whisky and 7 Up. It is typically served in a highball glass with ice. It is commonly made with 1 shot of whisky to 6 fluid ounces of 7 Up. A lemon garnish may complete the drink.

Popular culture

Sloe Comfortable Screw

A Sloe Comfortable Screw (sometimes referred to as a Slow Comfortable Screw) is a mixed drink made with Sloe Gin, Southern Comfort, Vodka and Orange Juice. It is typically served in a highball glass with ice. It is commonly made with equal parts of Sloe Gin, Southern Comfort, and Vodka, and either another part orange juice (for a shot) or enough orange juice to fill the glass (for a lighter cocktail). Ice is commonly added to the lighter version.


The name Sloe Comfortable Screw is from the ingredients:
  • Sloe - Sloe Gin (pronounced like "slow")
  • Comfortable - Southern Comfort
  • Screw - Vodka and orange juice, which is a Screwdriver


The suggestive nature of the pun in the drink's name has invited many variations, extending the pun. A few examples are:
  • Sloe Comfortable Screw Against the Wall - Floating a dash of Galliano on top turns the Screwdriver into a Harvey Wallbanger. Commonly served with a cherry.
  • Sloe Comfortable Screw Against the Wall, With a Kiss - Adding a dash of Amaretto on top of the Galliano, adds a little amore ("love") - or a kiss.
  • Sloe Comfortable Screw Against The Wall With Satin Pillows The Hard Way - Adding 1 part Galliano make it against the wall, 1 part Frangelico gives it satin. But 1 part whisky makes the satin into a soft pillow that hits you in the head (like it does in a Pillow Mint or a Pillow Biter) and makes it hard.


highball in German: Highball
highball in Japanese: ハイボール
highball in Finnish: Highball
highball in Chinese: 高球杯

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Mickey, Mickey Finn, aperitif, ball the jack, barrel, boom, bowl along, breeze, breeze along, brush, chaser, clip, cocktail, cut along, doch-an-dorrach, drink, eye-opener, fleet, flit, fly, fly low, foot, go fast, hotfoot, hustle, knockout drops, make knots, mixed drink, nightcap, nip, outstrip the wind, parting cup, pour it on, pousse-cafe, punch, rip, run, rush, scorch, sizzle, skim, speed, stirrup cup, storm along, sundowner, sweep, tear, tear along, thunder along, wee doch-an-dorrach, whisk, whiz, zing, zip, zoom
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