“A highball is, next to the martini, the ultimate cocktail to highlight the finer and more subtle nuances of a spirit,” said Erik Andersson, Hendrick’s Gin East Coast ambassador.
He suggested using sparkling water to mellow the intensity of the tonic in a gin and tonic. For a sonic, Andersson mixes together 2 ounces each of gin, sparkling water and premium tonic in a highball glass, with ice. He garnishes it with a lemon twist and three cucumber slices.
WHERE TO TRY HIGHBALLS IN METRO ATLANTA
8Arm. Whisky highballs are beloved and often served on draft in Japan. 8Arm’s new sushi lounge has a menu of rotating cocktails to complement the magic going on behind the counter with chefs Hiro Endo and Allen Suh. You can bet on the Octo Ball being a permanent fixture on the menu; the unaged, lightly malted Suntory Toki whisky and kombu soda have a freshness and vibrancy that match the food, and the vibe.
710 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta. 470-875-5856, 8armatl.com.
Little Trouble. Japanese highballs have been served here since Little Trouble opened five years ago.
“We’re proud to own one of Suntory’s import-only highball machines, which produces soda so bubbly that it’s shattered bottles,” owner Caleb Wheelus said.
The menu usually includes two to four different highballs, ranging from the salaryman classic whiskey highball to the new All the Secrets, with vodka, elderflower, lavender, lemon and butterfly tea.
1170 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta. 404-500-4737, little-trouble.com.
Rumi’s Kitchen. To go with a Persian menu of richly flavored kabobs grilled over open flames, Rumi’s Kitchen serves a bright and zingy whiskey highball. For its Persian Sunset, fresh ginger is first muddled, then a hefty scoop of apricot jam and lime juice are added. It’s shaken with 10-year-old Eagle Rare bourbon, and topped with ginger beer.
Multiple locations. rumiskitchen.com.
Miller Union. This Westside spot brings together citrus and tequila in its super refreshing Low and Behold. It’s a perfect accompaniment to sultry nights on the patio. Served in a lanky, vividly hued glass, it includes the zippy citrus of grapefruit and orange as well as the vegetal flavors of tequila and botanical bitters.
999 Brady St. NW, Atlanta. 678-733-8550, millerunion.com.
Willow Bar at Kimpton Sylvan Hotel. Featuring a plant-based menu celebrating all the good things growing in the Southeast, Willow Bar also is a delightful spot to hoist a highball. Its Aperol spritz — both bitter and sweet — uses strawberry-infused Aperol, sparkling wine bubbles and soda. The garden bar, surrounded by lush landscaping and lit by the glow of lanterns, is nestled behind the hotel, with flagstone underfoot.
374 E. Paces Ferry Road NE, Atlanta. 877-984-6548, thesylvanhotel.com.