The name may refer to the practice of serving drinks in tall glasses, or the dining cars of trains powered by steam locomotives; when the engine would get up to speed and the ball that showed boiler pressure was at its high level, known as "highballing". Or the name may have come from the railroad signal meaning "clear track ahead".
There are many rivals for the fame of mixing the first highball, including the Adams House in Boston. New York barman Patrick Duffy claimed the highball was brought to the U.S. in 1894 from England by actor E. J. Ratcliffe.
Highballs are popular in Japan, often made with Japanese whisky as a haibōru (ハイボール?), or mixed with shōchū as a chūhai (チューハイ?). Various mixers can be specified by suffixing with -hai (〜ハイ?), as in oolong highball (ウーロンハイ ūron-hai?). These are consumed similarly to beer, often with food or at parties.
Partial list of highballs
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2009)|
- Bourbon Highball
- Caribou Lou
- Fernet and Cola
- traditionally gin, now often vodka, and grapefruit juice. With a salted rim, it is instead called a salty dog.
- Brown Bronco
- Kaku Highball Japan
- Libbi's Label
- orange juice and rum
- Long drink (Finland)
- vodka, ginger beer, and lime, served in a copper mug
- Pisco, cola, and ice
- orange juice and vodka
- Texas Highball (or Southern Hospitalitea)
- Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, sweetened tea, ice, and lemon.
- Vodka Soda
- Anthony J. Bianculli. Trains and Technology. University of Delaware Press. p. 134.
- "The 'Scotch Highball'". New York Times. March 25, 1904. p. 8.
- "Topics of the Times". New York Times. October 22, 1927. p. 16.
- Patrick J. Duffy (October 25, 1927). "The First Scotch Highball". New York Times.
- "Caribou Lou Recipe".