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10 Easy, Fizzy Highballs You Can Make in Minutes

Low in alcohol and super refreshing, it's high time to make a batch of highballs.

<p>Matt Taylor-Gross / Food styling by Lucy Simon</p>

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food styling by Lucy Simon

Highballs are all about simplicity. Typically comprised of an alcoholic base spirit and elongated by the addition of a nonalcoholic mixer like club soda or ginger beer, these relatively low-ABV drinks are refreshing, full of flavor, and incredibly simple to make in minutes.

Many of the most popular highball recipes play off of classic spirit-forward cocktails. The Americano, for example, is a more sessionable swap suited to Negroni loyalists, while the Tom Collins is similar to a Gin Sling. If you're a fan of the style but seeking to break out of your vodka soda rut, grab a set of highball glasses and your favorite bottle of tequila, gin, or whiskey, and check out the options below — because every season is highball season.

Americano

<p>Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter</p>

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter

The unsung hero of aperitivo hour, the Americano is the low-ABV (alcohol by volume) cousin of the iconic Negroni. The cocktail dates to Italy in the late 1800s, where a common story is that it was created for American tourists seeking an easier-drinking highball alternative to the Milano-Torino cocktail (a two-ingredient combination of Campari and Punt e Mes).

The Americano, made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water, is slightly bitter with warming sweetness and refreshing effervescence, letting you have the best elements of a Negroni in a format that you can sip all afternoon long.

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Tom Collins

Guillermo Riveros / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter
Guillermo Riveros / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter

Served in a vessel that takes its name from the drink, the Tom Collins is a towering, icy cocktail served in a thin-walled Collins glass. Made with gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a bit of sugar, and carbonated water, the Tom Collins is essentially a classic Gin Sour lengthened with soda water to create a thirst-quenching drink that balances sweet and sour flavors with an enticing, fizzy finish.

Since its debut in the late 1800s, the Tom Collins has spawned a whole category of drinks and acted as an inspiration for everything from the French 75 to the Sloe Gin Fizz, but sometimes nothing beats the original.

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Matcha Whiskey Highball

<p>Chelsea Kyle / Food Styling by Drew Aichele</p>

Chelsea Kyle / Food Styling by Drew Aichele

A little matcha goes a long way in this simple, festive highball recipe. Made from ground tea leaves, matcha provides an earthy, slightly grassy flavor to your cocktail. When combined with honey in the Matcha Whiskey Highball, the ingredient creates structure and backbone with ample fresh flavors that work to accentuate cocktail's Japanese whisky base.

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Tequila Sunrise

<p>Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon</p>

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon

Created in the early 1970s by Bobby Lozoff and Billy Rice for the Trident bar in Sausalito, California, few cocktails embody their name as perfectly as the Tequila Sunrise. A combination of blanco tequila, orange juice, and grenadine create this classic summertime drink's iconic hue, making for an easy-drinking highball that's stood the test of time.

Tequila Sunrise

Scotch and Soda

<p>Matt Taylor-Gross / Food styling by Lucy Simon</p>

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food styling by Lucy Simon

One of the most iconic highballs ever created, not only does this one-two combination elongate a spirit like Scotch into a taller drink, club soda tamps down on the spirit's heat to allow more nuanced flavors come through, as well as intensifying its aromas through its effervescence. It's a classic for a reason.

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Dirty Shirley

Photo by Huge Galdones / Food Styling by Christina Zerkis
Photo by Huge Galdones / Food Styling by Christina Zerkis

Remember drinking Shirley Temples when you were a kid? The cocktail for children has made a comeback, albeit one suitable for adults only. A shot of vodka added to the mixture of ginger ale and grenadine gives it a slight edge, but the maraschino cherry on top keeps things whimsical. Feel free to cut the ginger ale with sparkling water to tamp down on the drink's sweetness, or to swap in lemon-lime soda for the ginger ale if you prefer.

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Ranch Rosé

Photo by Sarah Crowder / Food Styling by Chandra Ram
Photo by Sarah Crowder / Food Styling by Chandra Ram

Ranch Water, a refreshing concoction of tequila, fresh lime juice, and sparkling water, is a tequila highball said to have been created by cattle ranchers in West Texas in the early 1960s. This variation, created by Morgan Weber, beverage director and co-owner of Agricole Hospitality, adds a light, citrusy twist with the inclusion of Lillet Rosé and blood orange syrup. The result is a highly sessionable highball that's at its best when the weather gets warm.

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Dark 'n Stormy

Guillermo Riveros / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter
Guillermo Riveros / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter

One of the most famous rum highballs, the Dark 'n Stormy combines dark rum, ginger beer, and lime, resembling a looming storm cloud in cocktail form. Though the drink is commonly made with a variety of rums, the cocktail itself is currently a trademark of Bermuda-based Goslings Black Seal, whose rum is considered an essential component for an authentic Dark 'n Stormy.

Spicy, sweet, and effervescent, it's a fantastic option for those seeking a ginger-forward drink that's as easy to make as it is to drink.

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Paloma

Photo by Rachel Vanni / Food Styling by Judy Haubert
Photo by Rachel Vanni / Food Styling by Judy Haubert

The iconic Paloma is a drink that consists of tequila, grapefruit soda and lime, making it one of Mexico's most popular highballs. This variation recreates the classic profile using fresh ingredients, in which reposado tequila and grapefruit juice are topped with splashes of lemon-lime and club soda, yielding a not-too-sweet version that is sure to refresh any drinker.

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Gin & Tonic

Guillermo Riveros / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter
Guillermo Riveros / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter

This two-ingredient highball is one of the most well-known drinks ever created, favored throughout history by fans across the globe. Originating in the mid-1800s as a reputed way to consume anti-malarial tonic water, it's remained one of the world's most popular drinks for more than 170 years.

Though the template is as simple as they come, a wealth of gin styles and craft tonic water options available today allow for endless personalization. Whether using a classic juniper-forward London Dry or any of the array of New Western or contemporary gins, consider this cocktail to be a blank canvas to help you discover a new favorite pour.

Gin & Tonic

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