The Threeway: this summer, expect to be ‘up to your Highballs’ in whisky

Whisky ambassador Georgie Mann.

The weather is getting warmer. The days grow longer. The nights are hot and humid. It’s enough to drive one to drink, and to drink something long and refreshing.

Something like the Highball. It can’t be beat in terms of freshness, and this summer we reckon you’re going to be seeing whisky in your glass more often, all thanks to the Highball.

It’s certainly something that whisky ambassador Georgie Mann thinks we’ll be seeing as the demand for Spritz-style drinks only grows. For the Threeway this month, we talk to Mann about what makes a great Highball, how to approach the mixing of whisky, and why she thinks we’ll be seeing plenty of whisky go over the bar this summer.

What makes a good Highball great? 
Simple creativity. Highballs are meant to be a simple and refreshing drink so it’s pretty predictable but: start with quality ingredients. The highball has a strong association with the Japanese izakaya style of eating where Highballs are often drank during hours of dining and here’s a fun fact: A survey of bartenders in Japan saw Dewar’s White Label and Dewar’s 12 voted as the best Scotch whisky for Highballs!

What advice do you have for bartenders wanting to play with whisky in their mixing?
Scotch whisky in particular appears in way less classic cocktails and I think this is a reason that bartenders are more hesitant to use it as a base. If we look at how marketing depicts whisky from decades ago, it’s focused on the leather arm chair, a cigar, a block of ice, etc. but this is changing. The demographic of whisky consumers is changing as well, becoming younger with a greater balance of genders and with this, a changing demand for mixed drinks. Whisky has such a broad scope of flavour on offer across the countless brands and bottlings which should be used as inspiration.

Whisky ambassador Georgie Mann.

What was the idea behind the flavour pairings in each of the drinks?
The Dewar’s Original Highball is an easy combination of blended scotch whisky, soda and a slice of lemon. Tommy Dewar pioneered the highball with whisky back in the 1890’s after the phylloxera outbreak wiped out cognac supplies. The two single malt Highballs are twists, changing the mixer or adding an ingredient that complements the base spirit.

A Craigellachie Speyside Spritz might seem a little left of field mixing a delicate, French elderflower liqueur with a big, robust, sulphurous single malt, but Craigellachie has this fruity side and it works!

Honey and lemon is by no means a new flavour combination but as Aberfeldy has an incredible honeyed richness, this classic pair plays very well.

Do you think we’ll be seeing more whisky go over the bar this summer?
I certainly hope so! The best thing about the Highball is that it is a super refreshing, tall, whisky drink full of flavour. The subtle complexity of whisky is actually increased in this refreshing style of drink. Our consumers are starting to experience what Jacob Briars describes as ‘palate fatigue’, and in turn a rise in demand for simple drinks. Whisky has for too long been seen as a spirit for the colder weather but I think it’s time we change that up.

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Highballer drams

Dewar’s 12
Double aged for extra smoothness, master blender Stephanie McLeod chooses up to 41 grain and single malt whiskies, blending them to the Dewar’s signature flavour profile and marrying up to 6 months in oak.

Aberfeldy 12
Aberfeldy is the heart of the Dewar’s blend and a great single malt in its own right. Full of bright orange citrus and rich honey notes, it’s aged in a variety of casks (both European and American oak) and offers complex honey, buttery sweetness, juicy sultanas and soft spice flavours.

Craigellachie 13
Made in the same manner and style that it was when it first came off the stills in 1891, Craigellachie is a rich, textural Speyside malt with an unabashed hit of sulphur to it — it’s a complex and challenging whisky.

For more information contact your Bacardi-Martini representative.