Nothing is better than a refreshing Japanese Highball in the summer heat.
Ball is slang for glass. High glasses are highballs. To many, whisky was considered too strong to enjoy with your food, so people in Japan started adding soda to make it more mellow and pleasant to drink. The Highball was born.
In the 1950s Suntory opened 1500 torys bars, these were intimate, smoked-filled joints serving whisky and especially Highballs. The bars had a well known mascot, Uncle Torys, impersonating a hard-working character in need of a drink after a hard day's work.
The hype died a few years later as beer, vodka and gin grew in popularity across Japan. Suntory made a massive push in the 1990s to put Highballs back on the map by starting to sell the drinks canned. Still a common sight if you enter the usual corner 7-eleven in Japan.
The people were back on Highballs.
Please enjoy this simple yet delicious mixture at your local bar, Japanese Izakaya or learn how to perfect it at home.
Illustrator: Sara Gezelius