The highball is a family of cocktails that feature a base spirit with a higher proportion of a carbonated non-alcoholic mixer such as soda, tonic water, or ginger ale. It certainly is an unexpected name for a bar opened by one of the most visible and talented female bartenders Singapore has seen.
Highball is a cosy and classy drinking hole opened by veteran female bartender Kino Soh late last year in the Kampong Bahru stretch more infamous for its karaoke bars than classy bespoke cocktail ones. As its name implies its focus is on the highball, an easy-drinking cocktail that was first made popular in the 1700s, but was most recently revived in Spanish tapas bars through the gin and tonic, but also in the izakayas of Japan thanks to the whisky soda (the whisky highball being a great low ABV alternative to beer).
Highball serves more varieties of highballs than most cocktail bars have cocktails, which is a lot. A Jim Beam Citrus Highball dispenser takes pride of place on one side of the bar; Highball offers the Jim Beam Yuzu Citrus Highball ($10), the basic whisky soda mix spiked with yuzu juice for even more citrus flavour, and easily one of the cheapest tipples one can find in this weight class. Those who prefer a more classic approach though should go for the Kaku Highball ($10), a straight-up whisky soda made with Suntory Kakubin whisky just the way Japanese salarymen would enjoy with their takoyaki.
For those who desire bigger flavours there’s the fruity Kyoho Fizz ($15), the bubblegum grape fruitiness punctuating the gin-based drink, while the Yuki No Hana ($12) is similarly Japanese inspired – an alcoholic version of Calpis that is sweet, sour and creamily lactic all at once.
There are many other highball varietals on offer, but the one cocktail that caught our imagination wasn’t one. It’s Soh’s Blender’s Gold, a whisky sour made with Johnnie Walker Blender’s Batch Bourbon Cask & Rye Finish, Fabbri gourmet sauce maple syrup, lemon, egg white and coffee powder, concocted when Soh was first appointed by Diageo as an ambassador for Johnnie Walker. The cocktail was so popular it was her tipple of choice when competing in the Asia Bar Battle at Singapore Cocktail Festival earlier this year.
If you’re looking for exceedingly spirit-forward drinks, Highball is unlikely to be your bar of choice. But if you want to relax over a number of long drinks to wind down the day, Highball’s range of, well, highballs are hard to beat.
Address 79 Kampong Bahru #01-01, Singapore 169377
Opening Hours 4pm to midnight Mondays to Fridays, 6pm to midnight Saturdays
Tel (65) 6222 0179