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      HOW DO YOU MAKE A  .  .  .  HIGH BALL black logo
BY ED PETERSEN

THE HIGH BALL


Highball as seen in American Public House ReviewMy parents entertained frequently as I was growing up in the 60's. On many a Saturday night, I was put to bed early while my father and mother hosted festive soirées for the gang from The Presentation BVM Parish Society.  These were not the composed and level-headed "cake and coffee" socials of friends well met through their church congregation.  No, these were Roman Catholics who appreciated gospel stories where the operative metaphor was the miraculous transformation of water into wine. These Faithful accepted as Divine Revelation that Jesus himself enjoyed a party, savored the spirit of the grape and even knew, but did not always hold to the etiquette of when during a celebration to serve the finest vintage. In other words, The Presentation BVM Parish Society partied at my parents' humble home in Northeast Philadelphia with a generous flow of love in their hearts and the holy distillation of God's own harvest in their cocktail glasses. For a while, as any kid would I fussed about my banishment from the living room and our lone TV. But, I soon discovered that from my stealthy, spy perch at the top of the steps I could secretly bask in the adult exultation downstairs. I also learned that the most popular drink by far which was raised in the countless toasts proposed was the Highball .  .  .  at least it was at my parents' Kennedy-era galas.

 ESQUIRE MAGAZINE'S 1949 HANDBOOK FOR HOSTS  claimed that the Highball was invented back in 1890 or so by Patrick Gavin Duffy, the bartender at Manhattan's Ashland House on Fourth Avenue at Twenty-fourth Street. At that time, the word, ball was slang for a "drink of whiskey" and high meant "served in a tall glass." This is all speculation of course, but it could account for how the simple cocktail got its name. The Highball was created during a period of American beverage history when bar patrons were looking for a way to enjoy the favors of whiskey without belting it down in one "knuckle dusting slug." They wanted to sip a tall, harder drink while they socialized in much the same way they used beer and wine.

The Highball is simple, but is not without its requisites.


You will need a tall, narrow glass of at least a 12 ounce capacity. The narrow glass better preserves the bubbles.

Put some full sized ice cubes into the glass, a few are plenty.  Do not fill the glass with ice as one does with some cocktails.


Highball sheet music as seen in American Public House ReviewNext, pour in 2 ounces of American Rye Whiskey - My parents used IMPERIAL - cheap, but not bad for the purpose.  They went through quite a supply on a Saturday night. I have found that Canadian Whiskey also makes an excellent, if slightly sweeter, Highball.

Finally 4 to 6 ounces of Canada Dry Ginger Ale are added according to your taste. You can, of course, use other brands of ginger ale, but, in my opinion, with lesser results.


The bubbles take care of the mixing. The Highball should not be shaken, stirred, nor even served with a swizzle stick because any kind of manual agitation "squelches" the bubbles.
Neither should the glass be garnished with fruit or herbs of any sort.

Cheers!



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