If we had to recommend one drink to an average Singaporean, it might be the highball.
The logic is somewhat simplistic, but we’re doing a fair bit of guesswork here. It follows: Singaporeans love whisky. They also love beating the heat with soda. When you put them together, you get the highball.
Singaporeans might agree. The Highball has been slowly creeping up in popularity over the last few years.
The origins of the Highball are lost to time, and it seems unlikely that anyone will step forward to claim that they were the first to add soda to their whisky. What we do know is that it’s popular in both Scotland and Japan.
In the former it’s called the scotch and soda and is usually simple and straightforward; literally scotch, soda and ice.
In the latter case, the Japanese do it much as how you would expect the Japanese to do it. Serving mizuwari is a much fussier, far more involved process than simply adding soda to whisky. Just like Japanese bartending, each variable is carefully calculated, tinkered with, and finally immutably codified in the bartending dojo’s secret manual.
The type and proportions of the ingredients, the size and shape of the ice, the order in which they are added, the number and direction of the stirs, and even if it should be garnished.
These are the details that are lovingly obsessed over in each and every glass of a Japanese Highball. No two bars serve the same highball, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a bad drink in any serious establishment.
So, what happens you combine a great drink with a panoramic view of the city at sunset?
1-Altitude, in conjunction with Jim Beam, will now serve Highballs for their revamped Wicked Wednesdays. Having started out with just martinis for their ladies’ night, it’s a welcome expansion to the menu.
Highballs are usually served dry, with nothing in the glass except whisky, soda, ice and a citrus garnish. The idea, of course, is to serve a drink that is both refreshing and somewhat lighter on the ABV.
In Japan, the low alcohol whisky highball often takes the place of beer at izakayas and restaurants and served alongside food. The idea is to complement, without overpowering the food. At bars, it is a long, refreshing drink for those seeking to unwind. With a similar malty flavour and clean finish, one can see how whisky is an inspired substitute for a good brew.
For this reason, however, highballs are not usually made with Bourbon. Often, they are paired with the more delicate Japanese or Scotch whisky. Bourbon, being made primarily of corn and always matured in American Oak casks, tends to have sweeter, more robust flavours. This is especially true of Jim Beam, which has flavours of vanilla, coconut, caramel, toasty oak and light cinnamon spice.
Jim Beam style
The Jim Beam based highballs at 1-Altitude are therefore decidedly not dry. In addition to the use of bourbon, they also come in four flavours – Passionfruit, Grapefruit, Cinnamon and Yuzu. Purists might be shocked, and we did feel that some of the flavoured highballs taste suspiciously syrupy.
In spite of that however, the open minded among us found that some of the flavours harmonised well with the bourbon. We enjoyed the Yuzu, which adds a refreshing citrus component to the drink without overpowering the whiskey. Our favourite, however, was the Cinnamon Citrus, which gave the drink a bold spiciness and fragrance. We were not huge fans of the Passionfruit and Grapefruit, which we found a smidgen too sweet.
- 10ml Lemon Juice
- 30ml Jim Beam
- 120ml Soda
- 10ml Sugar Syrup (flavour of your choice)
- Lemon Wedge for garnish
- Add the lemon juice to a beer mug or highball glass
- Fill the glass with ice, all the way to the top
- Pour in the Jim Beam
- Top up with soda
- Pour in the sugar syrup
- Stir once and gently lift the stirrer from the glass
- Garnish with lemon wedge
- Be wary of over-stirring. Minimal stirring is best to preserve the bubbles
- You can use flavoured sugar syrups or omit it entirely if your prefer
- If you do like syrups, try citrus based ones for best effect
In all, the Jim Beam highballs are enjoyable drinks that go down even easier than a regular highball. These are not your avant-garde, cutting edge cocktails, nor are they trying to be.
What they are is perfect for sipping on the rooftop of one of the tallest buildings in Singapore, enjoying the sunset over the city. At 10 bucks per drink for the ladies, it’s hard to complain.
1-Altitude Wicked Wednesdays happen each Wednesday from 6pm onward. Prices: 6pm-9pm: S$30 (inclusive of 1 Housepour), 9pm onwards: S$35 (inclusive of 1 Premium Pour). Free entry for ladies. Promotions: S$ 10 nett Jim Beam Citrus Highball or Martinis (Ladies only