Vintage Cellars

Sometimes all you need is a simple Scotch Highball

Simple is an understatement when it comes to the Scotch Highball cocktail, which partners Scotch whisky with soda water and zesty homemade lemon ice cubes.


Life can be complicated enough, so when it comes to the bar cart, sometimes the best thing to do is to keep things simple. With simplicity in spades, it’s no surprise that the highball family has been popular since way back when. This easy combo of spirit and soda water topped with the garnish of your choice (we’ve chosen lemon ice cubes) makes the most of whatever you have on hand.


“Scotch highballs are experiencing a huge resurgence at present, and for good reason,” says Diageo national whisky ambassador Katie Nagar. “It’s a simple and tasty drink that acts as an incredible vessel to showcase the quality of whisky. Furthermore, the simplicity of the serve means highballs can be made easily and quickly, either in the comfort of your own home or by an expert behind the bar.” 


Also known as Scotch and soda, this Scotch Highball cocktail is a more subtle alternative to when you don’t feel like sipping your whisky neat. Read on to learn how to make the easiest cocktail ever, then pop your feet up and enjoy.

How to make a Scotch highball

Ingredients (serves 2)


120ml Loch Lomond 12YO Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Chilled soda water, to serve


Lemon ice

250ml lemon juice

3 lemon slices, cut into small wedges




1. To make the lemon ice, divide the lemon juice among the holes of an ice cube tray, filling the holes halfway full. Add 2 lemon wedges to each hole. Freeze until firm.

2. Fill 2 tall serving glasses with lemon ice cubes. Add 60ml whisky to each glass, then top with soda. Stir to combine and serve.

Dive into the history of highball cocktails

Highball cocktails are a part of an impressively large family of drinks. In fact, you’ll probably be surprised to hear that the likes of gin and tonic, rum and cola, and even the vodka soda are officially highballs. That’s because the drink refers to a tipple that pairs one part spirit with two parts soda water (plain or flavoured), served in a tall glass. As for where the Whisky Highball (or Scotch and soda) comes from, like with many cocktails, it’s not completely clear. But it’s largely agreed that it was born in the UK, where bartenders called whisky-based drinks ‘balls’. It then rose to prominence once whisky became popular and replaced the drink’s original partnership of sherry and soda

Every Scotch highball cocktail needs a decent Scotch whisky as its base

If you’re not yet acquainted with Loch Lomond Whisky, let’s face it – you should be. This historic whisky house is considered to be the producer of some of Scotland’s finest (and rarest) single malts. Among its range is the Loch Lomond 12YO Single Malt Scotch Whisky 700mL. It’s not just the public who are fans, but this spirit is multi-award-winning, taking Double Gold at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and named World’s Best Single Malt Distillery 2017 Berlin Spirit Awards. It’s the whisky’s subtle notes of peach, pear, and vanilla that make it so memorable. These fruit characters add a whole new layer to the Scotch Highball cocktail, and pair well with the smoky characteristic common in Loch Lomond drinks.

If you’re a fan of the Scotch highball, give these other whisky cocktails a whirl

Whisky and tonic is another alternative to drinking the spirit straight up – we have the recipe for that particular cocktail, plus more information on the world of whisky drinking. Or lean into true indulgence this winter with a vanilla hot toddy.


Products featured are available from 28/06/23 to 1/08/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.