Highballs and other carbonated cocktail recipes to combat summer’s heat

Highballs and other carbonated cocktail recipes to combat summer’s heat –  The condensation atop the tall glass is ribboning into long clear rivulets, revealing slivers of green lime wheel inside. When it initially joined me on our front porch, its foamy crown was still hissing from the recently poured tonic; up close, I could watch the tiny bubbles launch themselves up, arching back into the drink, the effervescence raising the juniper, lime, and bittersweet tonic aromas into my nose. The hummingbirds come to our feeders to feed, sometimes giving me a sideways glance to ensure I won’t jump up and grab their nectar.

I’m not. I am satisfied with mine. And it’s always this time of year that I crave this particular bubbly refreshment — perhaps the most well-known member of the fizzy family, which begins with simple highballs (everything from Campari and soda to the Dark and Stormy to the Cuba Libre to the Americano) and branches out into more complex fizz-and-alcohol delivery systems, such as the rickey, the Collins, and, of course, the frothy fizz.

If you remember nothing else from this article, remember that a highball is a spirit that has been stretched with a frothy, nonalcoholic mixer, and that the mixer is normally at least twice as much as the spirit; this is a civilized, relatively low-ABV cocktail.

Create this libation: Cuba Libre

A highball is not only a beverage served in a large glass. I bring this up because I have heard references to the Long Island Iced Tea (vodka, tequila, rum, gin, and triple sec combined with lemon and syrup and topped with Coke) as a highball. I guess you might attempt that stretch if you’re really flexible.

If you pour a martini into a 12-ounce highball glass, you do not have a highball. Your head is throbbing. How to prepare the tequila-lime beverage that keeps so many Texans cool.

But I digress. To be honest, there is a little amount of masochism involved in our appreciation of carbonated beverages, since these bubbles activate the same pain receptors as spicy foods. And yet, in much the same way, many of us adore them; even outside of the context of cocktails, I frequently take a late-afternoon swig of soda, partially for the tiny wake-up hit of caffeine, but also because I know that a long swallow of a carbonated drink will irritate my throat and make my eyes water, and my eyes will become less tired. Certainly, it aches, but it’s a tremendous pick-me-up after hours of Zoom conversations.

At this time of year, there is also the chill factor: Colder beverages retain carbonation better than warm ones, and it has been shown that carbonated cold drinks relieve thirst more effectively. The last thing most people want when the temperature outside is set to “BROIL” is a hefty shot of hard liquor, a diuretic when you need it the least.

Create this libation: Campari and Soda

There are no such out-of-season sufferings here. From the highball to the fizz, we’ve assembled a sparkling evolution of seltzer drink alternatives that are excellent for several summer drinks and adjustable to your preferences and energy levels, each one only one step or ingredient beyond the previous.

How engaged do you want to get in embellishing your drink tonight?

For a standard gin highball, combine gin with soda or seltzer. Juice the ingredients and add a citrus half, and you’ve created a rickey. Does it seem a little too tart to you? Add simple syrup, and you have a Tom Collins, which at almost 150 years old remains one of the world’s most refreshing cocktails. Want bubbles in several forms, not only the tongue-cleansing carbonation of seltzer, but also a delicate foam topping like meringue? The same components shaken with egg white become gin fizz, and you can take that version up a level with a small boost of summer peach, resulting in the Peach Fuzz Fizz, or go even more baroque with the Ramos Gin Fizz, the snow-white Everest of shaken fizzes.

It’s precisely like the ancient diagram of man’s development, only in liquid form, and the Homo sapiens at the end of our chart is wearing a peach-scented hat.

Here you will find a recipe scale, nutritional information, and a printable version of the recipe.

This simple cocktail is a G&T replacement for individuals who dislike the harsh quinine in tonic water or who prefer the refreshing simplicity of Ranch Water. Choose a gin that you like, use nice, fresh ice, and garnish with a lemon slice.

  • Ice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 4 ounces chilled club soda or seltzer
  • Citrus wedge or wheel, for garnish

Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice. Add the gin and club soda or seltzer to taste. Give it a citrus squeeze, then slip the citrus into the drink (so that it continues to impart flavor as you sip) and serve.

Here you will find a recipe scale, nutritional information, and a printable version of the recipe.

According to drinks historian David Wondrich, the Tom Collins evolved from the gin punch created by bartender John Collin in London during the 19th century. The Tom Collins is a timeless classic that is ideal for drinking throughout the summer. Traditionally, this was prepared using Old Tom Gin (a sweeter variety, from whence its name is likely derived in part), but a decent London dry works just as well. Although some recipes ask for shaking all the ingredients except the soda water before adding it, this step is unnecessary. Glass construction makes it more simpler.

Make Ahead: The simple syrup should be made and chilled at least 1 hour in advance.

  • Ice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 ounces chilled club soda or seltzer, to top
  • Lemon wheel, for garnish

Fill a Collins glass with ice, then add the gin, lemon juice, and syrup. Stir well for about 15 seconds. Add the club soda or seltzer and whisk again gently. Serve garnished with the lemon wheel.

The conventional gin fizz is on the simpler end of the fizz spectrum, whilst the Peach Fuzz Fizz is more baroque. The most critical method for the fizz is a vigorous shake; you must give the drink some time to develop its renowned smooth, creamy head. Historically, fizzes were served without ice in the glass since they were supposed to be drank rapidly. If you want to make the beverage in advance and have it later, you may choose to add a few ice cubes to the glass.

Highballs and other carbonated cocktail recipes to combat summer's heat
Highballs and other carbonated cocktail recipes to combat summer’s heat


Scale and get a printable version of the recipe on this page.

Make Ahead: The simple syrup should be made and chilled at least 1 hour in advance.

Where to Buy: Peach nectar can be found at well-stocked supermarkets.

  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce egg white (may be substituted with aquafaba)
  • 1/2 ounce peach liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce peach nectar
  • 2 dashes peach bitters (optional)
  • 2 to 3 ounces chilled club soda or seltzer to top

If desired, chill a highball glass and add a couple ice cubes (see headnote).

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In a cocktail shaker, add the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white, peach liqueur, peach nectar, and bitters, if desired. Shake vigorously for about one minute, or until the liquid has completely blended with the egg white and the mixture is pale and frothy. Add 5 to 6 ice cubes to the shaker and shake again until the mixture is well cooled. Strain twice into the highball glass. Insert a straw into the middle of the foam, then pour the seltzer along the straw into the glass until the frothy head reaches or just beyond the lip of the glass. Serve with a straw.

To prepare the gin fizz, a simplified version of the recipe above, mix 1 1/2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice, 1 ounce of simple syrup, and 1/2 ounce of egg white or aquafaba in a cocktail shaker, then add ice and seltzer.

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