The Toki Highball is technically just a whisky soda. Those are literally the only two ingredients (not counting the ice or lemon twist), so you might be wondering what makes this drink special and why you’d bother to make one. But here’s the thing: It’s all in the execution. For a Toki Highball, you need the coldest highball glass, the bubbliest seltzer, the clearest ice, and just a hint of lemon, shiso, or both. Some bars and restaurants actually have machines for this one cocktail - but those machines cost thousands of dollars, and you don’t have space in your kitchen anyway. Here’s how to make an ideal version on your own.
Makes 1 Toki Highball
- 1.75 ounces Toki whisky
- Sparkling water
- Lemon twist, shiso leaf, or both
Step One: Make Some Ice
When we say, “Make some ice,” we aren’t just telling you to fill the ice cube trays in your freezer. This drink is all about quality and craftsmanship, and it calls for ice that’s dense and crystal clear. Making the perfect ice can be somewhat challenging, but, fortunately, we have both a video and a guide explaining how it’s done. Once you have this ice, fill your highball, and place that highball in your freezer. (Bonus points for putting your freezer on the coldest setting.)
If you don’t have 48 hours to make perfect ice, it’s also fine to use regular ice. Just don’t tell us that you did this.
Step Two: Freeze Your Whisky
This cocktail calls for Toki whisky from Suntory, which is similar to a light blended scotch. It’s the color of a sunbeam at 5pm in late September, and it’s exceedingly smooth with notes of lemon and butterscotch and a very subtle smoky flavor. As an added bonus, you can pick up a bottle for around $40 (whereas most other Japanese whisky costs twice as much).
Once you have your Toki, stick the whole bottle in the freezer. This might seem like strange advice because we typically don’t tell you to pre-chill your alcohol - but, as we mentioned earlier, this drink needs to be as cold as possible. Freezing your whisky will ensure this.
Step Three: Add Your Whisky
After an hour in the freezer, your whisky should be good to go. Take it out of the freezer, and remove your highball filled with ice as well. Pour 1.75 ounces Toki whisky into your highball.
Step Four: Sparkling Water
For any other cocktail recipe that calls for sparkling water, we’ll usually just tell you to use whatever. But this highball needs to be impossibly fizzy. If you can make your own, that’s ideal - but, at the very least, you should make sure your sparkling water is in an unopened container, and you should get it as cold as possible without making said container explode. An ice bath works great, as does a refrigerator - or, if you want to live on the edge, you can also throw your sparkling water in the freezer for 20 minutes. Whatever you do, make sure it’s cold. This will A) make your drink taste better, and B) ensure it stays fizzy (because the solubility of a gas in water is inversely related to temperature). Top your highball with this sparkling water (around 4 ounces), and give everything a brief stir.
Step Three: Garnish
Finally, you’re ready to garnish. A lemon twist is absolutely necessary, and a shiso leaf is ideal as well. It’ll provide a nice pop of freshness, and you can also eat it when you’re done. (More drinks should be garnished with shiso.) After you’ve applied your garnishes, drink this highball as quickly as decorum allows. If it’s still there after five minutes, we’ll be both impressed and disappointed.