Summer Highball Perfection: 9 Amazing Bourbons to Elevate Your Mixology Game – The Manual

An Introduction to Bourbon Highball

The sweet, smooth taste of bourbon makes it a versatile addition to any summer cocktail. For an exceptionally refreshing drink, look no further than the illustrious Bourbon Highball. The classic highball cocktail is a simple, balanced mix of bourbon and soda water, mingled with ice and a spritz of citrus, typically lemon or lime. It’s an incredibly easy-to-make, delightfully effervescent treat ideal for relaxing on the porch after a long day or savoring the warm summer evenings. To help you make the most of your highball experience, here’s a list of 9 incredible bourbons perfect for your summer sips.

1. Maker’s Mark

Prenowned for its quality, Maker’s Mark is a smooth, full-bodied bourbon with distinct flavors of vanilla and caramel. Its creamy richness perfectly counters the crispness of soda water, offering a highball that is deliciously balanced and satisfyingly refreshing. With its accessible price and widely available distribution, it’s perfect for your everyday summer tipple.

2. Basil Hayden’s

Basil Hayden’s is a unique, spicy bourbon that gives an extra kick to your summer highball. Its high rye content contributes to an additional layer of warmth, while the hints of honey, peppermint, and dried fruit provide a complex yet balanced flavor profile. Just keep your soda ratio in check, and you’re in for a real treat.

3. Four Roses Single Barrel

Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon offers rich, full-bodied flavors with fruity undertones. It’s an exceptional mixer, bringing forth attention-demanding flavors such as ripe plum, cherries, and robust spices. Paired with citrusy soda water, it creates a summer highball that dances with heavenly harmony.

4. Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style

This one’s a real character. Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style bourbon offers a wonderful, strong taste with layers of chocolate, caramel, and oak. Its pronounced proof can stand up to the dilution, ensuring a consistent flavor even after a bit of soda water. If you’re looking for a sturdy, ravishing bourbon to mix your highball, this is a splendid pick.

5. Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace is a truly versatile bourbon. With its lovely balance of sweet, spicy, and bitter notes, it’s the perfect candidate for a summer highball. There’s an inherent complexity to Buffalo Trace, with hints of toffee, candied fruit, and spice that blend effortlessly with the soda water to deliver a drink that’s both invigorating and comforting.

6. Knob Creek

With its rich flavors of toasted nuts, grain, and oak, Knob Creek is another favorite to consider. Its full-bodied, smooth nature pairs brilliantly with the lemon spritz, creating a highball that’s uniquely tangy and delicious. Moreover, its higher-than-average alcohol content ensures that it doesn’t get lost amongst your mixing ingredients.

7. Elijah Craig Small Batch

Elijah Craig Small Batch bourbon is a beautiful amalgamation of 12 barrels, providing it a depth and complexity rarely seen in this price range. With noticeable notes of honey, vanilla, and pecan, it adds a delicious spin to your summer highball. Its strength is more than enough to hold up the refreshing fizziness of soda water.

8. Woodford Reserve

For an elegant, well-rounded bourbon highball, consider the Woodford Reserve. This refined bourbon offers rich flavors of dried fruit, vanilla, and toasted oak. The addition of soda water cuts through the richness, providing a delightfully refreshing highball perfect for a warm evening.

9. Wild Turkey 101

Last but not least, Wild Turkey 101 provides a high-alcohol content bourbon that’s ideal for those who love a good kick. With its spicy, sweet undertones and vanilla-caramel finish, it pairs beautifully with soda water, creating a highball that truly packs a punch.


Bourbon highballs are a fun, refreshing way to enjoy your evening relaxations during the summertime. Plus, with a wide range of suitable bourbons to choose from, you can switch things up as often as you like, keeping each glass as exciting as the last. Happy sipping!

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Written by Emma Jones

Emma Jones has been writing about the spirits industry for the past five years. She has a degree in journalism and has written for several publications. Emma is passionate about the history and culture of whiskey and bourbon, and loves to share her knowledge with her readers. She is an active member of the Bourbon Women Association and the Kentucky Distillers Association. Emma is also a frequent speaker at whiskey and bourbon events, and has been featured in several publications and podcasts. She is dedicated to educating her readers on the history and culture of whiskey and bourbon, and is always looking for new ways to share her knowledge.

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