Hi, Friends of Cocktails. Fall is upon us and I figured it was time for another seasonal cocktail: the Highball. Last year I made a Clarified Apple & Scotch Highball, but I just got some pears from back home (hand-picked by my mom!), so we’ll make a different twist on this classic cocktail. We will also incorporate an unusual cocktail ingredient - buckwheat - and two great Irish whiskeys, but if you just want something simple and refreshing, I’d suggest making the classic Whiskey Highball first.
The Highball is one of the cocktails I make for myself most often, and it doesn’t get much easier than a simple mix of whiskey and soda, sprayed with lemon zest. The right choice of whiskey can also elevate it and really hit the spot.
• 45mL (1.5oz) Connemara Whiskey
• 90mL (3oz) Soda Water
• Lemon peel
To a chilled highball glass filled with ice add the whiskey, followed by the soda water and express the oils from the lemon peel on top of your drink. Now use the peel as a garnish and you are ready to enjoy this cocktail. The peated Irish whiskey we used is perfect for a rainy fall day, without taking away from the refreshing quality of the drink, but it’s now time to move onto our next highball.
As we’ll be carbonizing the whole cocktail, we’ll need to begin by clarifying the pear juice, so the CO2 doesn’t disperse before you get to enjoy the bubbles.
Clarified Pear Juice
• 300mL (10oz) pear juice
• 0.75g ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
• 0.6g Pectinex
Begin juicing the pears and as soon as you have around 30mL (1oz) add the ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin C, to prevent the juice from oxidizing. Now continue to juice enough pears to get 300 ml (10oz) in total - if you have extra pears, enjoy a healthy snack. At this point you can add the pectinex to the pear juice and stir it in, placing it in the fridge and leaving it to work its magic for at least 12 hours - Tip: having slightly warm pears will help the pectinex break down the enzymes, so soak them in warm water before cutting them up and juicing them.
After the 12 hours strain the mixture using a coffee filter, re-filtering the first liquid coming through as it will take some time for the solids to create an additional filter, helping you achieve the clearest result possible. Getting the clearest liquid possible is important because solids in the cocktail and CO2 aren’t friends and you’ll end up with a flat drink, but with this part done we can now move onto the Buckwheat Tea, which will pair nicely with the pear.
• 40g husked buckwheat
• 200g boiling hot water
We’ll begin by roasting the buckwheat in a pan until you see some nice browning and it releases its pleasant aromas, then take it off the heat and brew it in the hot water for about 5 minutes. This is the traditional way of making buckwheat tea in East Asia, where it’s typically made with 10 parts water to 1 part buckwheat, but we want a bit stronger so that it stands out in the cocktail. Also, buckwheat is sometimes considered a superfood, so you could say that after Super Juice and Super Syrup we’re now making super tea.
The final step is to strain the tea and we are set. You can of course use these ingredients to make a delicious fall mocktail as well, but today we’re making a Fall Whiskey Highball - a HighFall. I’ll give you the measurements for a single serve, but I generally make two cocktails to not waste a single CO2 cartridge in just one cocktail.
• 45mL (1.5oz) Green Spot Irish Whiskey
• 7.5mL (0.25oz) Connemara Whiskey
• 60mL (2oz) Clarified Pear Juice
• 60mL (2oz) Buckwheat Tea
• 2 drops 20% saline solution
Mix the ingredients and when you’re ready to serve, just transfer the mixture to a well chilled soda siphon, or a cream whipper and charge it with a CO2 cartridge - this recipe can of course be scaled up and pre-batched if you want to make more of these cocktails. Now shake the whipper up to help the gas carbonate the entire drink, then carefully release the gas before opening. Pour it over a clear ice spear in a chilled highball glass. I’ll garnish it with a single pear wedge. Crisp and appealing!
As for the tasting notes, subtle smoke and even some buckwheat are coming through on the aroma. Together with whiskey, these flavors are harmonized on the palate, with a pleasant mouthfeel of the bubbles making this a perfect way to celebrate the harvesting season. But as we get ready for the Fall in the northern hemisphere, it’s starting to get warmer in the Land Down Under, and one thing that’s apparently already hot in Australia is the Cocktail Time Wall of Fame.
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