Highball means a mixture of whisky and carbonated water in Japan. Why, when, or how did it become a popular beverage with Japanese people? Here is the answer...

Try a Japanese “Highball” that means a mixture of whisky and carbonated water!

Japan has its own alcohol beverages such as Sake, Shochu, but have you heard of Highball? It is a very well known drink in Izakaya in Japan.

Japanese calls this drink Highball; it’s basically whisky mixed with carbonated water.

History Of Highball

In 1950s Japan, Whisky wasn't as popular as it is today. It is simply because imported whisky was expensive and Japan had not yet developed the techniques to make good original whisky.

Santory and Nikka-Whisky are Japanese whisky manufacturing companies, but both were still far from perfecting their methods at that time.

Nikka-Whisky stuck with expensive Scottish whisky making methods to match genuine Scotch, but Santory decided to make it from its own recipe and started selling whisky called Torys.

Photo credit: Japanexperterna.se via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

However, the quality of Torys was no match for for true Scotch. To increase sales, Santory mixed it with carbonated water and advertised it as Highball, a very modern and European-sounding beverage to Japanese people at the time.

This advertisement strategy made it a huge success. Old and young, men and women...everyone knew what Highball was! Mixing it with carbonated water covered the taste of whisky as well.

Second Wave Of Whisky Hit Japan

After a while, Highball as well as whisky faced declining popularity in Japan. The people who adored whisky and Highball in the 1950s became 40-60s; whisky again became a luxury beverage.

Young people in their 20s are more likely to enjoy beer and cocktails, and less likely to indulge in harder alcoholic beverages. It wasn't a good time for liquor...

In 2008, Santory started advertising whisky again!

Low calorie, cheap, and good with food! Santory widened the appeal of Highball by making commercials featuring hot and mature actresses showing Highball is not only for elder men, but modern and edgy women.


Santory's advertisement was a huge success! Consumption of Highball grew more and more, and is now as popular in Japan as beer.

This huge success is a good example of the effectiveness of the Japanese approach to marketing.

Let's Go Drink Highball!

You can enjoy Highball in any Izakaya in Japan. It costs about 300 yen, cheaper than a glass of beer and a greater quantity in your glass...makes you happy, right?

You may find a Highball and energy drink mixture,

or whisky mixed with coke called Highball-Cola is available in some places. These are mostly for younger people.

Well.....if you adore real whisky, Highball is the wrong way to enjoy it, but there are many places which offer you Highball made with real, good whisky available now.

Refreshing texture and a flavorful taste...you may be obsessed with the magic of Highball!

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