Barfly

Australia’s Best Whisky Highball Bars of 2019

Image: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

There’s nothing more refreshing than a whisky highball.

A recent survey of bar owners, cocktail enthusiasts, bartenders and spirit experts has revealed that the whisky highball is the newest trend in drinks.

“Scotch highballs are experiencing huge resurgence at present, and for good reason,” said Diageo whisky ambassador Katie Nagar. “It’s a simple and tasty drink that showcases the quality of scotch whisky.”

Diageo is the world’s leading supplier of spirits, which includes a vast portfolio in whisky, including brands like Johnnie Walker, Talisker, Lagavulin and Oban to name a few.

“Research also shows that lower ABV drinks are becoming increasingly popular across the world. The highball is perfectly positioned within this global trend as it usually contains only one measure of spirit, meaning you can enjoy a lighter style drink that still offers amazing flavour.”

To push forward with this trend, Johnnie Walker has teamed up with five of the hottest and most revered bars in Sydney and Melbourne to create some of the best whisky highballs in town available till mid – November. Following this, we will share our five other favourite Australian bars that serve whisky highballs.

Scout Bar

Scout Bar resides in The Dolphin Hotel in Surry Hills, serving up a quaint collection of spiritous drinks in a stylishly modern interior that differs in vibe from the hotel. These guys are bringing the Papaya don’t Preach, a combination of Johnnie Walker Black Label with tea tree distillate, pluot soda and papaya cordial, served with papaya glass.

More info

Level 2/412 Crown St, Surry Hills, NSW Papaya don't Preach

Maybe Sammy

Featured on The World’s 50 Best Bars of 2019, Maybe Sammy is the only Australian venue to make it on the list – and for a good reason too! This modernised 1950’s style bar serves up serious mixes. Their drink of choice is Johnnie & Flamingo, a flavoursome mix of Johnnie Walker Black Label, citric acid, Peychaud’s Bitters, coconut syrup and house-made tropical soda served with a flamingo straw and a kaffir lime leaf.

More info

115 Harrington St, The Rocks, NSW Johnnie & Flamingo

Icebergs

For an Italian-style tipple, look no further than Icebergs in Bondi. They share a quaint selection of beverages, including whisky, alongside their unique creation called Walking on Thin Ice. This highball features Johnnie Walker Black Label, bergamot syrup, verjus, pastis and soda, garnished with frozen bergamot skin.

More info

1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach, NSW Walking on Thin Ice

Bar Margaux

Opening in July this year, Bar Margaux is the newest watering hole in Melbourne. Inspired by French tastes, this bar has created the Tall, Dark and then Some, a cocktail using Johnnie Walker Black Label, lemon juice, simple syrup, pommeau de normandie, absinthe and soda served with a morello cherry and a lemon slice.

More info

Basement/111 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC Tall, Dark and then Some

Capitano

Welcome to the best pizza bar in North Melbourne, Capitano. Because what goes better with pizza? Whisky highballs, of course! Capitano has created Leatherwood Highball using Johnnie Walker Black Label, leatherwood and barley cordial, filtered water and an orange slice.

More info

421 Rathdowne St, Carlton, VIC Leatherwood Highball

Now it’s our turn to push the growing trend in whisky highball’s. Here’s our list of Australia’s best whisky highball bars to visit this summer:

Panama Social

Panama Social is exactly as it sounds. Imagine a bohemian atmosphere, matched with funky interior design and the classiest whisky highballs you can get your hands on. If you’re looking for a tropical and satisfying whisky highball, go for the Tropic Spray, featuring 17°C Johnnie Walker Green Label, charred pineapple ferment, pistachio and wakame oil. It’s a combination that is best described as salty, fruity, funky and delish – just like the bar itself!

More info

245 William Street, Northbridge, WA Tropic Spray

NOLA Craft Beer & Whiskey

A hipster’s paradise is perhaps the only way to describe this establishment, with it’s elegant and quirky interior. Not only that, but they also serve up unique craft beers and whiskies. On the whisky side, they have around 200 bottles behind the bar to choose from, so you can easily get picky when it comes to ordering a whisky highball. Our favourite is Thyme on the Side, featuring Speyside scotch, lemon, thyme, apricot and topped with soda. 

More info

28 Vardon Ave, Adelaide, SA Thyme on the Side

Tiny's

To be honest, Perth is where it’s at for whisky highballs. At Tiny’s you’ll be treated to classic and signature cocktails served within a vibrant and welcoming space. Think quirky modern decor and intrinsic bartenders. Their special whisky highball worth mentioning is Fowl Play, which comes with Westward American Single Malt Whiskey with umeshu for bitterness and crisp green apple for a citrusy balance. If it can’t perk your senses, then nothing ever will!

More info

Cnr Hay and Milligan St Perth, WA Fowl Play

Halford Bar

Here is where the night makes its way inside, like a magician’s trick. And they are unashamed nerds when it comes to whisky. So much so that their whiskies are organised by flavour profiles rather than names, prestige or regions. We’ve got our dazzled eyes set on their One Small Step whisky highball featuring Johnnie Walker Platinum Label and rhubarb cream soda. The grain and baking spice of the Johnny Walker Platinum Label works seamlessly with the sweet yet tangy, house-made rhubarb cream soda.

More info

Hay St and Cathedral Ave, Perth, WA One Small Step

The Gresham

The Gresham houses a vibrant selection of whisky with origins coming from across the world and at home. On top of this, the bar pays homage to the American mid-west of the 1800s, while accepting the modern era of interior design. And while they don’t have a particular whisky highball cocktail listed on the menu, they are always happy to oblige with whatever concoction you have in mind, which goes perfect with their mammoth list of whisky. 

More info

308 Queen St, Brisbane, QLD
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