Sammy Davis Jr., the legendary entertainer and proud member of the Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, enjoyed a whiskey highball when he was out with the gang. The highball isn't a complex drink, simply put two parts whiskey and four parts club soda into a highball glass and twist a lemon garnish over it if you're feeling fancy. What made Davis' highballs so special was that he would add ginger ale instead of club soda and he loved to use Japanese whisky, specifically Suntory Whisky.
The Rat Pack was a notoriously boozy group of friends and each of them had their drink of choice. Davis became so well known for enjoying a Japanese highball that Suntory eventually reached out to him. By becoming one of their first American celebrity endorsers, Davis helped jettison Japanese whisky to the luxury status it enjoys today. There's a fantastic Suntory Whisky commercial Sammy Davis Jr. did back in 1974 where he pours himself a glass of Suntory whisky on ice while singing and he finishes with a flourish over the bottle and simply says, "Suntory." The commercial would go on to influence the famous Suntory whisky commercial scene in the much-loved movie "Lost In Translation" with Bill Murray.
The Honorary Japanese Highball
Japanese highballs have been popular since the 1950s though, as we mentioned, they usually include club soda instead of ginger ale. In the '80s and '90s, they started to be viewed as an old person's drink and, in some ways, they were. But today, as old traditions start to make a comeback as something new again, Japanese highballs are enjoying their time in the spotlight once more.
Suntory Whisky is at least partly responsible for the highballs' rise from the ashes, as they have been advertising the cocktail through celebrity influencers and commercials. They've even gone so far as to build highball bars, where Suntory Toki highballs are available on draft. They're advertised as food-friendly drinks since they're light and pair well with almost any type of dish.
Sammy Davis Jr. would have loved these bars, even if he would have had to skip the draft version given his preference for ginger ale over club soda. Davis quit drinking after medical challenges forced him to rethink his lifestyle, but if you drink in moderation you can live the Sammy Davis Jr. highball life yourself.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.