Today’s Fall Amaro Highball is brought to you by my love of all things fig. I had made fig syrup with both fresh and dried figs last week and it was a warm weekend so the highball was calling my name. I had a brainstorm to use amaro as the base instead of a whiskey and it made the fig flavor shine through. It’s the perfect highball for fall sipping.
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What is a Highball?
A highball is traditionally a whiskey cocktail that consists of a base spirit (usually either whiskey or rye) and some soda. Highball variations sometimes include citrus elements, simple syrup, bitters, and different-flavored sodas. For example, a Jack and Coke would be considered a highball.
If you’d like to know a little more about the history of the highball, head over to Difford’s Guide for more information.
Fall Flavors in this Fig Amaro Highball
Instead of using whiskey in the highball, I opted to use amaro. When I tested this cocktail with whiskey as the spirit base, the whiskey flavor overwrote the fig – whether I used dried fig simple syrup or fresh fig simple syrup.
When I used a lower ABV spirit – and one with a more complex construction like amaro – I was able to taste far more of the fig. In addition, the extra bitterness of the amaro meant that the fig syrup adn apple soda didn’t make the cocktail too sweet.
Rather than use an unflavored soda, I chose an apple-flavored seltzer that was just slightly sweet – Izze brand. I don’t recommend using sparkling apple cider – the resulting cocktail will be far too sweet.
I did add a touch of lemon juice and a bit of St Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram. Both balanced the sweetness I added with the apple seltzer.
How to Make this Fall Highball
The fig simple syrup gives this cocktail its fall flavors. It’s an easy simple syrup to make with either fresh or dried figs and the flavor of the syrup and the highball changes based on that. My How to Make Fig Simple Syrup article has all the information on making the simple syrup.
I built this cocktail in the glass. Because amaro has a lower ABV than whiskey, adding it to a shaking tin before pouring it into the glass would just dilute it further.
To make this Fig Amaro Highball I added 1 ¾ oz Amaro Nonino to a highball glass, added in ¾ oz fig syrup, a ½ oz lemon juice, and a splash of the allspice dram. I stirred briefly, filled the glass with ice, and topped it with the Izze apple soda.
For the garnish, I used a fresh fig. And if figs are in season, I highly recommend muddling a fresh fig in the base of the highball glass with the amaro to add a burst of fresh fig flavor.
Tips and Tricks to Make the Fall Amaro Highball
There are hundreds of different amari on the market and choosing the right one as the base can be a challenge. In the US, most of us don’t have access to hundreds of options, but of the amari I can reliably find near me I preferred Amaro Nonino and Montenegro Amaro as a base in the cocktail.
Other Cocktails You Might Enjoy
- Stroll into Fall with this Scrumptious Fig Old Fashioned
- Mandarin Orange Fig Sour
- The Fig Lebowski – a Fig and Pear Whiskey Sour
- Fig and Fennel Sour
- Aperol Manhattan to Cure What Ails You (AKA Little Italy)
- Fernet Sazerac
Recommended Bar Tools
You don’t need every slick, beautiful bar tool out there, but there are several I’ll recommend. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, that does not affect the cost of the items below.) My favorite pieces usually come from the Cocktail Kingdom section of Amazon:
You may already have these bar essentials, but just in case:
Fall Amaro Highball
- 1 ¾ Amaro Nonino
- ¾ oz fig syrup see recipe here
- ½ oz lemon juice
- Splash of allspice dram
- 3-4 oz Izze apple sparkling soda
- Garnish: fresh or dried fig
- Build the cocktail in a glass by adding syrup, amaro, lemon juice and allspice dram to a Collins glass. If you want to up the fig factor, muddle a fresh fig in the bottom of the glass with the amaro before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Stir briefly.
- Add ice and top with sparkling apple soda.
- Garnish with a fresh or dried fig.