The cocktail that pleases every member of my family is a bourbon and ginger ale. Mom, Dad, my three brothers, me, and my adult niece can all drink a bourbon & ginger. I'm not saying it's our favorite, but we can all drink it.
I believe that I was conceived for the purpose of fetching beers and making highballs. To Mom and Dad, a highball was a bourbon and ginger ale - or Wink, if we had it in the house. (Anybody seen Wink in a store lately? I haven't seen it in about two years.)
I believe I was taught to make a bourbon and ginger ale properly at the age of six. You see, by then my elder brothers (aged 12 and 13) were beginning to have lives of their own outside the house. My parents needed another runt around to fetch them drinks. (They were good planners.)
The proper way to make a highball is to fill the glass (of the size pictured) all the way with ice. Then pour it about halfway full of bourbon. Then fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale (or Wink). Then you swirl it with your finger. This is the proper way. My brother Bob will confirm. He was taught the same method.
The highball pictured here is not proper. I have embellished it with cherries, which I am trying to use up because I am in the process of moving. The presence of a swizzle stick and brand-name bourbon (Jim Beam) is entirely too highbrow for a proper highball.
Over the years this drink has come to make me think of Christmas - probably because it's the only thing I will enjoy that is available at many Christmas parties that are held in hotels. You know, where there is an "open bar" (table with a skirt) and the only beer offered is like melted yellow snow.
Highball means Christmas means family means love. Cheers!