What is a Long Drink? The Art of Mixology Revealed

What is a long drink? is a question that may pique the curiosity of those exploring the world of beverages. The term “long drink” has a rich history and widespread usage in the realm of cocktails and refreshments, but its precise definition can vary depending on cultural and regional factors.

In this article of the concept, we will delve into the intriguing world of long drinks, unraveling their origins, characteristics, and the diverse forms they take across different parts of the globe. Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or simply someone seeking a refreshing beverage, understanding what a long drink is can open up a world of taste and tradition.

What is a long drink?

What is a Long Drink

A long drink or tall drink is an alcoholic mixed drink with a relatively large volume (> 12 cl, frequently 16–40 cl or between 5–9 fluid ounces). It is typically served in a tall glass full of mixer, in contrast to a short drink, or shooter, which has less mixer, or none.

Short drinks are generally stronger since both types tend to contain the same amount of alcohol. A classic long drink is a Tom Collins. A simple style of long drink is the highball, a cocktail composed of one liquor and one mixer (excluding garnish or ice). A classic example of the highball is the Scotch and soda.

In Finland, a ‘long drink’ specifically contains gin plus a mixer, almost always a fruit soda. The most popular long drink in Finland is the Lonkero, which is made with Finnish gin and grapefruit soda. It was created in 1952 for the Helsinki Summer Olympics and has been a national favorite ever since.

Other popular long drinks include:

  • The Mojito: A Cuban cocktail made with white rum, lime juice, sugar, mint, and soda water.
  • The Margarita: A Mexican cocktail made with tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur.
  • The Daiquiri: A Cuban cocktail made with white rum, lime juice, and sugar.
  • The Cosmopolitan: A New York cocktail made with vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, and Cointreau.
  • The Sex on the Beach: A cocktail made with vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, cranberry juice, and grenadine.

These are just a few examples of long drinks. There are many other variations possible, depending on the ingredients you like and the desired flavor profile.

How would you define a long drink?

A long drink is a type of cocktail typically characterized by its larger volume, refreshing and quenching nature, and the inclusion of a significant amount of mixer or non-alcoholic beverage.

Long drinks are usually served in tall glasses or highball glasses filled with ice. They are popular choices for warm weather or social occasions when a lighter, more hydrating drink is desired.

Key features of a long drink include:

  1. Tall Glass: Long drinks are typically served in tall glasses, such as highball glasses or Collins glasses. These glasses provide enough space for ice and the mixed ingredients.
  2. Mixer Dominance: Long drinks have a higher ratio of non-alcoholic mixer to alcoholic spirits. This makes them lighter in alcohol content compared to short drinks or cocktails served straight up.
  3. Ice: They are almost always served over ice, which helps keep the drink cold and adds to its refreshing quality.
  4. Variety: Long drinks can encompass a wide range of cocktail recipes, often featuring different spirits (such as vodka, gin, rum, tequila) and various mixers (like soda, tonic, fruit juices, or lemon-lime soda).

Common examples of long drinks include the Tom Collins, Mojito, Gin and Tonic, and the Highball. These drinks are typically associated with relaxation and are often enjoyed in casual settings, such as during outdoor gatherings, parties, or at bars. The choice of ingredients can vary widely to create a diverse array of long drinks to suit different tastes and preferences.

What distinguishes a long drink from other types of beverages?

A long drink is primarily distinguished from other types of beverages, including other alcoholic drinks and cocktails, by the following characteristics:

  1. Tall Glass: Long drinks are typically served in tall glasses, such as highball glasses or Collins glasses. The use of these tall glasses allows for more volume and accommodates a larger quantity of liquid, making them different from shorter, more concentrated cocktails.
  2. High Mixer-to-Alcohol Ratio: Long drinks have a higher proportion of mixer or non-alcoholic beverage to alcoholic spirits. This results in a lower alcohol content compared to straight-up cocktails or short drinks. Long drinks are known for being more diluted and refreshing.
  3. Iced: Long drinks are almost always served over ice. The presence of ice not only chills the beverage but also contributes to its refreshing and hydrating quality. This sets them apart from neat or stirred cocktails that are typically served without ice.
  4. Refreshment and Quenching Nature: Long drinks are designed to be thirst-quenching and refreshing. They often incorporate ingredients like soda, tonic, fruit juices, or other non-alcoholic mixers to achieve this quality. This distinguishes them from spirits or liqueurs typically consumed for sipping, which are not as hydrating or light.
  5. Occasions: Long drinks are commonly associated with casual and social occasions, especially those in warm weather. They are favored for outdoor gatherings, parties, and bars where a lighter, more leisurely drink is desired.

Are there any specific ingredients commonly used in a long drink?

Long drinks can vary widely in terms of ingredients, and there is no single set of specific ingredients that are universally used. However, certain ingredients are commonly found in long drinks, and these can include:

  • Alcoholic Spirits: Long drinks often include a base spirit as part of their ingredients. Common spirits used in long drinks include:
    • Gin: Used in drinks like the Gin and Tonic and the Tom Collins.
    • Vodka: Commonly featured in drinks like the Vodka Soda or the Moscow Mule.
    • Rum: Found in long drinks such as the Mojito and the Rum Punch.
    • Tequila: An essential ingredient in the Tequila Sunrise and the Paloma.
  • Non-Alcoholic Mixers:
    • Soda Water: Used to add effervescence and dilution to the drink.
    • Tonic Water: A key ingredient in the Gin and Tonic.
    • Lemon-Lime Soda: Often used in cocktails like the Long Island Iced Tea.
    • Fruit Juices: Ingredients like orange juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and lemon juice are frequently used to add flavor and sweetness.
  1. Sweeteners: Long drinks may incorporate sweeteners to balance the flavors. This can include simple syrup, grenadine, or flavored liqueurs like triple sec.
  2. Fresh Fruit: Long drinks are often garnished with slices or wedges of fresh fruit, such as citrus slices, cherries, or berries, to enhance the visual appeal and aroma.
  3. Herbs and Aromatics: Ingredients like mint leaves, basil, or cucumber slices can be added to provide a refreshing and aromatic element to the drink.
  4. Bitters: In some long drinks, a few dashes of bitters are used to add complexity and depth of flavor.
  5. Ice: Ice is a fundamental ingredient in long drinks, as it not only chills the beverage but also contributes to its refreshing quality.
  6. Garnishes: Long drinks are often garnished with items like cocktail umbrellas, straws, or swizzle sticks for both visual appeal and practicality.

Examples of long drinks with common ingredients include the classic Gin and Tonic (gin, tonic water, and a lime wedge), the Mojito (rum, lime juice, mint leaves, sugar, and soda water), and the Tequila Sunrise (tequila, orange juice, and grenadine).

It’s important to note that the specific ingredients can vary depending on the recipe and personal preferences. Long drinks offer a lot of versatility, allowing for creative variations and adaptations based on the desired flavor profile and occasion.

What is the typical serving size of a long drink?

What is a Long Drink

The typical serving size of a long drink can vary depending on the specific recipe and the establishment or bartender making the drink. However, there are some general guidelines and common practices for serving sizes of long drinks:

  1. Standard Size: A standard serving of a long drink is often around 8 to 12 ounces (240 to 360 milliliters) of liquid. This includes the mixture of alcoholic spirits, mixers, and ice.
  2. Tall Glass: Long drinks are typically served in tall glasses, such as highball glasses or Collins glasses, which have a capacity that can range from 10 to 16 ounces (300 to 475 milliliters) or more. The tall glass allows room for ice and the cocktail ingredients, giving it a refreshing and visually appealing presentation.
  3. Ice: Long drinks are almost always served over ice, which further adds to the volume of the drink. The amount of ice can vary, but it’s common to fill the glass about halfway with ice cubes or crushed ice.
  4. Garnishes: The inclusion of garnishes, such as citrus slices, cherries, or mint sprigs, can also affect the overall volume of the drink.
  5. Alcohol Content: The alcohol content in a long drink can vary based on the recipe and personal preferences. However, long drinks are generally known for having a moderate to lower alcohol content compared to short drinks or straight cocktails.

It’s important to note that the specific serving size and alcohol content can vary widely depending on the recipe and the bartender’s discretion. Some long drinks may be stronger or larger than others, and the alcohol-to-mixer ratio can be adjusted to suit individual tastes. Additionally, some venues or countries may have legal regulations regarding the serving size and alcohol content of alcoholic beverages.

When ordering a long drink at a bar or preparing one at home, it’s a good practice to specify any preferences you have for the serving size and alcohol content to ensure it aligns with your preferences and expectations.

Is a long drink alcoholic or non-alcoholic?

A long drink can be either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, depending on the ingredients used in the specific recipe. The term “long drink” primarily refers to the style of the beverage, characterized by its larger volume, use of mixers, and the inclusion of ice. Here’s a breakdown of both options:

  1. Alcoholic Long Drinks: Many long drinks contain alcohol as a primary ingredient. Common alcoholic long drinks include the Gin and Tonic, Mojito, Tequila Sunrise, and Rum Punch. These cocktails incorporate a base spirit, such as gin, rum, vodka, or tequila, along with mixers, sweeteners, and garnishes. The alcohol content varies depending on the recipe and the amount of spirit used.
  2. Non-Alcoholic Long Drinks: There are also non-alcoholic long drinks that exclude alcohol entirely. These beverages are often referred to as “mocktails” or “virgin” versions of traditional long drinks. Examples include the Virgin Piña Colada (non-alcoholic Piña Colada), Virgin Mojito (non-alcoholic Mojito), and Virgin Mary (non-alcoholic Bloody Mary). These drinks are made with various combinations of fruit juices, soda water, and other non-alcoholic mixers, along with ice and garnishes. They are designed to mimic the flavors and refreshment of their alcoholic counterparts without the alcohol content.

So, whether a long drink is alcoholic or non-alcoholic depends on the specific recipe and the presence or absence of alcoholic spirits. When ordering or preparing a long drink, it’s important to specify your preference for alcohol or non-alcohol to ensure you receive the desired beverage.

What glassware is commonly used for serving long drinks?

Long drinks are typically served in tall glasses designed to accommodate their larger volume and the inclusion of ice. The choice of glassware can vary depending on regional preferences and personal style, but some common types of glassware used for serving long drinks include:

  1. Highball Glass: The highball glass is one of the most common choices for serving long drinks. It’s a tall, cylindrical glass with a capacity of around 8 to 12 ounces (240 to 360 milliliters). Highball glasses are designed to hold a good amount of liquid along with ice and are commonly used for classic long drinks like the Gin and Tonic and the Tom Collins.
  2. Collins Glass: A Collins glass is similar to a highball glass but slightly taller and slimmer. It typically has a capacity of 10 to 14 ounces (300 to 415 milliliters) and is used for cocktails like the John Collins and the Zombie.
  3. Tumbler Glass: Tumbler glasses, also known as rocks glasses or old-fashioned glasses, are short and sturdy, but some variations come in taller sizes, making them suitable for long drinks. They have a capacity of around 10 to 14 ounces (300 to 415 milliliters) and can be used for drinks like the Whiskey Highball.
  4. Pint Glass: While pint glasses are commonly associated with beer, they are also used for certain long drinks, especially those that are popular in pubs. Pint glasses typically have a capacity of 16 to 20 ounces (475 to 590 milliliters).
  5. Hurricane Glass: Hurricane glasses are tall, curvy glasses with a capacity ranging from 12 to 20 ounces (355 to 590 milliliters). They are often used for tropical and exotic long drinks like the Hurricane cocktail.
  6. Mason Jar: Mason jars, with their rustic and casual appeal, are sometimes used for serving long drinks, especially in informal settings. They come in various sizes, with 16-ounce (475 milliliters) jars being a common choice.
  7. Chimney Glass: Chimney glasses are tall, narrow glasses that can hold a good amount of liquid. They are used for certain long drinks and cocktails, such as the Blue Lagoon.

The choice of glassware can also depend on the presentation and aesthetic preferences. Some long drinks are traditionally associated with specific types of glassware, while others allow for some flexibility in glass selection. Ultimately, the glass used should complement the style of the drink and enhance the overall drinking experience.

How do you garnish a long drink to enhance its presentation?

Garnishing a long drink can significantly enhance its presentation by adding visual appeal and a touch of aroma. The choice of garnishes can also complement the flavors of the drink. Here are some common garnishing techniques and ideas for long drinks:

  1. Citrus Slices or Wedges: Adding a slice or wedge of lemon, lime, orange, or even grapefruit to the rim of the glass or floating in the drink not only looks attractive but also releases aromatic citrus oils when sipped, enhancing the drink’s aroma.
  2. Fresh Berries: Place a few fresh berries like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries on a cocktail pick or skewer and rest it on the rim or lay it across the top of the drink. It adds color and a burst of fruity flavor.
  3. Mint Sprigs: Mint leaves are a classic garnish for many long drinks, such as Mojitos and Mint Juleps. Slap the mint leaves between your hands to release their aroma before placing them as a bouquet or individual leaves in the drink.
  4. Cucumber Slices: Thin slices of cucumber not only look refreshing but also infuse a subtle cucumber aroma into the drink. They work well in drinks like the Pimm’s Cup.
  5. Maraschino Cherries: A maraschino cherry on a cocktail pick is a traditional garnish for many long drinks. It adds a pop of color and a sweet contrast to the drink’s flavors.
  6. Umbrella or Paper Parasol: Adding a colorful cocktail umbrella or paper parasol is a fun way to give your long drink a tropical or beachy vibe, especially in drinks like the Piña Colada or the Hurricane.
  7. Fruit Skewers: Create small fruit skewers with a combination of citrus slices, berries, and other fruit pieces. Place the skewer across the top of the glass.
  8. Candied Ginger: A piece of candied ginger on a cocktail pick can be a delightful garnish, especially in ginger-flavored long drinks.
  9. Lemon or Lime Twist: Use a vegetable peeler or a channel knife to create long, thin twists of lemon or lime peel. Twist them and place them in or around the drink to release their citrus oils.
  10. Edible Flowers: Certain edible flowers like violets, pansies, or nasturtiums can be used to garnish long drinks, adding an elegant and natural touch.
  11. Straws and Swizzle Sticks: Consider colorful or decorative straws or swizzle sticks that match the theme or occasion.

Remember that the choice of garnish can be influenced by the specific long drink you’re preparing and personal preferences. It’s also important to ensure that the garnish complements the flavors of the drink and doesn’t overwhelm it. A well-chosen garnish not only enhances the presentation but also adds to the overall enjoyment of the long drink.

What is a Long Drink

Are there regional variations of long drinks around the world?

Yes, there are indeed regional variations of long drinks around the world. Long drinks are versatile cocktails that can be adapted to local ingredients, preferences, and cultural influences. These regional variations often reflect the unique tastes and traditions of specific countries or regions.

Here are a few examples of regional long drinks:

  • Cuba:
    • Cuba Libre: This classic Cuban long drink consists of rum, cola (usually Coca-Cola), and a squeeze of lime. It’s similar to a Rum and Coke but with a citrusy twist.
  • Spain:
    • Tinto de Verano: A popular Spanish long drink, Tinto de Verano is made with red wine and lemon-lime soda. It’s a refreshing option during hot Spanish summers.
  • Italy:
    • Spritz: The Aperol Spritz and Campari Spritz are Italian long drinks made with Aperol or Campari, respectively, combined with prosecco and soda water. They are popular aperitifs.
  • Mexico:
    • Paloma: In Mexico, the Paloma is a beloved long drink made with tequila and grapefruit soda. It’s typically garnished with a lime wedge and sometimes a salted rim.
  • United Kingdom:
    • Pimm’s Cup: A British summer favorite, the Pimm’s Cup includes Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur, lemonade (a sweet carbonated lemon-lime soda), and various fruits and herbs. It’s often served at garden parties and sporting events.
  • Brazil:
    • Caipirinha: While not a typical long drink in terms of glass size, the Caipirinha is a Brazilian cocktail made with cachaça, lime, sugar, and ice. It’s served in a short glass but is quite refreshing.
  • Thailand:
    • Thai Iced Tea: This is a sweet, creamy long drink made with Thai tea (strongly brewed black tea with added spices like star anise and cardamom), condensed milk, and ice. It’s a popular choice in Thai cuisine.
  • Caribbean:
    • Rum Punch: Various Caribbean islands have their versions of rum punch, which typically include rum, fruit juices (such as pineapple and orange), grenadine, and sometimes bitters. It’s a tropical long drink enjoyed in the region.
  • Nordic Countries:
    • Punsch: Punsch is a traditional long drink in Nordic countries like Sweden and Finland. It consists of arrack or rum, sugar, and hot water, often served with almonds and raisins.

These are just a few examples, and there are countless other regional long drinks around the world. Local ingredients, cultural preferences, and the availability of spirits and mixers often influence the creation of these regional variations. Exploring these drinks can be a fun way to learn about the drinking culture of different countries and regions.


You can get the answer on what is a long drink on this page. A long drink is a versatile style of cocktail characterized by its larger volume, typically served in tall glasses with the inclusion of ice. Long drinks often feature a higher ratio of mixer or non-alcoholic beverage to alcoholic spirits, making them lighter and more refreshing.

They can be either alcoholic or non-alcoholic and are known for their adaptability, accommodating a wide range of ingredients, garnishes, and regional variations to suit various tastes and occasions.