According to legend, American railroad engineers used to raise a ball on a pole if a certain train was running late. "Highball" loosely translates into "a drink in a hurry". What is easier that throwing together Scotch, ice, and water, giving it a quick stir and sipping? Anything less would be a shot or a Scotch on the rocks, and those aren't cocktails, my friend.
1 1/2 oz whiskey
Fill a highball glass 2/3 up with ice. Pour in whiskey, add soda to balance. Stir and enjoy.
Want to have fun and at the same time find out what kind of caliber of bartender you are dealing with? When asked "Watcha want?" (or, at my bar, "What's your pleasure?") ask for a Dewar's Highball. You will know instantly if he or she was hired for window dressing or mixology knowledge. Don't be too rough on them though, because there are so many drink names etc. but there is a glass called a highball glass so, like the old-fashioned (ever heard of an "old-fashioned" glass?), most people who have a little bit of bar experience should know what you're talking about. There are some variations and personal preferences to take into account. Tony drinks Scotch highballs but likes it in a "long glass" (Collins glass), only about 2/3 full. So basically, the same amount of water in a larger glass.
Want some other highballs? How about a Gin & Tonic? Try an Irish Cooler, which is simply Irish Whiskey and club soda, with a little lemon garnish if you're feeling zippy. A 7&7 is a Seagram's 7 Crown Whisky and 7-Up. A Horse's Neck is a bourbon and ginger ale that is traditionally garnished with an impossibly long spiral-cut lemon peel that reaches from the drink's top down deep to the bottom of the glass. But if you're looking for a "drink in a hurry" why are you sitting there trying to cut a long-ass lemon peel?