Cocktail of the Week: How to make BAO’s Whisky Highball

It’s all about the garnishes this week, with an lemon tower so gravity-defying your friends will think they've quaffed a couple of these already

This is not your first Friday-night-in-lockdown rodeo. You’ve mastered every variation of G&T under the sun, you’ve got the negroni and Zoom-quiz combo down to a tee, and frankly you’re bored of drinking glasses of socially-distanced rosé in the rain. It’s time for something a bit more impressive looking. Behold, the Bao-Hi.

It’s the fabulous-looking cocktail from BAO London and is, when you get down to it, just a glorified spirit and mixer. Like most simple cocktails, the art of nailing one is in keeping it ice cold: we’d recommend freezing the glass before serving, and using large ice cubes which melt slower.


But the real beauty of BAO’s secret highball recipe — other than the winning combination of citrus, salt and whisky — is that it’s all in the preparation. The salted lemon and lime cordial can be batch-made in advance and kept in the fridge for a month, while the visually appealing tower of lemon slices, which BAO fans might recognise from the restaurant’s Borough Market outpost, is far easier to make than it looks.

And BAO isn’t ignorant to the fact that many thousands of Londoners are craving the soft steamed buns and sticky pork belly that earned its first tiny Soho joint cult status back in 2015. To remedy this, it’s launched Rice Error, a futuristic new restaurant delivery service bringing BAO dishes and signature cocktails to Borough, Hackney and Fitzrovia. If you’re in the area, treat yourself to some Taiwanese fried chicken and get on the highballs. If you’re stuck inside — try the recipe below…


  • 35ml Whisky
  • 25ml Salted Citrus Cordial (for 100ml – combine 25ml lemon juice, 25ml lime juice, 50g caster sugar, a pinch of salt and a drop of citric acid)
  • 100ml Soda
  • 2 lemons
View this post on Instagram

The BAO-Hi is made using a salted citrus cordial & @suntorywhisky. Smokey & sour, its the perfect accompaniment to our grilled yellow chilli chicken wings.

A post shared by B A O (@bao_london) on Mar 9, 2020 at 3:31am PDT


  1. Start the day before by making the lemon tower. Slice both your lemons into 5mm thick slices.
  2. On a piece of cling film, lay the first lemon slice down, then overlap with the next one. Repeat until you get a line of overlapping lemon slices. Wrap the clingfilm around carefully and freeze overnight.
  3. Next, prepare your salted citrus cordial; again, this can be done in advance. Simply mix all ingredients together without heating until the solids have dissolved, then store in a bottle in the fridge until ready to use.
  4. When ready to drink, take your freezer-chilled highball glass from the freezer and fill with ice.
  5. Pour the whisky and cordial into the glass, then fill to almost the top with soda; it should mix itself as you pour.
  6. Garnish with the lemon tower, taking care not to break it as you do.

Want more cocktails? The Negroni is dead — and here’s what’s replacing it…

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