The Riff

The Riff: The Ginger Highball with Virgil Kaine | Video

David Szlam crafts Ginger Highball
Heirloom Ginger Meets a Low-country Libation

Based out of Charleston, Virgil Kaine Ginger Infused Bourbon hits the smooth taste of the Southern staple, ginger ale and bourbon highball. Co-founder David Szlam shys away from tradition by crafting bold, infused whiskeys that embrace the latest infusion techniques.

Szlam turned his love for whiskey into a career after years of success in the culinary world, working under celebrated chefs such as Gary Danko, Alice Waters, and Roland Passot. He also went to open Cordavi in Charleston, where the restaurant gained national recognition. 

To create this particular infusion, Szlam partnered with John Warren from Spade & Clover Gardens in Johns Island, South Carolina. Warren harvests a young ginger that Szlam infuses into standard bourbon for six months, while also adding notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and lime. The result is Virgil Kaine’s signature and beloved original spirit.

Virgil Kaine Ginger Highball

Originating from the ball, a classic whiskey drink in late-1800s America, the highball included soda to please the liking of Europeans who commonly drank brandy and cognac. It is a simple cocktail, and Szlam’s way of introducing whiskey to those unaccustomed to drinking it. Virgil Kaine’s special taste allows for this highball to receive an extra hint of vanilla with dried apricot, ginger, and sherry notes. With a fresh-squeezed lime to finish off the two-ingredient refresher, the ginger highball is a drink meant to share conversations around.

ginger highball heading-plus-icon


1 drink

  • 1½ ounces Virgil Kaine Ginger Infused Bourbon
  • Soda water
  • 1 wedge of lime


In a collins glass filled with ice, add bourbon and top with soda water. Squeeze lime and stir to combine.

Video by: Jonathan Boncek

Edits by: Jack McAlister

Production by: Maggie Ward

Location: Doar Bros. in Charleston

  • Recipe By
    David Szlam, Virgil Kaine, Charleston, South Carolina
  • Charleston, South Carolina
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