Cascade Highball

Cascade Highball.

The Cascade Highball has unfortunately been somewhat forgotten. But it is worth turning your attention to this delicious highball.

30 ml Antica Formula vermouth
10 ml Cartron créme de cassis
80 ml Henry Thomas soda

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes, add the ingredients and stir gently.

Alternatively and currently preferred by us:

30 ml Antica Torino vermouth rosso
10 ml Freimeister Cassis
80 ml Henry Thomas Soda

Unfortunately, it is not known from where the Cascade Highball got its name. What it is supposed to have to do with a cascade, a waterfall, a shovel grate or a crash – that is the meaning in English – is not clear without further knowledge. In any case, it is very tasty, and so one would certainly like to “cascade” many of these highballs.

However, since the Cascade Highball originated in America, it is also possible that it got its name from the Cascade Mountains in the north-west of the USA. This is called “Cascade Range” or simply “Cascades” in English and stretches from Canada to northern California. Cascade hops also get their name from this mountain range. [1] [2]

What is certain, however, is that it originated from the French “Pompier”. [3] [4] Pompier does not mean a pump manufacturer, but rather a fireman – at least that is the possible translation. And the Pompier (as well as the Cascade) is indeed a great way to quench your thirst on a hot summer evening.

The Pompier differs from the Cascade only in the type of vermouth used. While the Pompier uses a French dry vermouth, the Cascade Highball uses a sweet Italian vermouth. In more recent recipes, the Cascade Highball is also known as “Vermouth-Cassis” or “Vermouth Cassis Highball”. However, this is not always clear, because sometimes a “Vermouth and Cassis Highball” is also identical with a Pompier. It should be noted that the Pompier is sometimes also called “Paris Midi”, and the version with vermouth (which probably means Italian) is also called Paris Midi in 1939. And French vermouth is also sometimes used for a Cascade, as in 1935 or 1953.

According to the Oxford Companion, the Pompier, or rather a mixture of French vermouth, cassis and soda water, was already popular in France in the 1880s. The New York newspaper ‘Courier des Ètats-Unis’ of 11 July 1882 is cited as the source for this. [5-752] We were not able to verify this information because we could not find the newspaper online. Subsequently, it is written that this mixture did not reach the United States until the 1930s. [5-752] This contradicts our findings: Louis Muckensturm describes such a mixture as early as 1906 as a ‘pompier’. However, a pompier was also understood to mean something else. In 1876 it was said: “A pompier! Baron Chaurand had just drunk his first Pompier, Vermout and Curaçao, and now wanted to drink a second one. [6-273]

J. Louis: La politique de Guignol. 1876, page 273.
J. Louis: La politique de Guignol. 1876, page 273. [6-273]

– “Un pompier! C’était le baron Chaurand qui venait de siffler son premier pompier, vermout et curaçao, et qui s’apprêtait à en avaler un second. [6-273]

Since cassis was first commercialised in the 1840s by Denis Lagoute, followed by other producers, [5-204] the mixture of vermouth and cassis could not have been created before then. In particular, in 1878, when phylloxera destroyed the vines in Burgundy, many winegrowers saw cassis as an alternative and planted blackcurrants. As a result, cassis experienced a real boom and cassis became an integral part of French aperitif culture. [5-204]

The recipe for a Cascade Highball was first printed in 1913 by Jacques Straub. In the following years, the ratio of vermouth and cassis always remains the same: equal parts are used. In our opinion, however, this results in a drink that is too sweet, and we suggest using less cassis. This ratio is not proven by historical Cascade recipes, but a look at the Pompier helps. The first five printed recipes we could find are as follows:

1906 Muckensturm: Louis‘ Mixed Drinks, page 100. Pompier.

Take one liqueur-glass of Cassis, and
One-half a bar-glass of French Vermouth.
Put in a high-ball glass with a lump of ice, and fizz with

1909 Seutter: Der Mixologist, page 64. Pompier (französisch).

In ein High-Ball-Glas gebe man;
1 Stück Kristalleis,
1 Likörglas Crême de Cassis,
1 Sherryglas französischen Vermouth.
Fülle auf mit Selterswasser, mische mit Barlöffel.

1912 Boothby: The World’s Drinks, page 66. Pompier. A Famous French Drink.

Into a highball glass place a pony of Crême de Cassis, a lump of ice
and a jigger of French vermouth; fill the glass with siphon seltzer, stir and

1913 Schönfeld & Leybold: Lexikon der Getränke, page 165: Pompier.

In ein Fizzglas gebe: 2 Stck. Eis, 1/2 Cocktailglas
Creme de cassis, 1 Cocktailglas franz. Vermouth, fülle
auf mit Selters und mische.

1913 Straub: A Complete Manual of Mixed Drinks, Seite 77. Pompier.

1/2 Jigger French Vermouth.
1/2 Jigger Creme de Cassis.
1 lump Ice.
Fill with Siphon.

Since the Cascade evolved from the Pompier, and since for the Pompier, not only in the recipes listed here, but in general, the wormwood proportion is preferably higher than that of the Cassis, there is nothing to be said against using the increased wormwood proportion in the Cascade, even if it cannot be proven specifically for this with historical recipes. In past times, the mixing ratio would have been varied according to personal taste.

  1. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaskadenkette: Kaskadenkette.
  2. Nina Anika Klotz. Gimme Hops, Jo’anna. Mixology 1/2016s Seite 109.
  3. Charles H. Baker, Jr.: The Gentleman’s Companion. New York, Crown Publishers, 1946. Seite 98.
  4. Bill Kelly: The Roving Bartender. Hollywood, Oxford Press, 1946. Seite 44.
  5. David Wondrich & Noah Rothbaum: The Oxford companion to spirits & cocktails. ISBN 9780199311132. Oxford University Press, 2022.
  6. https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5467977f/f280.image.r=pompier%20vermouth%20cassis?rk=4570838;0 J. Louis: La politique de Guignol. Saint-Étienne, 1876.
Cascade Highball.
Cascade Highball.

Historical recipes

1913 Straub: A Complete Manual of Mixed Drinks, Seite 76. Cascade High Ball.

1/2 Jigger Italian Vermouth.
1/2 Jigger Creme de Cassis.
1 lump Ice.
Fill with Siphon.

1914 Straub: Drinks. Seite 62. Cascade High Ball.

1/2 jigger Italian vermouth.
1/2 jigger crême decassis.
1 lump ice. Fill with siphon.

1916 Grohusko: Jack’s Manual. Seite 97. Cascade High-Ball.

50% M. & R. Italian Vermouth
50% Creme de Cassis
1 lump ice. Fill with Siphon.

1928 Chicote: Cocktails. Seite 349. Cascada-Highballs.

Prepárese en un gran vaso:
Unos trocitos de hielo.
1/2 copita de vermut italiano.
1/2 – de crema de cassis.
Agítese con una cucharilla y termínese de lle-
nar el vaso de agua de seltz.

1930 Corrales: Club de Cantineros. Seite 98. Cascade Highball.

1/2 vasito vermouth Italiano.
1/2 vasito crema de Casis.
Pedazo de hielo. 1/4 agua mineral aparte.

1931 John: „Happy Days!“. Seite 74. Cascade Cocktail.

50 per cent M. & R. Italian Vermouth
50 per cent Creme de Cassis
One lump ice. Fill with siphon.

1933 Todd: Mixer’s Guide. Seite 71. Cascade Highball.

One-half jigger Italian Vermouth.
one-half jigger Creme de Cassis.
One lump ice. Fill with siphon.

1934 Anonymus: A Life-Time Collection of 688 Recipes for Drinks. Seite 74. Cascade Highball.

1/2 jigger Italian Vermouth 1 lump of ice
1/2 jigger Crême de Cassis Fill with syphon

1934 Gordon: Gordon’s Cocktail and Food Recipes. Seite 105. Vermouth Cassis.

2 Italian Vermouth
1 Crème de Cassis
Add a Cube of Ice.
Stir, add Soda Water to taste and serve.

1935 Blunier: The Barkeeper’s Golden Book. Seite 165. Vermouth Cassis H. B..

Lump of Ice
1/2 French Vermouth
1/2 Crème de Cassis
balance Soda

1935 Crockett: The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book. Seite 105. Cascade.

One pony Crème de Cassis (goblet)
One pony French Vermouth
Fizz with Seltzer

1937 R. de Fleury: 1800 – And All That. Seite 194. Cascade Highball.

1/2 Oz. Italian Vermouth
1/2 Oz. Creme de Cassis
1 Lump of Ice
Fill with Soda.

1937 United Kingdom Bartenders Guild: Approved Cocktails. Vermouth and Cassis.

75% French Vermouth.
25% Crème de Cassis.
Use medium size glass and fill with soda water.

1937 Salvador Trullos Mateu: Recetario internacional de cock-tails. Seite 152. Cascade Highball.

Medio vasito vermouth FERRERO.
Medido vasi to crema de Casis.
Pedazo de hielo.
Cuarto bot. agua mineral SAN AGUSTIN.

1939 Anonymus: Cuna del Daiquiri Cocktail. Seite 47. Paris Midi.

Use a 10 ounces glass.
Cracked ice.
1/3 Creme Cassis.
2/3 Vermouth.
Sparkling water.
Stir with a spoon and serve.

1944 Harmann Burney Burke: Burke’s Complete Cocktail & Drinking Recipes. Seite 105. Vermouth Cassis.

2 Italian Vermouth
1 Creme de Cassis
Add a Cube of Ice.
Stir, add Soda Water to taste and serve.

1948 Trader Vic: Bartender’s Guide. Seite 345. Vermouth-Cassis.

2 oz. French vermouth 1 tbs. crème de cassis
Mix in large wineglass with lump of ice; add Schweppes
soda or seltzer to fill.

1949 Harry Schraemli: Das grosse Lehrbuch der Bar. Seite 324. Cassis-Vermouth.

In ein Aperitifglas gibt man 2/3 Cassis, 1/3 Vermouth und
füllt auf mit Sodawasser. (Kann auch mit Wasser ver-
dünnt getrunken werden.)

1949 Harry Schraemli: Das grosse Lehrbuch der Bar. Seite 454. Vermouth-Cassis.

In. einen Tumbler gibt man 1/2 Glas Cassis und 1/2 Glas
ital. Vermouth. Auffüllen mit Sodawasser.

1953 Leo Cotton: Old Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide. Seite 42. Cascade.

1 oz. French Vermouth
1 oz. Creme de Cassis
1 Cube of Ice
Use 8 oz. Stem Goblet and fill balance
with Carbonated Water and stir.

1965 Anonymus: John de Kuyper’s Complete Guide to Cordials. Seite 15. Vermouth Cassis, Sweet.

1 ounce De Kuyper Creme de Cassis
2 ounces sweet vermouth
Pour Creme de Cassis and vermouth over
ice cubes in goblet or Old-Fashioned
glass, fill with soda.

1966 John Doxat: Booth’s Handbook of Cocktails and Mixed Drinks. Seite 117. Vermouth Cassis.

2 oz. Dry Vermouth (or Sweet)
1/2 oz. Cassis (Blackcurrant Cordial)
Pour over ice in tumbler; add splash of Soda-Water.
(Traditional French aperitif drink.)

explicit capitulum


Hi, I'm Armin and in my spare time I want to promote bar culture as a blogger, freelance journalist and Bildungstrinker (you want to know what the latter is? Then check out "About us"). My focus is on researching the history of mixed drinks. If I have ever left out a source you know of, and you think it should be considered, I look forward to hearing about it from you to learn something new. English is not my first language, but I hope that the translated texts are easy to understand. If there is any incomprehensibility, please let me know so that I can improve it.

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