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Gin Fizz Cocktail Recipe
In the years before Prohibition, America had developed a full-blown cocktail culture. Despite the also-growing Temperance movement, the evening cocktail had become a staple for many, and one of the most popular cocktail types was the fizz, especially the gin fizz. While there’s an almost unending array of recipes, there are two features that should be constant – lemon juice and carbonated water.
The origins of the cocktail are unclear, but fizzes had made their appearance by at least the mid 1880s. The 1887 edition of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide is one of the first printed reference to the cocktail, and with six fizz recipes listed, it’s obvious that they were already widely popular. One of the most popular variations, the Ramos Gin Fizz, was said to be in such demand that bars were forced to have teams of bartenders taking turns shaking the drinks to most desirable massive frothiness.
Today if you wander into a bar and ask for a gin fizz, you’re most likely to be served a very basic gin fizz. It’s quick and tasty, and also very easy to duplicate at home.
Basic Gin Fizz Recipe
- 1 ½ oz. gin
- ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- Club soda
- Lemon slice for garnish
- Combine the lemon juice, simple syrup, and gin in a mixing glass.
- Fill with ice, and shake well.
- Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice.
- Top off with club soda.
- Serve garnished with the lemon slice.
How to make a basic Gin Fizz
If you’re looking at the recipe and thinking, “That looks an awful lot like a Tom Collins,” you’re right. In fact, the modern gin fizz and the modern Tom Collins are for all practical purposes the same drink. This doesn’t appear to be a case of a single drink with multiple names, however, since some editions of The Bartender’s Guide listed both drinks with slightly different recipes; these early recipes tended to call for a larger amount of lemon juice in the Collins. It also seems likely that different types of gin were used, since Holland gin (jenever), London dry gin, and the slightly sweetened Old Tom gin were all available.
With the similarities between the fizz and the Collins, though, the basic gin fizz is often forgotten. Instead, for many people the drink that comes to mind is a variation known as a Silver Fizz, which includes raw egg white. In this category, the Ramos Gin Fizz reigns supreme. It was invented by New Orleans bartender Henry C. Ramos in the late 1880s, and the end result is a very different drink than the basic fizz.
The Ramos Gin Fizz Cocktail Recipe
- 2 oz. gin
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1 egg white
- 1 oz. cream
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 3 dashes orange flower water
- soda water
- Place all ingredients except the soda water into a cocktail shaker. Do not add ice.
- Dry shake for several minutes until thick and frothy.
- Add two or three large ice cubes or chunks.
- Continue shaking for several more minutes.
- Strain into a tall glass – no ice.
- Top off with soda water.
Watch a master make the Ramos Gin Fizz
Occasionally, a recipe will call for dash of vanilla extract. While this seems to be a fairly minor detail, it can be a matter of intense debate for gin fizz fans. Unless you’re a cocktail purist that insists on keeping to the exact recipe, then it’s optional and purely a matter of taste.
Once upon a time, using eggs in cocktails was a fairly standard practice, but in recent years it has become something of a lost art. It’s much more labor intensive, but there are definitely paybacks for the extra effort. Egg white creates a texture and mouthful that can’t be duplicated, and the tall frothy meringue is certainly visually striking.
There’s really only one trick to an egg white cocktail: be prepared to work for it. According to legend, a proper Ramos Gin Fizz requires 12 minutes of shaking. Don’t worry – it can be done well with much less. Using a dry shake technique for the initial mixing will help you make a good start, but don’t try to skimp. Shaking is what breaks down the egg white, making the end result is frothy, not slimy. Or if you like the egg white meringue but not the shaking, break out the immersion blender to get things started.
Gin Fizz Variations:
- Silver Fizz – adds an egg white
- Golden Fizz – adds an egg yolk
- Royal Fizz – adds a whole egg
- Diamond Fizz – top off with sparkling wine instead of carbonated water
- Green Fizz – add a dash of green crème de menthe