I’m going to go out on a limb and say that one of the most misunderstood drinks out there is the Fizz. People regularly come into my bar, order one up and are genuinely confused by what they receive. Lots of them are surprised by the lack of egg white. Some by the absence of ice. Others miss the cream. The point being that a guest rarely orders a Gin Fizz and seems to receive exactly what they hoped for.
I started tending bar at a time when the Fizz was genuinely unknown. The closest things to a Fizz we’d make would be a Vodka Collins (vodka and “Collins Mix”, a.k.a. Squirt on the soda gun) or maybe a Tequila Popper, a frat-party shot so atrocious I won’t even go into detail about it here. So it’s fair to say that a lot of us are just now experiencing the Fizz for the first time, despite its antique lineage.
Much like any classic cocktail, there is the Fizz, and then there are generations of variations on it. So let’s begin with the Classic Fizz, which is nothing more than gin, lemon juice, sugar, and carbonated water. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s essentially a Collins served without ice.
Here’s where all the variations come in. Add a dollop of egg white to that Fizz, and suddenly you have what’s called a Silver Fizz. Makes, sense, right? Because if you add an egg yolk, that plain Fizz becomes a Golden Fizz. And if you’re keen on adding a whole egg, that Silver/Golden Fizz is now called a Royal Fizz. And if you back all the way up and substitute Champagne for the soda water, and apparently it’s called a Diamond Fizz, though I’d personally rather serve the whole thing on ice in a tall glass and call it a French 75.
But something special happens when you add egg white, cream, and orange blossom water to the Gin Fizz, just as a Mr. Henry Ramos did at his New Orleans bar back in the late 19th century. The renowned drink was an inspired variation on the Fizz, and sought out partially due to the laborious nature of the drink. According to history, Mr. Ramos required the drink to be shaken for twelve minutes by a team of “shaker boys” in order to produce its signature froth.
These days we have some modern conveniences at our disposal: power tools and a better understanding of food chemistry. See, since fat is the natural sworn enemy of the egg white foam, it’s important to make sure you’ve got that egg white nice and frothy before adding the cream. We always use a blender to get the drink where we want it, add the cream, shake the hell out of it, and top with soda water just before straining into a tall glass.
Ramos Gin Fizz
• 1½ oz. London dry gin
• ½ oz. lime juice
• ½ oz. lemon juice
• ½ oz. 2:1 simple syrup
• 1 oz. egg white
• 1 oz. heavy cream
• 6 drops orange blossom water
• 1½ oz. chilled soda water
In a shaker or blender, combine gin, lemon and lime juices, simple syrup, orange blossom water, and egg white. Blend or shake without ice until very frothy, then add cream. Shake with ice until cold, then add soda water to the shaker. Strain into a tall chilled glass and serve.
Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the bar manager at Pépé le Moko and Clyde Common, the acclaimed gastropub at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon. He is also author of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM SOME BARTENDERS