The Fizz is one of the most misunderstood drinks out there, in my book. To many it conjures up images of something along the lines of a French 75, with its pale yellow hue and refreshing peaks of ice. To others, a Fizz wouldn’t be a Fizz without a creamy head of egg white overflowing from the glass. Are both right? Are neither?

You can talk about what a Fizz isn’t almost as much as you can talk about what it is. A Fizz is a sour, but with the addition of soda water. And yet a Fizz isn’t a Collins, because it isn’t served over ice. But a Fizz isn’t the sort of sour that contains egg white, unless it is. Just as it doesn’t contain Champagne, except when it does. Then, to complicate matters even further, there are types of Fizzes, each with special names. Confused? I’m here to help.

What you need to sort through this morass of cocktail confusion is a little taxonomy. So to make understanding the Fizz easier to grasp, I’m going to categorize them for you. With this little guide, you’ll never be befuddled again (about Fizzes, at least). I assume gin to be the base spirit for all of these, but really a Fizz can be made with just about anything.

Fizz: gin, lemon, sugar, soda.
Silver Fizz: gin, lemon, sugar, soda, egg whites.
Golden Fizz: gin, lemon, sugar, soda, egg yolk.
Royal Fizz: gin, lemon, sugar, soda, whole egg.
Diamond Fizz: gin, lemon, sugar, Champagne.

While there’s a spot in my heart for each variation, the classic Gin Fizz is my favorite. Beautiful in its simplicity, and elegant as hell when made with the right gin, it’s also the sort of drink you can knock back a little too quickly if you’re not careful. I typically take mine with those lighter, floral gins like Tanqueray No. Ten and Bombay Sapphire in the warmer months, and heavier, more muscular gins such as Junipero and Old Raj when the sun is low and I’m in search of something more bracing.


• 2 oz. gin
• ¾ oz. lemon juice
• ½ oz. 2:1 simple syrup
• 2 oz. chilled soda water

Combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice cubes until cold. Add soda water to shaker, and strain into a tall, chilled glass without ice. Garnish with a lemon twist (optional).


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.