The bubbles and popping corks of Christmas and New Year’s may be over, but drinkers can still add a little sparkle to their gin drinks in the first few months of 2018.

After the Gin and Tonic, Martini and Negroni, perhaps the next most famous drink is the Collins, but there is another drink of a similar age and province and with similar ingredients – although it certainly tastes different – the Gin Fizz.

The Gin Fizz (also spelt Fiz in some early recordings) is a variation on the Gin Sour and is made up of gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and soda water. The drink was created in the mid-19th century and the first written reference is in the second edition of
Jerry Thomas’ How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon Vivant’s Companion from 1876.

Gin Fiz
• 4 or 5 dashes of gum syrup
• juice of half a lemon
• 1 small wineglass of spirits

Fill the glass half full of shaved ice, shake up well and strain into a glass. Fill up the glass with Seltzer water from a siphon and drink without hesitation.

Readers who know their gin drinks may now be pondering: how is a Gin Fizz
different to a Gin Collins, given that they use the same ingredients?

The answer is three-fold. Firstly, the size – Gin Fizzes are about 50 per cent smaller than a Gin Collins. Second, there is preparation – the ingredients of a Gin Fizz are shaken with ice and then strained into a glass, before being topped up with soda; the serving glass contains no ice. In contrast, Gin Collins is simply built-up over ice in a Collins glass. Finally, as mentioned by Jerry Thomas, a Gin Fizz is meant to be drunk quickly. It is a thirst-quencher, whereas a Collins is designed to be sipped and savoured, hence the inclusion of ice, which helps to keep the drink cold.

Both drinks are made to an identical recipe; it is only the method that varies. Yet, when tasting the two side-by-side, the Gin Fizz is noticeably cooler than the Collins. The
Collins tastes sweeter and the gin seems stronger, too. It is a great example of how the process of shaking the ingredients can impact upon a cocktail.

The Gin Fizz warms up much more quickly than the Collins, because of the lack of ice in the glass, and so, over time, the Collins becomes much more palatable. If you order a Gin Fizz, be prepared to drink it quickly.

The Gin Fizz also inspired a number of variations, each with their own distinctive flavour profile. For many of these, the only variation is the inclusion of all or part of an egg. The Silver Fizz contains egg white, the Golden Fizz contains egg yolk, and the Royal Fizz contains both. In some circles, the Gin Fizz has become synonymous with the Silver Fizz and so is often served with egg white. The inclusion of eggs in a drink, is mostly about texture and creating froth on the drink.

But is the egg really necessary?

I can understand some readers having some reservations about drinking cocktails containing uncooked eggs and everyone has to make their own decision as to whether or not to drink them. It is worth bearing in mind that other foods also contain raw egg, such as hollandaise and bearnaise sauces, mousses, tiramisu and cake batter. In the UK, it is best to choose eggs with the Red Lion mark as these come from chickens that have been vaccinated against salmonella.

But if a drinker chooses to forgo the egg, how does that impact upon the flavour?

Gin Fizz
(containing no egg)

• 50ml Brockmans Gin
• 25ml lemon juice
• 15ml sugar syrup
• 120ml soda/sparkling water

Shake ingredients and strain into a glass, top up with soda or sparkling water.
Serve without ice.

When compared to the other egg-containing fizzes, this drink seems rather flat, thin and lifeless. It is less opaque in appearance, has a notably different texture and a slightly sharper flavour. However, when you consider it as a drink in its own right, it is crisp and refreshingly tart; on a hot day, it would really hit the spot.

Silver Fizz
(containing fresh egg white)

• 50ml Brockmans Gin
• 25ml lemon juice
• 15ml sugar syrup
• white of 1 egg
• 120ml soda/sparkling water
Shake ingredients and strain into a glass, top up with soda or sparkling water.
Serve without ice.

Silver-yellow in colour, with a large amount of stiff foam on top, this appears almost meringue-esque. The drink is quite dry, but well-rounded and has a distinctive crispness.

Silver Fizz II
(containing egg white from a carton)

• 50ml Brockmans Gin
• 25ml lemon juice
• 15ml sugar syrup
• 20ml egg white
• 120ml soda/sparkling water

Shake ingredients and strain into a glass, top up with soda or sparkling water.
Serve without ice.

A very nice drink. It seems somewhat lacking compared to those made using
fresh eggs, but perhaps that could be remedied by adding more egg white. The drink has the extra creaminess and foamy head provided by the egg. The big benefits of this version are the convenience of using pre-separated whites from a carton and
the knowledge that the egg whites have been pasteurised.

Golden Fizz
(containing one egg yolk)

• 50ml Brockmans Gin
• 25ml lemon juice
• 15ml sugar syrup
• yolk of 1 egg
• 100ml soda/sparkling water
Shake ingredients and strain into a glass, top up with soda or sparkling water.
Serve without ice.

A deep, rich orange in colour, this rather regal-looking cocktail positively glows from the glass. The texture is also thicker and creamier, although the foamy head seems less prominent than that on the Silver Fizz.

Royal Fizz
(containing both egg white and egg yolk)

• 50ml Brockmans Gin
• 25ml lemon juice
• 15ml sugar syrup
• 1 whole egg
• 120ml soda/sparkling water

Shake ingredients and strain into a glass, top up with soda or sparkling water.
Serve without ice.

This was the most balanced of these fizzes, with a nice mix of flavours; the ingredients are well-integrated. It also has the perfect combination of fluffy texture from the egg white and the richness brought by the yolk.

Cocktails are nuanced creations. Hopefully this short investigation demonstrates that even slight changes can make a significant difference to your drink and that the details are worth paying attention to. Perhaps next time you arrive a bit late to the party and are a drink or two behind, you can order a Gin Fizz to quickly quench your thirst? If your host looks at you with a quizzically-raised eyebrow, you can always fall back to a Martini.

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