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What is a Gin Fizz?

A.E. Freeman
Updated May 16, 2024
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A gin fizz is a type of cocktail that is made with lemon juice, sugar, soda, and gin. It typically was not served over ice. The cocktail was a variation on a gin sour and grew in popularity as carbonated soda water became more widely available. Unlike modern canned club soda, the soda used in gin fizzes was created as the drink was prepared by using a soda siphon.

Traditionally, a gin fizz was served in an 8-ounce, highball glass, which distinguished it from a Tom Collins, which was served in a larger, 12-ounce Collins glass. A Tom Collins was also usually made with a special brand of gin, known as Old Tom Gin, which was sweeter that plain gin. The two drinks have become similar as Old Tom gin has become more rare in the late 20th and early 21st century, and many bars and restaurants simply use regular gin for both a fizz and a Tom Collins.

Many bars also serve beverages in Collins glasses instead of the smaller highball glasses. The drinks may also be served over ice in contemporary times, and the sugar and lemon juice could be replaced with a pre-made sour mix. Freshly carbonated soda water is also a rarity in modern times.

A variation on the gin fizz is the Ramos gin fizz — a cocktail first created in the late 19th century at Meyer's Restaurant in New Orleans. The Ramos gin fizz adds cream, an egg white, and orange flower water to the traditional gin fizz recipe. This recipe may also contain vanilla, but that ingredient is contested. The addition of cream and egg white make the drink a popular pick for brunch and as a cure for hangovers.

Traditionally, the Ramos fizz is mixed in a cocktail shaker and is shaken for a long time to completely blend the ingredients. When the drink was made at Meyer's Restaurant, it may have been passed among the bar patrons, who each shook it for as long as they could stand. A regular gin fizz is not shaken.

Other variations on the traditional gin fizz include the golden fizz and silver fizz. A golden fizz has an egg yolk while a silver fizz contains an egg white. Generally, a fizz made with an entire egg is known as a royal fizz. The addition of creme de menthe liquor turns the cocktail into a green fizz.

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A.E. Freeman
By A.E. Freeman
Amy Freeman, a freelance copywriter and content creator, makes engaging copy that drives customer acquisition and retention. With a background in the arts, she combines her writing prowess with best practices to deliver compelling content across various domains and effectively connect with target audiences.
Discussion Comments
By summing — On Apr 04, 2012

You would be amazed how many bartenders don't know how to make a sloe gin fizz. I order one almost every time I go out and I get a lot of dumb looks. Luckily the recipe is simple and any bar worth their salt has the ingredients on hand.

So many times I've explained the recipe and the bartenders have called it by another much sillier name like the side car or the the juniper bomb.

By jonrss — On Apr 03, 2012

My dad always used to drink sloe gin fizzes. That is actually one of my strongest memories of him, a gin fizz in one hand and a parliament in the other.

I myself prefer the gin and tonic but it seems both me and my dad developed a taste for the gin cocktail.

By tigers88 — On Apr 02, 2012

I think a gin fizz is one of my favorite drink recipes. It is just so crisp and bright tasting and the addition of the club soda makes it taste so refreshing.

I love to make myself a gin fizz after work and sit on my patio and watch the sunset. I cannot think of anything more relaxing.

A.E. Freeman
A.E. Freeman
Amy Freeman, a freelance copywriter and content creator, makes engaging copy that drives customer acquisition and...
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