The 1876 edition of Jerry Thomas' The Bartenders Guide included the first published Gin Fizz recipe. Fizz is a cocktail category that includes a spirit with citrus, sugar, and sparkling water. It's similar to the Tom Collins recipe of gin, lemon, sugar, and soda water.
Fizzes were popular cocktails in the United States during the first few decades of the 20th century. During Prohibition, many people visited their local speakeasy to order a fizz. They have also often been enjoyed on National Cocktail Day.
One of its variations, the Ramos Gin Fizz, appeared in New Orleans in the late 19th century. This cocktail is still prevalent in many bar and restaurant operations in the city.
There are other variations of the original fizz, including the Sloe Gin Fizz. However, the Gin Fizz is the best-known cocktail in the fizz family. Read on to learn more about the cocktail’s origins and our Gin Fizz recipe.
Gin Fizz Cocktail
The classic Gin Fizz is a light and fresh cocktail that's perfect for brunch or with an appetizer at the bar. Its main ingredients are gin, lemon juice, sugar, and egg white. The ingredients are added to a cocktail shaker with ice and shaken, poured into a tumbler, and topped with carbonated water.
It's like the Tom Collins, with the distinction being the use of Old Tom Gin with a Tom Collins recipe. The type of gin used for early Gin Fizzes is unknown, while most modern popular cocktail recipes don't specify which gin to include in a Gin Fizz recipe.
The gin's floral notes interact with the lemon, while the egg white balances the texture with a velvet feel in your mouth. Here are four slight variations of the Gin Fizz:
- The Golden Fizz includes an egg yolk.
- The Royal Fizz recipe adds a whole egg.
- The Green Fizz calls for a dash of crème de menthe.
- The Diamond Fizz substitutes sparkling wines in place of carbonated water (more commonly known as the French 75).
Gin Fizz Recipe
Include a high-quality gin in your Gin Fizz recipe to ensure you have a good foundation for your drink. Gin is the only spirit in the cocktail, so it's the base for the rest of the ingredients.
Several gin brands would make good additions to your commercial or home bar essentials. Keep a few bottles in stock to be prepared to make a wide range of gin cocktails, including the Gin Fizz.
A London Dry Gin is a good choice because it adds botanical notes that balance the tart citrus flavors. You could also opt for a modern gin with soft, floral notes to create an equally delicious cocktail. Here’s our Gin Fizz recipe to make a refreshing gin cocktail for any occasion:
Gin Fizz Ingredients
- 2 oz. gin
- 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 0.75 oz. simple syrup
- 1 egg white (about 0.5 oz.)
- 1 oz. soda water (to top)
Gin Fizz Directions
- Add ice, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white to a cocktail shaker.
- Dry-shake (without ice) vigorously for about 15-20 seconds.
- Add 3-4 ice cubes and shake vigorously until well-chilled.
- Double strain into a chilled Collins glass and top with club soda.
*Raw Egg Warning: Consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs carries a risk of food-borne illness.
Gin Fizz Variations
There are two more significant variations of the Gin Fizz: the Ramos Gin Fizz and the Sloe Gin Fizz. Bartenders invented these after getting the idea to experiment with a classic Gin Fizz recipe.
Ramos Gin Fizz
The most famous Gin Fizz variation is the Ramos Gin Fizz. Unlike many other cocktail drinks, the origin of the Ramos Gin Fizz is well-documented.
Henry Charles "Carl" Ramos, the bartender at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans, first prepared his namesake drink in 1888. The Ramos Gin Fizz, along with the Sazerac, is a cocktail that has become a symbol of the city of New Orleans.
It has stood the test of time and is still one of the most beloved cocktails in the city. You'll see many revelers stopping by a cocktail bar to order one during the annual Mardi Gras festivities in the "Big Easy."
The Ramos Gin Fizz combines gin, citrus, simple syrup, an egg white, heavy cream, orange flower water, and club soda. Ramos used Old Tom Gin for the original cocktail, but most recipes call for London Dry Gin. It provides a base for the mixed drink, while the sugar and citrus add a burst of sweetness.
The egg white provides substance in your mouth, while the heavy cream facilitates a rich texture. Orange flower water evokes a fresh floral note, while the club soda adds effervescence.
The Ramos Gin Fizz is notorious for the amount of shaking needed. In the early days of the cocktail, legend has it that Ramos employed a group of "shaker men" as part of his bar staff to meet the constant demand from locals and tourists. One barback wasn’t enough help for Ramos to meet the physical demands of making the cocktail.
Ramos' men would take turns shaking the drink, which required 12-15 minutes under Ramos' supervision. Nowadays, bartenders and mixologists prepare the ingredients in under a minute.
Sloe Gin Fizz
The Sloe Gin Fizz is another variation of the Gin Fizz. It uses sloe gin, made from tiny berries (called "sloes") that grow wild in hedgerows around England.
Sloe berries are common in sweetened jams and preserves, and sloes develop a rich, tart flavor when infused in gin. It’s one of numerous types of alcohol that sources fruit as one of its main ingredients.
Sloe gin takes on the bright color of the berries. Then, distillers add sugar to balance the fruit's tartness. What remains after the process is a gin-based liqueur instead of gin. Bartenders and mixologists use it for several cocktails, such as the Alabama Slammer.
While the Slammer recipe calls for sloe gin, it doesn't feature it like the Sloe Gin Fizz cocktail. Unlike Ramos Gin Fizzes, the Sloe Gin Fizz leaves out the egg white in its typical recipe. We recommend adding this recipe to your bartender cheat sheet.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gin Fizz
Where Did the Gin Fizz Come From?
The Gin Fizz's origins aren't clear, but the recipe first appeared in the 1876 edition of Jerry Thomas' cocktail book The Bartender’s Guide. Many cocktail experts regard this as one of the best cocktail recipe books of all time. The Bartender’s Guide was the first publication to print the recipe. It exposed the Gin Fizz recipe to a larger audience of bartenders and the general public in the United States.
What Is the Difference Between a Gin Fizz and a Ramos Fizz?
The main difference between a Gin Fizz and a Ramos Fizz is the addition of orange flower water to a Ramos Gin Fizz. This ingredient significantly affects the flavor of a Ramos Gin Fizz. The orange flower water brings light citrus notes to the cocktail, so include a bottle in your bar setup for making a Ramos Gin Fizz.
Why Do They Call It Sloe Gin?
Sloe Gin gets its name from the purple sloe berries used to make it. Sloe berries grow on hedgerows in England but provide a bitter and unpalatable taste. Sloe Gin distillers add sugar to the process of making gin to interact with the sloe berries, producing a rich and tart flavor.
Add a Little Fizz to Your Routine
If you (or your bar patrons) are in the mood for some refreshing summer cocktails, then keep in mind the Gin Fizz recipe. Along with the Martini recipe and Gin and Tonic recipe, it’s one of the basic bar drinks that every bartender should master.