A “fizz” is a mixed drink variation on the older sours family of cocktail. Its defining features are an acidic juice (such as lemon or lime) and carbonated water.
A gin fizz is the best-known cocktail in the fizz family. A gin fizz contains gin, lemon juice, and sugar, which are shaken with ice, poured into a tumbler and topped with carbonated water. The drink is similar to a Tom Collins, with a possible distinction being a Tom Collins historically used “Old Tom Gin” (a slightly sweeter precursor to London Dry Gin), whereas the kind of gin historically used in a gin fizz is unknown.
Simple variations on the gin fizz are
- Silver fizz – addition of egg white
- Golden fizz – addition of egg yolk
- Royal fizz – addition of whole egg
- Diamond fizz – sparkling wine instead of carbonated water, more commonly known as a “French 75”.
- Green fizz – addition of a dash of green crème de menthe
- Purple fizz – with Sloe gin and grapefruit juice (instead of gin and lemon juice)
The first printed reference to “fiz” is in the 1887 edition of Jerry Thomas’s Bartender’s Guide, which contains six such recipes. The fizz became widely popular in America between 1900 and the 1940s. Known as a hometown specialty of New Orleans, the gin fizz was so popular that bars would employ teams of bartenders that would take turns shaking the drinks. Demand for fizzes went international at least as early as 1950, as evidenced by its inclusion in the French cookbook L’Art Culinaire Francais published that year.