How to make a Silver Gin Fizz, the simple and delicious cocktail you need in your repertoire

Ask the Oracle Pour: What should I drink today? All signs point to the Gin Fizz, a drink with restorative powers

By Erin Keane
Published July 22, 2021 6:41PM (EDT)
Gin Fizz (Photo illustration by Ilana Lidagoster)
Gin Fizz (Photo illustration by Ilana Lidagoster)

"The Oracle Pour" is Salon Food's spirits column that helps you decide what to drink tonight.

Today, give yourself permission to focus on what replenishes you. Start with a self-check: Are you in need of restoration — physically, mentally, emotionally? You can only give so much of your energy and focus to work, school, family and friends before you run dry. In cocktail terms, if you drink too much the night before, the next morning's going to be rough on your body and will. Life's demands can also take a lot out of you. What might get you back to equilibrium?

Consider the Fizz, a category of cocktail that mixes citrus juice with liquor and sugar, served neat in a 6 to 8 oz. narrow-mouthed glass and topped with seltzer or club soda. My 1947 copy of Trader Vic's Bartenders Guide gets right to the heart of it in the Fizz chapter, calling it "an early morning drink with a definite purpose — a panacea for hangovers." News to those who weren't aware there were restorative properties unleashed by club soda, I suppose. David Wondrich's essential cocktail history "Imbibe!" cites the Fizz as hangover cure "par excellence" dating back to 1876.

Trader Vic's intro to Fizz recipes even cautions the bartender playing it fast and loose with freshness and proportions, in light of the customer's presumptive delicate constitution, with a little post-war light sexism as a garnish: "You have a man's life in your hands, so take it easy. You don't want him to peter out before noon, do you? That's scotch-and-soda time." (If you say so, Don Draper!)

(For the record, there are probably more prudent solutions, like hydration and a pledge to moderate in the future.)   

There's one way I can see a Fizz taking on those magical restorative powers — and that's with the addition of an egg. It's still a cocktail, sure, but with the addition of some protein, it's now also a second breakfast. Add an egg white to a basic Fizz to make a Silver Fizz; throw in an egg yolk to create a Golden Fizz; or shake in a whole egg, and it becomes a Royal Fizz.

Here's how making a Silver Gin Fizz replenishes me, and it's not as a hangover cure: Before I started making these, I had never worked with egg whites in cocktails before. It seemed like an ingredient best left to the professionals behind the craft cocktail bar — not something I should attempt at home. But learning replenishes me — my persistence, my patience and ultimately upon success, my confidence. And like many things that seemed more daunting before I tried them, it's really not that complicated. I recommend a dry shake first to really whip up the foam — 30 seconds should do — then add ice to the shaker for a vigorous 15-second second shake to thoroughly chill the drink before pouring. 

A Gin Fizz is a simple and delicious cocktail, sort of a cousin to a Tom Collins, less bracing than a gin and tonic and less alcoholic than a French 75. Shake lemon juice, gin and superfine sugar or simple syrup over ice, then strain into the tall glass and top with seltzer. The addition of an egg white doesn't change the flavor, but it does add a silkiness to the drink that smooths out the gin and lemon, softening its edges somewhat, taking it even one step further from a Collins and into more subtler, sophisticated territory. 

If you're concerned about food safety and salmonella from egg whites, or avoid eggs for any reason, you can substitute aquafaba, a chickpea-based foam that approximates the effect of egg whites. (Salon's Ashlie D. Stevens has a handy guide to making your own; sub in an ounce and a half of aquafaba for one egg white.)

There are so many spins on the basic Fizz formula — if you prefer rum, brandy or whiskey to gin, there's a Fizz for you, too — but you can't go wrong with a basic Silver Gin Fizz. 

Ingredients:

Serving size: one beverage

  • 2 or 3 oz. gin (choose your strength!)
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon of superfine sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • Seltzer or club soda
  • Ice for shaking
  • Fresh sprig of thyme for garnish, if you're feeling fancy

Gear:

You don't need any specialty equipment to mix a simple cocktail. Improvise with what you have; take a hammer to a baggie of ice if you want. But here's what I keep at hand:

Instructions:

Dry shake first: Add lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best), sugar, gin and egg white to a shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Add cracked ice and shake for another 15 to 20 seconds to thoroughly chill; then strain into a Collins, fizz or other tall, thin glass and top with seltzer. Dress it up with a garnish if you like — I recommend a sprig of thyme. Not into the egg white at all? Just eliminate it and the dry shake, and follow the rest of the recipe. 

Variations:

If you want a sipper on the rocks, go for a Tom Collins. Explore the many types of Fizz, from the dairy-fortified Ramos to the famous Sloe Gin. For a deeper thyme flavor, try infusing simple syrup with thyme (add a handful of fresh thyme to 1 part sugar to 1 part water, boil until the sugar dissolves, then steep the thyme for 30 minutes in the hot syrup before straining and cooling). 

More Oracle Pour:

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Erin Keane

Erin Keane is Salon's Editor in Chief.

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Cocktails Egg White Eggs Food Gin Gin Fizz Oracle Pour Recipe