Silver Gin Fizz
Dry gin came of age in the golden era of the cocktail, and in the ’30s and ’40s there were more gin cocktails than any other kind. Among those hundreds of gin drinks is the Gin Fizz, which up until mid-century was one of the country’s favorite cocktails. In the Fizz’s heyday, bars in New Orleans were staffed with scrums of men whose only job was the shaking of Fizz’s. They worked as tag teams; when one man tuckered out, he’d pass the shaker to the next man, and so on. During the 1915 Mardi grass, a bar called The Stag had 35 bartenders managing the shakers; according to one writer, “they nearly shook their arms off, but were still unable to keep up with the demand.”
- Juice of ½ a lemon (aprox 1 oz)
- Juice of ½ a lime (optional) (aprox 1 oz)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or less, to taste)
- 1 egg white
- 2 oz gin
- Chilled soda water
- Cocktail shaker
- Fizz or highball glass
- Shake juice, sugar, egg and gin with ice. Then shake it some more.
- Don’t stop shaking yet.
- If you are using pasteurized egg whites, keep shaking.
- Once you’re worn out, strain into a fizz or highball glass (don’t put any ice in the glass).
- Top the frothy mix with a few ounces of cold soda water.
What you should know
Why did a drink as worthy as the Fizz fall into such decline? I suspect it has less to with the risk it poses to those allergic to eggs (and I hope you know who you are) than with the more general concern that a drink made with raw eggs is fraught with danger of salmonella contamination. “It is not, on a case by case basis, a grave risk,” says Christopher Baden, MD, the head of the food-borne illness shop at the Centers for Disease Control (and a refreshingly non-alarmist official). The risk that a given egg is tainted with salmonella is about 1 in 20,000, and the fact that you’ll be drinking alcohol is some reason to relax. According to the journal Epidemiology a few years back, alcohol appears to provide a modest “protective effect’ against salmonella. The evidence came from a wedding buffet in Spain with tainted potato salad. Just about every one of the guests who ate it got sick — expect, that is, for those who were drinking alcoholic beverages.
the recipe and text above are reprinted from the book “How’s Your Cocktail?” with the permission of the author.