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
  • Ice


  1. Shake juice, sugar, egg and gin with ice. Then shake it some more.
  2. Don’t stop shaking yet.
  3. If you are using pasteurized egg whites, keep shaking.
  4. Once you’re worn out, strain into a fizz or highball glass (don’t put any ice in the glass).
  5. 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.

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Re: Silver Gin Fizz

I was gob-smacked by this drink. I was expecting something a little girly, but not so. This is a sophisticated, subtle and wonderful drink… one I will be happy to have as a start to any evening.

Re: Silver Gin Fizz

This cocktail has fast become one of my all time favorites. It has a sophistication of taste that rises well above the sum of the ingredients. My only alteration is to skip the soda water. I think it tastes better without.

As for David’s concern about girly drinks — isn’t it time we got past our Martini driven cocktail insecurities? Eric Felten’s book How’s Your Drink? has a terrific chapter on this very subject.

Re: Silver Gin Fizz

I can’t stand Pina Coladas and White Russians. All my girl friends love them. These, to me, are examples of girly cocktails :-)

Mind you, I haven’t tried either of these in about 20 years. Maybe my tastes have changed.

Re: Silver Gin Fizz

There was once a time when a man was judged by the austerity of his martini or the phenolic wallop of the peat in his whisky. But we live in a less retrograde time, when the average American male can walk into a bar and order whatever he likes — say, an apple martini or a lemon drop — without fear of ridicule. The new cocktail lounge is a refuge from the stale social stereotypes, a live-and-let-live oasis of choice.

Fat chance.

See my book for more details

Re: Silver Gin Fizz

I’m not a fan of drinking raw egg whites i’d skip out on it and find some alternative but sounds like a good drink im a huge fan of gin all my local bar tenders know me as a local and have drinks ready once they see me which is great or maybe not some say i should find a alcohol rehabilitation center but i drink responsibly and have fun when i go out.

Re: Silver Gin Fizz

So you drink enough that all the bartenders in town know you so well that they have your drinks ready for when you walk into the bar — but you are too big of a baby to try some raw egg white!

It sounds too me like you should be plenty pickled to absorb anything the egg whites might transmit.

Re: Silver Gin Fizz

Hey! this is a wonderful drink. This cocktail has fast become one of my all time favorites. It has a sophistication of taste that rises well above the sum of the ingredients.

Re: Silver Gin Fizz