A gin fizz is a type of cocktail that is made with lemon juice, sugar, soda, and gin. It typically was not served over ice. The cocktail was a variation on a gin sour and grew in popularity as carbonated soda water became more widely available. Unlike modern canned club soda, the soda used in gin fizzes was created as the drink was prepared by using a soda siphon.
Traditionally, a gin fizz was served in an 8-ounce, highball glass, which distinguished it from a Tom Collins, which was served in a larger, 12-ounce Collins glass. A Tom Collins was also usually made with a special brand of gin, known as Old Tom Gin, which was sweeter that plain gin. The two drinks have become similar as Old Tom gin has become more rare in the late 20th and early 21st century, and many bars and restaurants simply use regular gin for both a fizz and a Tom Collins.
Many bars also serve beverages in Collins glasses instead of the smaller highball glasses. The drinks may also be served over ice in contemporary times, and the sugar and lemon juice could be replaced with a pre-made sour mix. Freshly carbonated soda water is also a rarity in modern times.
A variation on the gin fizz is the Ramos gin fizz — a cocktail first created in the late 19th century at Meyer's Restaurant in New Orleans. The Ramos gin fizz adds cream, an egg white, and orange flower water to the traditional gin fizz recipe. This recipe may also contain vanilla, but that ingredient is contested. The addition of cream and egg white make the drink a popular pick for brunch and as a cure for hangovers.
Traditionally, the Ramos fizz is mixed in a cocktail shaker and is shaken for a long time to completely blend the ingredients. When the drink was made at Meyer's Restaurant, it may have been passed among the bar patrons, who each shook it for as long as they could stand. A regular gin fizz is not shaken.
Other variations on the traditional gin fizz include the golden fizz and silver fizz. A golden fizz has an egg yolk while a silver fizz contains an egg white. Generally, a fizz made with an entire egg is known as a royal fizz. The addition of creme de menthe liquor turns the cocktail into a green fizz.