Notes on The Gin Fizz (if we’re being strictly historic)
The Gin Fizz is one of the IBA’s official gin cocktails. The combination of gin, citrus, some form of sugar, and seltzer dates back to at least 1882’s Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Manual.
Johnson’s recipe calls for Old Tom Gin; however, as tastes changed over the next thirty years, we’d see the Old Tom slowly replaced with dry (unsweetened gin). But historically speaking, at the time the gin fizz cocktail evolved, Old Tom was the dominant expression of gin and therefore might have less been in there by request— and perhaps more so by default.
William Bernhard described the flavor of effervescing beverages in his 1850 edition of The Book of One Hundred Beverages as a “cooling saline beverage.” Which is why albeit unusual, for a more historically accurate Gin Fizz we suggest shaking a saline solution with the lemon, gin and simple syrup to better replicate the saline flavor of the original.