“Let’s take a drink, Charlie; nobody’s watching,” Grandpa Joe says to Charlie surreptitiously, iridescent bubbles floating about his balding head. After a pop of the cap and swig of Willy Wonka’s Fizzy Lifting goods, the two are buoyed into the air, arms doggy-paddling through a sea of bubbles.
If a fizz is made properly, this is the sort of atmospheric effect it should have on the drinker.
A fizz is simply a sour with the addition of bubbly water. Any base spirit can be used (gin is the most famous), along with citrus and a sweetener which is then shaken with ice and strained into a narrow glass—such as a highball or a short fizz glass—and topped with soda water. These drinks are meant to be slurped and gulped—think of them as the ideal end to a long day of manual (or mental) labor, or a morning Rx after a night of tying on one too many. Plus they’re easy on the eyes. Often frothy with a pillowy head of foam, fizzes are the petticoat-donning belles of the cocktail canon. They demand to be admired.
Variations on the fizz abound, but a nice introduction is the clean and simple classic. The four-ingredient Gin Fizz is the blueprint for any bubble-laden cocktail. Add a bit of lime, cream, egg white and orange flower water and you’ve got a Ramos Gin Fizz. Swap gin for Scotch and a dash of absinthe and it’s a hangover-helping Morning Glory Fizz. With the addition of sloe gin it becomes a—you guessed it—Sloe Gin Fizz. And nix the gin altogether for absinthe and you’ve got a Seapea Fizz.
All hiss and pop underneath their blankets of soda and egg white. And all are “shades of green oasis in the sandy desert of life,” as bartender Ernest P. Rawling said in his 1914 Rawling’s Book of Mixed Drinks. These are the drinks that remind us that there is reward for one’s efforts.
“You can fly to the moon this way,” says Charlie. Right you are, Charlie.