Whether you’re toasting the dwindling weeks of summer or chasing some dicey CNE concession fare, you’ll want to do it with a classic Gin Fizz.
An exit strategy from the CNE is always key—not just to avoid the crowds, but also to secure a suitable cocktail to wash down that pulled-pork red-velvet pancake. We heartily endorse the Gin Fizz, which happens to operate on four levels: The acidity works overtime to combat the fat; the freshness of the citrus strips away that tell-tale post-Exhibition grime; the fizz perks up a tired body; and the tall cold drink cools you right off. No wonder the cocktail first became popular in that humid, hedonist haven New Orleans, where “carnivalesque” is a permanent year-round feature and deep-fried fats, carbs, and sweets make up three of the four major food groups.
The New Orleans Fizz was invented in 1888 by teetotaller bartender Henry C. Ramos at his Imperial Cabinet Saloon, located just outside the French Quarter. The drink, popular both as a hair-of-the-dog for breakfast and as a summer-evening cooler, was such a hit that Ramos had to employ as many as six bartenders per shift just to shake the drink. (Not to mention a record-setting 35 for the 1915 Mardi Gras parade.)
Obviously, then, it’s a labour-intensive drink, with recipes demanding an absolute minimum of three minutes shaking time—some call for 12 minutes—so that the egg white and other ingredients (gin, cream, orange-flower water, lemon and lime juice, simple syrup, and, post-shake, soda) can properly marry to form the fluffy cloud of foam that tops a great fizz. Arguably, this is a crossover between bartending and pastry cheffing.
However, not all fizzes have quite such rigid requirements, which is probably a good thing, since we don’t much want to wait a quarter of an hour for our cocktail. Here are three in the city that deliver all the fizz you need to cope with during these last dog days of summer.
IN THE PHOTO ABOVE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT
Sloe Gin Fizz: At Goods and Provisions, they’ve brought back the Sloe Gin Fizz, a mid-century standard that subs in the heavy-in-flavour, light-in-alcohol Hayman’s Sloe Gin.
$12 ($6 between 5:30–7 p.m.). 1124 Queen St. E., 647-340-1738.
Ramos Gin Fizz: Momofuku Nikai whips up a silky, first-rate Ramos Gin Fizz, an original classic that really made the Fizz category a force to be reckoned with.
$13. 190 University Ave. 647-253-8000.
Paese Fizz: Paese’s Moses McIntee puts his own spin on the stalwart with a touch more orange than usual. The drink is light and twangy, the result of prodigious shaking.
$14. 333 King St. W., 416-599-6585.