For this week’s Monday Booktails post, I searched through Sasha Petraske’s Regarding Cocktails for something that I could serve before Easter dinner. A drink called a Silver Fox caught my eye because I loved its blend of gin, lemon, and amaretto, and because I was drawn to the fact that it’s a variation on a gin fizz. The most simple form of a fizz includes the base spirit, which is very often gin, a citrus juice, and sugar, all topped off with a carbonated something or other. It’s light and refreshing and perfect for spring, if it ever decides to arrive. As I write this post, there’s snow in the forecast for tomorrow, April 2nd. Unbelievable. Anyway, when an egg white is added to a gin fizz, it brings a heavier body and a creamier texture to the drink. The classic drink called a Silver Fizz is made with all the ingredients I’ve just mentioned: gin, superfine sugar, lemon juice, and an egg white, all topped with club soda. Petraske makes two simple changes in his variation: he adds Orgeat, a syrup made from almonds, and tops the club soda with Amaretto. These minor changes take the drink from being a simple and pleasantly refreshing fizz to something that makes you say wow. It always amazes me that it often doesn’t take very much to make that happen in a cocktail. Petraske’s philosophy on altering classic cocktails was very clear. He believed that there were so many classics out there to learn that a bartender shouldn’t start changing them up until he knew them all, inside and out. I think this way of thinking is equally relevant for home bartenders. Although we can’t possibly know all the classics in quite the same way as someone who spends hours making drinks behind a bar professionally, we can learn quite a few of them just by trying to make one or two every week. Many are simple in technique, with readily available ingredients. Once we’ve begun to master a few, we begin to value the importance of precise measuring, fresh ingredients, glassware, and all the many elements that go into making great cocktails. One day we make a minor change to a classic and it really works. We puff up with the knowledge that this drink is ours. We can’t wait to make it for friends. That’s it. We’re hooked. Cheers everyone. Happy Monday!
Combine the egg white, orgeat, lemon juice, and gin in a cocktail shaker and shake to emulsify the mixture. Add ice and vigorously shake until very cold. Strain into a Collins glass. Top off with the club soda and float the Amaretto on top. Garnish with a lemon wheel and serve with a straw. Enjoy!
*There are many recipes for Orgeat online if you’d like to make your own. I’ve found Giffard’s version to be truly excellent, as are all their products, and it’s available at Traino’s in Marlton, NJ if you’re local to the Philadelphia area.