When a Fizz is a Collins and a Smash is a Julep

Fizzes and fixes and flips.... well, I was gonna finish that with the Wizard of Oz ditty, but I'll take whatever shred of dignity and taste I have remaining and spare everyone.

This post is a selfish one, wherein I try to get these categories settled. There's some convolution here, in that some of the categories blur into one another depending on the cocktail book you're reading, exactly the same as how cocktail recipes vary from book to book. I would love some feedback if someone's definition is different than posted here.

Let's dig in.

Buck: spirit, lemon or lime juice, ginger ale (or ginger beer?) I'm unsure if ginger beer excludes a cocktail from the buck category. Does this mean a Moscow Mule and a Gin-Gin Mule is actually a buck???

Cobbler: wine or sherry, simple syrup, crushed ice, gobs of fresh fruit as garnish.

: spirit, sugar (simple syrup), lemon juice built in a highball, topped with soda water with a lemon or orange twist and a cherry as garnish. A different spirit changes the name of the collins...
Tom Collins: London dry gin.
John Collins: in London, Holland gin. In America, bourbon or whiskey.
Pedro Collins: white rum
Rum Collins: dark rum
Captain Collins: Canadian whisky
Sandy Collins: Scotch whisky
Colonel Collins: bourbon
Mike Collins: Irish whiskey
Pierre Collins: Cognac
Joe Collins: Vodka (why it's not something like a Boris Collins is beyond me)
Rueben (or Pepito) Collins: tequilla
Pisco Collins: Pisco (natch)

Cooler: this one's a snap. Spirit, carbonated beverage over ice, citrus twist.

Daisy: spirit, fruit syrup or grenadine, crushed ice, topped with soda water.

Fizz: spirit, citrus juice, simple syrup, soda water. Sound familiar? Yup, the ingredients are exactly the same as a Collins. The differences lie in the garnish, preparation and glass. A Collins is built in the glass it is served in, a highball. A Fizz is shaken (prior to adding the soda water), strained into a rocks-filled old-fashioned glass, then topped with the soda water. Fizzes also frequently contain an egg. Here's a list of the different Fizzes, according to egg component:
Silver Fizz: egg white
Golden Fizz: egg yolk
Royal Fizz: whole egg

Flip: wine, spirit, liqueur, or even beer, whole egg, sugar and sometimes cream, straight up in a wine goblet, either hot or cold, fruit garnish.

Gimlet: spirit, simple syrup, Rose's lime juice. Not fresh squeezed lime juice, but Rose's specifically.

Julep: spirit, mint, simple syrup, crushed ice. The word julep comes from the Arabic (julap) which means 'rose water'. The irony of course is that there is no rose water in a julep.

Rickey: order a gimlet in my bar, and this is what you'll get...spirit, fresh lime juice, simple syrup.

Sling: spirit, juice, bitters, fruit brandy, soda water, fruit garnishes.

Smash: spirit, mint, simple syrup. Now this sounds just like a bleeping julep, to me. I've read that lemon juice is added to differentiate it from a julep, and also that crushed ice is actually the difference-maker. Sigh. Any help out there???

Sour: spirit, lemon juice, simple syrup. Not so hard. Quite a few recipes include egg white. Obviously, there are a lot of people who take issue with the egg. What I do is top it off with soda water in the shaker, then shake the crap out of it as if it contained egg white. Then you get foam without the textural and trace flavor of the egg. Personally, I like the egg... in some sours.

I skipped over a few (highball, crusta, swizzle, toddy), but I think I hit the majors. And maybe, just maybe, I cleared up these terms for myself.


erik.ellestad said...

Hey Keith... It depends on who you ask; but, according to Jerry Thomas' book, the only real difference between a julep and a smash is size. Juleps have "1 1/2 wine glasses" of liquor and are served in a "large bar glass". Smashes have "1 wine glass" of liquor and are served in a "small bar glass". I think it was Dale DeGroff that started adding the lemon to the smash. Tasty; but, not traditional. ~Erik

Anonymous said...

Hey Bartender,
I wanted a SWEET SUPER BLOWJOB for my graduate girlfriend last night and you wouldn't make it?!!?!?!?! WHTE%@#$%@^^$%#$^#$ She was sober and I was confused! Please help; me!!

keith waldbauer said...

ladies and gentleman, introducing erik witsoe, the illustrious and ever classy bartender from tavolata. and no, i will not eat green eggs and ham, and no, i will not make your girlfriend a sweet super blow job shot.... especially in front of your ma, who is hilarious by the way.

mr flannestead, or, the other erik: sure wish the categories had more of a differentiation than bar glass size. if i want to putz around with the classics, adding seasonal fruit or something else to the traditional recipe yet still use the name, it seems like i can just use whichever name i feel like. glad dale added lemon juice as a possible point of departure...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clear description of the differences between the Fizz and Collins families of drinks, I actually got to use this information with my family working my home bar this past week.

And thanks for illuminating why not to make the, errrr, 'Sweet Super Blowjob', but now methinks I have an idea for Mixology Monday... Hmmmmmmm.

Dr. Bamboo said...

Hi Keith- I just found my way here via the Cocktail Chronicles and discovered that you had me in your blogroll...Thanks! I'll get you added to mine right away.

Looking forward to future posts- good stuff!

Anonymous said...

"Rickey: order a gimlet in my bar, and this is what you'll get...spirit, fresh lime juice, simple syrup."

Am I crazy? When I read this, I had to check four or five other places, because one of us has a funny idea of what a "rickey" is. I hate to tell you your business, but I couldn't find anyone to back you up. A rickey is two parts spirit, one lime juice, four soda, served on the rocks. No sweetener is called for.

A gimlet, on the other hand, is spirit and sweetened lime juice. Usually served straight up, but sometimes on the rocks. It's a much stronger drink.

If I ordered one and you gave me the other, I'd send it back. In no wise are they equivalent.

Anonymous said...

If a collins is served in a highball glass, what do I serve in my collins glasses?

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