Cinnamon Fizz
  • 2 oz. Hayman's Old Tom gin
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. cinnamon syrup*
  • 1 egg white

Shake everything with ice and strain into highball glass. Fill with club soda, stir, and garnish with a long strip of orange peel.

~ A Dr. Bamboo original creation

During these holiday times, you'll be getting plenty of thick, sweet, creamy drinks. Egg nog will be cascading into and out of drinking vessels everywhere, and you will be plied with all manner of syrupy, dairy-based concoctions employed as a delivery system for all the usual yuletide flavors: chocolate, mint, apple, etc.

Far be it from me to condemn these potions. I love that type of drink, but over the next few weeks, there's a good chance I'll find myself consuming a staggering amount of them. Which is why I often attempt to restore bibulous balance by going for lighter drinks this time of year.

Which brings me to the Fizz. Fizzes come in wide variety of configurations, but almost always include a splash of citrus, a touch of sugar, soda water, and egg white in addition to a base spirit. Cream or half-and-half may be added (as in the well-known Ramos Gin Fizz), but since we're keeping things light, I'd suggest eschewing that particular ingredient for now.

Fizzes have been conventionally enjoyed as Summertime coolers and morning-after restoratives, but I see no reason they can't put to work as a holiday tipple. They have few ingredients, and they're usually nothing terribly exotic. Aside from separating an egg, they're pretty much a "dump & shake" style drink, and when prepared correctly, look festive as all get-out thanks to the ample froth provided by the egg white.

But I'd be remiss without mentioning the price that must paid for a Fizz: Shaking.

To properly make a Fizz, you need to shake it, and shake it well. Times vary depending on the recipe and the mixologist, but a solid minute should be considered a bare minimum. I like to go for at least 2-3 minutes, but some people have been reputed to go as long as seven ( again, see Ramos Gin Fizz ). As with many things, I encourage investigation and experimentation, but you will find that there are no short cuts to a nice, frothy Fizz without putting in the requisite elbow grease.

But there are upsides to all this shaking. Here are just three examples of the benefits of whipping up a fizz:

1) Exercise. Not only will several minutes of vigorous shaking keep you warm, but it will burn calories as well. Should you find yourself in an under-heated room or in need of activity to offset previous indulgences, you're a winner either way.

2) Noise cancellation. Hate the song that just came on? Can't get out of earshot of that boring person who is talking just a little too loudly? The bold yet pleasant rattle of the shaker will eclipse both handily.

3) Pacing. You and your fellow revelers will benefit from the labor-intensive ritual the fizz requires. With the drinks coming at slower intervals due to lengthy shaking times, moderation is enforced by the inherent nature of the preparation (Unless you've got some Hell-bent characters sneaking off to down shots every 5 minutes. They've chosen their path, and there's not much that can be reasonably done with them once they've set foot upon it.)

So maybe this is the year you'll give the punch bowl some time off for the holidays and let your shaker grab the limelight. And remember that there's no law that says you have to remain behind the bar while shaking up drinks- a great feature of the cocktail shaker is its small size affords freedom of movement while mixing. If you go this route and decide to roam about the party, you may just find yourself beneath a hunk of mistletoe. If this happens, my advice would be to stay put and keep shaking (for the sake of the drink of course).

Happy Holidays!

~ Dr. Bamboo

* to make cinnamon syrup, break up 3 or 4 cinnamon sticks into small pieces. Place cinnamon pieces in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups sugar (Demerara is great if you can find it) and 1 cup water. Stir continuously over low/medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, cover saucepan and let sit for 2 hours. Bottle and refrigerate (it should keep for at least a month).