Apple shrub gin fizz cocktail is a crisp refreshing gin apple cocktail using a pink lady apple shrub syrup drinking vinegar, gin and agave syrup shaken with ice and topped with soda water. The pink lady apple shrub syrup drinking vinegar is made with in season pink lady apples, apple cider vinegar, low GI cane sugar, star anise and Australian indigenous spices strawberry gum and cinnamon myrtle. We are at the peak of apple season here and the pink lady apples are delicious – very firm, crisp, sweet apples which pair wonderfully with the sweetness and spice of star anise – the anise flavour adds complexity and depth to this cocktail and works wonderfully with gin as do the freshness of strawberry gum and cinnamon myrtle. This apple shrub gin fizz cocktail recipe is inspired by Jerry Thomas’ 1876 recipe for ‘246. Gin Fiz.’ (note the single z), appearing in his Bar-tender’s Guide (Thomas 1876: 90; Wondrich 2015: 133) and offers a seasonal pickle twist on this with the use of a pink lady apple shrub syrup flavoured with star anise, strawberry gum and cinnamon myrtle, to sour and flavour the fizz, rather than straight lemon juice. This apple shrub gin fizz cocktail is a lovely drink to celebrate apple season and is garnished with a gorgeous apple wheel or an apple fan. The apple shrub gin fizz cocktail embodies the roots of the ‘fiz’ in punch through the addition of warm and refreshing spice notes in the shrub syrup – star anise, strawberry gum, cinnamon myrtle – that complement the crispness of pink lady apples, sourness of apple cider vinegar and botanicals of gin.
What is a gin ‘fiz’ or gin fizz cocktail?
Ingredients & measures for the ‘fiz’ or fizz – A ‘fiz’ as it was first described by Jerry Thomas and helpfully interpreted by David Wondrich in Imbibe (Thomas 1876: 90; Wondrich 2015: 134) or fizz, contained 4-5 dashes or 1 ½ teaspoons of gum syrup, juice from ½ a lemon and a ‘small wine glass’, 2 oz or 2 shots of spirit – it could be made with whiskey, brandy, gin or Santa Cruz rum – and was topped with seltzer water to lengthen the drink. For a fizz with eggs or cream or on a larger scale see below on variations and related drinks. In the recipe for the apple shrub gin fizz cocktail I have used the measures suggested by David Wondrich (2015: 134) in Imbibe, except for the gum syrup which I have changed out to one teaspoon of agave syrup.
How to make a gin ‘fiz’ or gin fizz cocktail: shake with ice, strain, top with seltzer water – Jerry Thomas (1862: 90) describes the method for making a ‘fiz’ which requires the spirit, lemon and gum syrup to be added to a ‘small bar glass’ which is to be filled ‘half full of shaved ice’, shaken and strained into a glass and topped with seltzer water, he writes:
“Fill the glass half full of shaved ice, shake up well and strain into a glass. Fill up the glass with seltzer water from a syphon and drink without hesitation.”
Wondrich (2015: 134) in Imbibe provides useful additional tips on making the ‘fiz’ indicating that a ‘narrow-mouthed’ glass used for serving the ‘fiz’ should be chilled prior to straining the finished drink so that it retains coolness as it is not served with ice which is strained out.
History of the ‘fiz’ or fizz: roots in punch, closely related to the sour – The formula for this drink is very similar to that of the sour except for the additional seltzer water and the presentation – the ‘fiz’ or fizz is to be served in a ‘narrow-mouthed’ glass (Wondrich 2015: 134) whereas the sour was to be served in a ‘footed glass’ (Wondrich 2015: 117). The ‘fiz’ or fizz is then one of the ‘children of punch’ that Wondrich (2015: 112) describes in so far as it employs the formula for punch with sour – lemon; sweet – gum syrup; strong – spirit; and weak – seltzer water; although the spice element is missing. It is in some way closer to a punch because of the additional seltzer water that lengthens and dilutes the drink, although it is still short enough to be drunk quickly with Thomas (1876: 90) directing us to ‘drink without hesitation’. See my previous posts for more about the history of recipes for punch and the sour.
Use of the fizz: pick me up – Wondrich (2015: 133-4) relates that the fizz was a refreshing drink that was used as a cure all or pick me up for hang overs.
Gin fizz, variations & related drinks, strawberry crush, Ramos or New Orleans Fizz, Sliver Fizz, Royal Fizz, Tom Collins
David Wondrich (2015: 134) describes how there are many variations on the fizz which include a crushed strawberry fizz featuring fresh muddled strawberries. There are many modern variations of the fizz including raspberry, lime, cranberry, lavender and cucumber. Along with these variations on the fizz there are drinks related to the fizz which notably include additional ingredients, in particular eggs and cream as in the Ramos or New Orleans Fizz, egg white in a Silver Fizz, a whole egg in a Royal Fizz, or are on a larger scale with a large wine glass of spirits and served in a large bar glass as with the Tom Collins (for a more extensive list and description of fizz recipes see Wondrich 2015: 132-140; and Craddock 1930: 2728-2813).
How is the apple shrub gin fizz cocktail different?
The apple shrub gin fizz cocktail is a seasonal pickle twist on the classic gin fizz using a cold process pink lady apple shrub flavoured with sweet spices that add complex flavours of crisp apple, refreshing tart apple cider vinegar, anise, strawberry and cinnamon which pair wonderfully with gin. The apple shrub gin fizz cocktail is a simple and refreshingly crisp drink that celebrates pink lady apples and calls back to the roots of the fizz in punch by adding the missing element of spice from the punch formula back into the drink in the form of star anise, strawberry gum and cinnamon myrtle.
Cold process fermented shrub syrup – I have referred to Holly Davis (2017: 648-652) in her book Ferment and Michael Dietsch in his book Shrubs (2016: 1061-1072) for the method for making this style of fermented cold process shrub they offer recipes for a fermented raw mandarin and cinnamon apple shrub respectively, the flavour pairing is my own contribution, as is the use of a low GI cane sugar. The shrub syrup is a small batch for use in cocktails and can be kept for up to a year but I think is likely to be used up quickly due to its smaller size of only 155 mls – if you intend to make more cocktails you can increase the measures for a larger batch. The process is simple although it does take a little time to infuse. A whole grated pink lady apple and low GI cane sugar, spices and apple cider vinegar are combined – this mixture is left overnight to infuse at room temperature. The solids are strained off and the resulting liquid shrub syrup is decanted into a sterilised jar and refrigerated for use in cocktails, drinks and desserts. If you like the idea of making a shrub syrup there are many flavour combinations you can create such as pineapple and fennel, mandarin and tarragon or lime and ginger – shrubs offer a fantastic souring and flavouring agent adding depth and complexity to cocktails.
Seasonal flavour pairing – The cold process fermentation allows the crisp bright flavour of the apple to shine while the star anise adds a fresh anise flavour, strawberry gum also has a fresh taste somewhere between strawberry and ginger while cinnamon myrtle adds a fresh herbal cinnamon flavour. Strawberry gum and cinnamon myrtle are indigenous Australian ingredients. The addition of spice highlights the roots of the fizz as closely related to the sour and to the punch formula in which spice was an important element.
Agave syrup for a lower sugar cocktail – I have swapped out the gum syrup for agave syrup for a lower sugar cocktail. The pink lady apple shrub syrup also uses a low GI cane sugar for a lower sugar shrub.
Tips for ingredient substitutions – If you do not have strawberry gum or cinnamon myrtle you can substitute these ingredients as below:
- Cinnamon myrtle can be replaced with a cinnamon stick when infusing the shrub; and
- Strawberry gum can be replaced with fresh muddled strawberries when making the cocktail to make a crushed strawberry and apple fizz variation.
It will still be a delicious apple shrub gin fizz cocktail although the strawberry gum and cinnamon myrtle impart a unique refreshing herbal flavour that is truly delicious with gin.
Apple shrub gin fizz experience, styling and photography
The styling for the apple shrub gin fizz cocktail is in a simple ‘narrow-mouthed’ glass as described by David Wondrich (2015: 134-5) in Imbibe which I pre-chilled with ice – as the drink is not served with ice the cold glass helps to keep the contents cold. I chose to use a simple apple wheel to show off the star pattern in the centre of the apple where the seeds are held; or an elegant apple fan made from halved apple slices held in place with a reusable cocktail pick, along with a reusable glass straw. The reusable cocktail pick and glass straw make the styling more sustainable as these items can be reused for other drinks. The glass straw adds a clean and fresh feeling to the styling which is simple and minimal, allowing the photographs of the gin ‘fiz’ or gin fizz to focus on the light playing through the bubbles in the drink and the clean and elegant shapes of the apple, circles and stars, interplay of white and red of the skin and flesh of the apple, like the hard light and shadows which frame the drink. The apple shrub gin fizz cocktail is a simple, elegant, refreshing drink that reworks a classic vintage ‘fiz’ recipe with use of a pink lady apple shrub syrup drinking vinegar spiced with star anise, strawberry gum and cinnamon myrtle.
Apple shrub gin fizz cocktailPrint Recipe
- Gin Fizz Cocktail: ½ shot pink lady apple shrub (see below for recipe)
- 2-3 fresh strawberries (optional - if adding these instead of adding strawberry gum to the shrub syrup recipe)
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup
- 2 shots gin
- Carbonated water
- Ice to shake the cocktail with and to chill the glass
- Garnish: Apple wheel or apple slices to make an apple fan, reusable cocktail pick to hold apple wheel in place, reusable glass straw
- Glassware: narrow-mouthed glass
- Pink lady apple shrub: 1 whole pink lady apple, grated
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 42 grams low GI cane sugar
- 2 star anise pods
- ½ teaspoon strawberry gum (optional – can be substituted with fresh muddled strawberries in the cocktail)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon myrtle (optional – can be substituted with a cinnamon stick)
Pink lady apple shrub syrup: Prepare your shrub at least one day in advance of making your apple gin fizz cocktail – to make the shrub syrup add the grated pink lady apple, spices, sugar and vinegar to a clean non-reactive container and allow to stand on the bench top, overnight at room temperature to infuse
Meanwhile sterilise your jar by washing in hot soapy water and rinsing thoroughly, place on a cookie sheet in a 110 C oven for 15 minutes or until completely dry, boil the lid in boiling water on the stove top for 5 minutes and then allow to air dry – for more information see Resources
Once infusion is complete decant the shrub into a sterilised jar – use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the solids from the liquid
Keep the shrub syrup in the fridge, there will be enough for several cocktails, it can be kept for 12 months for storage but I have deliberately made this a small batch for quick use in cocktails so it should not be around for very long
Apple shrub gin fizz cocktail: Fill a narrow-mouthed glass with ice to chill the glass
Add pink lady apple shrub syrup, agave syrup and gin to a cocktail shaker
If using fresh strawberries add these and muddle in the shaker tin
Add a large handful of ice to the cocktail shaker
Seal the shaker and shake for 10-15 seconds until well combined and very cold
Strain (double strain if using muddled strawberries) into a chilled narrow mouthed glass
Top the drink with carbonated water slowly
Garnish with an apple wheel or apple fan made of thin apple slices held in place by a reusable cocktail pick and a reusable glass straw. To make an apple wheel so that the star pattern where the apple seeds are held is visible slice an apple from the bottom of the apple in thin slices until the star pattern is revealed. To make an apple fan garnish slice an apple from the bottom in thin slices and cut each of these in half – pin them in place with a reusable cocktail pick and then fan out the slices to create an apple fan.
Gin fizz recipes & photography online
Simon Difford (2019). Gin Fizz. In Difford’s Guide.
Sneh Roy (2019). Strawberry gin fizz. In Cook Republic.
Shrub syrup recipes and shrub making resources
Holly Davis (2017). Ferment: A guide to the art of making ancient cultured goods. Murdoch Books: Crows Nest, Sydney.
Michael Dietsch (2016). Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times, Second Edition. Countryman Press: New York.
Fizz recipes & history
Harry Craddock (1930). The Savoy Cocktail Book. Dover: New York.
Jerry Thomas (1876 revision of 1862 imprint). The Bar-tender’s Guide: or how to mix all kinds of plain and fancy drinks. Dick & Fitzgerald: New York. Available online in EUVS Vintage Cocktail Books library.
David Wondrich (2015). Imbibe. Perigree: New York.