A Cocktail for January: the Rye Maple Fizz

This January I've been enjoying the Rye Maple Fizz, a fun and impressive-in-the-home-bar cocktail invented by star bartender Erick Castro at Rickhouse in San Francisco. It combines wintry flavors of maple syrup and rye whiskey with the classic fizz technique, which in this drink means reinforcing the fizziness of soda water with a foam of shaken egg white.

If that frightens you, consider: you're drinking, which I'm going to presume means you're an adult. If you're making a cocktail like this one than you're a more sophisticated adult than most and obviously already comfortable dabbling with a romantic vice and a bit of risk. So go ahead and embrace it already. Adopt an air of unconcerned magnificence and knock back a raw egg white and two ounces of rye whiskey. Nothing will happen to you (at least, nothing has happened to me), particularly if you wash the outside of the eggshell before cracking it.

With the lightweights sufficiently scared away, locate:

  • 2 oz. rye whiskey (I used Sazerac brand)
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice (squeezed fresh, of course)
  • 3/4 oz. egg white (After removing the yolk and chalaza one large egg should be enough)
  • 1/2 oz. maple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ground cinnamon

Add whiskey, lemon juice, egg white, syrup, and bitters to a shaker. Shake vigorously, then shake some more. Seriously, shake for longer than a minute if you can. Legend has it that the New Orleans classic Ramos Gin Fizz was to be shaken for 12 minutes! Reflect on that when your arms start to burn. Then add ice and shake some more. When everything is good and cold, strain into your chosen glass and top with soda water.

Chilling everything ahead of time, including the glass and the soda water (which you add AFTER the shaking), is a good idea since you're absolutely going to serve this one without ice in the drink itself.

A note on that chosen glass: there is such a thing as a “fizz glass”, which is something like a highball, halfway between an old-fashioned and a collins glass. Any drink that relies on bubbles for its appeal should probably be in something on the narrower and taller side to reduce the surface area and keep the foam maintained for as long as possible (a failing of the classic Champagne coupe). Lacking both a purpose-made fizz glass and the picturesque jar specified by Castro I used the glass shown in my photo, something a bit narrower and rounder than the normal old-fashioned glass, although not as tall as it probably should be. A smallish beer mug would also be the right shape and a fun way to serve this drink, as rye and maple naturally suggest rustic manliness.

I garnished with ground cinnamon but left out the sometimes called-for cinnamon stick, because you're making this for yourself and really, what are you going to do, bite it?

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