Diving into the world of sours, Collins’s and fizzes might seem relatively simple on the surface, but if you choose your words poorly, a fierce debate among cocktail loyalist could ensue. The truth of the matter is that all three have relatively the same ingredients. The biggest variation between the three is how they’re made and how they’re presented.
Sours are the simplest of the group: 2 parts spirit, 1 part lemon or lime juice, and 1 part simple syrup. Combine all of these into a large rocks glass and garnish with an orange and cherry. The jury is still out on whether to shake or just stir the mixture.
What’s a Collins? It’s a sour that is served in a tall thin glass know as a “Collins” glass and topped with soda. Traditionalists will tell you to build the drink in the glass, add ice, and stir. Again, this whole stirring vs. shaking debate rises. I have always felt that a proper Collins is stirred, but you will be hard pressed in any bar to find one made that way.
A Fizz is a Collins that is shaken, served in a highball glass and combined with soda. A highball glass should give you a little more soda content (hence “fizz”). The debate between the fizz and the Collins is that a fizz has less sugar and more acidity. It is a personal preference as to how sweet the cocktail becomes.
Whether it is a fizz, sour or a Collins, the bottom line is the cocktail in front of you is yours. Enjoy it as you please. CHEERS!
Rick Turner is a Certified Specialist in Spirits (Society of Wine Educators) and a Certified Sommelier (Court of Master Sommeliers). He writes about cocktails for EscapeHatchDallas. In his spare time, Turner is the general manager of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas.