Back in 2006, our then-agony aunt Mrs Danvers answered this question...

Dear Mrs Danvers, can you sort out the difference between the following gin cocktails: Gin Pahit, Gin Sling, Gin Rickey, Gin Fizz, and Tom or Gin Collins? I keep coming across the names in books by authors such as Somerset Maugham and would just like to know what the characters are drinking.


Gin Pahit is a Pink Gin neat gin with a few drops of Angostura bitters.

A Gin Sling is made of gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup, stirred together and topped with fizzy water or soda.

Gin Rickey is the same, but lime juice replaces the lemon.

Gin Fizz is more confusing. At its simplest, it is gin shaken with ice and sugar syrup and strained into a glass with ice cubes and topped with soda or fizzy water. (This is also a Tom Collins or Gin Collins except that the Collins is put in a larger glass.)

A Golden Fizz has an egg yolk added and a Silver Fizz has the egg white. Royal Gin Fizz has the whole egg.

Ramos Gin Fizz, notoriously difficult to make, was invented in the late 19th century in New Orleans. It consists of gin, lemon and lime juice, cream, egg white, soda, powdered sugar and orange flower water.

Personally, I’d stick to a good old gin and tonic.