It’s Friday … Have a Drink: Ramos Gin Fizz

It’s Friday … Have a Drink: Ramos Gin Fizz
Our weekly recommendation.

I’ll be honest with you guys: I don’t like regular gin fizzes. I mean, sure, there are worse things in the world than the combination of gin, lemon juice, and sugar, topped off with some fizzy water, but I typically find them boring. If I’m going for a long drink, I want a Singapore Sling, or something equally complex. So I don’t make many gin fizzes.

But the Ramos Gin Fizz isn’t just any gin fizz. It’s a fantastic concoction that’s got nearly as much in common with a milkshake as it does with a typical cocktail. Born in the city of New Orleans, created in 1888 by Henry C. Ramos, the Ramos Gin Fizz was by the turn of the century widely available. Or at least, knockoffs were; the original was thought by most connoisseurs to be superior to the other drinks that bore its name—“often imitated, never duplicated” as the saying goes—and Ramos’s bars did swift business right up until prohibition, when the drink was driven underground. You can still find it here and there (especially in New Orleans), but because of its large, strange ingredient list and lengthy preparation time, few bars offer it. More’s the pity.

To make the Ramos Gin Fizz, one must combine its substantial ingredient list (yes, even the soda water) in a large shaker – I recommend a Boston shaker for this one, not a smaller cobbler shaker. If all you have is the latter, hold the soda water until after shaking and then mix it in the glass, unless you really enjoying cleaning gin fizz ingredients off the walls, floor, and possibly ceiling of your kitchen. Once you’ve got everything in there, add a bunch of ice and shake thoroughly, and I mean thoroughly. Shake until your brow’s beaded with sweat, until the shaker’s so cold it’s painful on the hands, and until you’re convinced there can’t be much ice left at all. Then shake for another minute or so. In all, you’re probably looking at eight to ten minutes of solid shaking. Seriously. If you want to be true to the original, go for twelve.

It’s worth it. The resulting drink will be strange and foamy and ethereal, its ingredients combining together beautifully to form the sort of ambrosia you’d expect the gods on Mount Olympus to be drinking. The small amount of soda makes this “fizz” barely fizzy, but that’s OK; you’re using the bubbles as much for the texture they bring to the finished drink as for any effervescence.

The Ramos Gin Fizz is a strange addition to the world of cocktails, but a delicious one. It’s not easy to make, but it’s a classic for a reason. Give it a shot, or better: go grab one at a bar and let someone else do the shaking for you.

  • 1.5 oz. Gin (Boodles)
  • 1.5 oz. Heavy Cream
  • .75 oz. Club Soda
  • .5 oz. Lime Juice
  • .5 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1 Egg White
  • 4 drops Orange Flower Water
  • 2 drops Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbsp. Fine or Powdered Sugar

Combine all ingredients in a Boston shaker over lots of ice and shake extremely thoroughly. Strain into a chilled Collins glass (no ice). No garnish.

Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.

Christopher Buecheler is a novelist, a web developer, an award-winning amateur mixologist, a brewer, a guitarist, a drummer, and an NBA enthusiast. He lives a semi-nomadic life with his wife and two cats, currently residing in Providence, RI. You can learn more at his website, cwbuecheler.com.

  • Spaulding Davis

    No man should ever drink anything with fizz in the name.

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      No man should define masculinity by a beverage. 😉

      • http://cwbuecheler.com/ Christopher Buecheler

        I could not more strongly agree!

        • Chris Moore

          As a spritzer fan, neither could I.

  • Jon

    How necessary would you say the Orange Flower Water is to the drink?

    • http://cwbuecheler.com/ Christopher Buecheler

      It’s not essential … but it makes a noticeable difference. You could sub in a good orange bitters in a pinch. Not quite the same, but it’ll produce something enjoyable. The real keys are the cream, egg white, soda, and insane shaking.

  • Trevor Chan

    Why would you put club soda in the boston shaker and then shake “extremely thoroughly”- wouldn’t it make more sense to preserve the carbonation by floating it on top after straining?

    • http://cwbuecheler.com/ Christopher Buecheler

      That question is answered in the article. 🙂

      • Trevor Chan

        I don’t see how twelve minutes of shaking is going to leave any sort of effervescence in that drink, so I’m kind of at a loss for the texture argument. You say yourself that a cobbler shaker is going to explode, so what fizz is left? Wouldn’t egg white, ice, and shaking aerate the contents?That amount of shaking also heavily melts the ice, so I’m really not understanding club soda as an addition even just as a volume standpoint. However, I’m just an amateur – just an enthusiastic reader trying to understand the why’s of mixology.

        • http://cwbuecheler.com/ Christopher Buecheler

          So, the truth is the seltzer probably doesn’t add much. You’re right, the shaking is doing the bulk of the work. It’s possible however that the early bubbles contributed by the rapid expansion of the CO2 helps build up a head more quickly, and this may well have some impact (smaller bubbles in the foam, perhaps) versus not using it, or adding it at the end.

          This is the way Henry C. Ramos made his fizzes, so that’s what I’ve put into the article, but you’re definitely free to experiment and see what works best for you!

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