A cool and refreshing New Orleans classic
New Orleans is famous for its cocktails. And one of the most beloved is the Ramos Gin Fizz.
Home bartenders rarely make it, though. Mostly because they’ve heard you need to shake it for ages to make it “properly.”
Well, no worries. We can offer some shortcuts that get great results.
Your wrists will thank us.
Recipe: The Ramos Gin Fizz Cocktail
The Ramos Gin Fizz, which dates back to the 1880s, was created by Henry C. Ramos at his Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans. One of the drink’s key ingredients is egg white, which froths when shaken. It also includes cream, which adds silky smoothness.
Legend has it that Ramos employed as many as a dozen “shaker boys” behind the bar to make each drink. Each member of the team would shake the ingredients as hard as he could for a minute or so, then – exhausted – pass the cocktail shaker to the next guy, who would shake until exhausted, and so on down the line. That whole 12-minute (or so) production was needed to make just one drink! It must have been a pretty good show. Not to mention great marketing.
We don’t have an army of shaker boys, so we make this drink using a technique called a “reverse dry shake.” More discussion about this in the Notes.
This drink takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves one.
- 2 ounces dry gin (see Notes)
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 ounce heavy cream
- 1 egg white (any size egg will do, although we fancy large eggs)
- 2 teaspoons simple syrup (may substitute confectioner’s or powdered sugar)
- 2 to 3 drops orange flower/blossom water (see Notes)
- cold seltzer water or club soda to taste (about an ounce)
- Combine all ingredients (except seltzer water) in a cocktail shaker with 2 or 3 ice cubes. Shake vigorously for one minute.
- Remove what’s left of the ice cubes (they will have melted considerably). Shake without ice for another minute (or two, if you’re feeling particularly energetic).
- Pour the contents of the shaker into a fizz or Collins glass (one that holds 9 to 10 ounces is ideal; see Notes) without straining. Top up the drink with seltzer water until the egg white forms a lip above the rim of the glass. Serve and enjoy.
- These days, most bartenders use London-style dry gin for this drink. But it may originally have been made with Old Tom gin, which is somewhat sweeter.
- In cocktail parlance, a “dry shake” means shaking ingredients without ice. Barkeeps often use this method for drinks that contain egg whites because it helps the whites froth. The usual sequence is to shake for about 15 seconds, add ice, then shake again to chill.
- The method we describe in Steps 1 and 2 is a “reverse dry shake”: You shake the ingredients with ice cubes first, to chill the drink and dilute it (via the melting cubes). Then remove the ice and shake again to whip the egg whites and cream to a silky, foamy texture (you remove the ice because it can reduce foam creation). A reverse dry shake helps develop this drink’s legendary texture, but it only takes two minutes (three, tops) rather than twelve.
- Want an even easier method? Just pour the drink ingredients (minus seltzer water) into a blender and add a handful of chipped ice. Blend until frothy. You’ll get a great-looking drink, although the texture won’t be quite as good.
- So what makes a drink a “fizz”? Well, back in the day, there were many different kinds of mixed drinks: Fizzes, Collinses, cocktails, and others. “Cocktails” originally were quite small (no more than a couple of ounces) and typically were consumed in the morning – often as hair-of-the-dog remedies. Over the years, we’ve come to call all mixed drinks “cocktails.”
- A fizz typically contains booze, citrus, and sparkling water. It can also include some egg (the white, the yolk, or the whole thing). A fizz generally is served in a tall glass, usually without ice. It’s similar to a Collins; but a Collins is always served with ice and tends to be a more voluminous drink (with quite a bit more sparkling water).
- Fizzes (like the original “cocktails”) frequently were served as a morning pick-me-ups.
- Both fizzes and Collinses are served in tall glasses. But a fizz glass typically holds 7 to 10 ounces, while a Collins glass holds 10 to 14 ounces (you need extra space for ice). FYI, the glass in our pictures is a 9-ounce glass.
- Oh, and a fizz is never garnished, while a Collins almost always has a garnish. Got all that?
- Orange flower water (aka orange blossom water) adds a wonderful floral aroma to this drink. You can find orange flower water online, or at many specialty grocers.
- We prefer to use simple syrup in cocktails. If you want to substitute sugar, go with the confectioner’s variety. It contains cornstarch, which adds smoothness to the texture of the drink. You could also use regular powdered sugar; it’s very fine (like confectioner’s sugar), so it dissolves quickly when you shake the drink.
“A storied drink,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Liquor history in a glass.”
“Just hope our readers make it through the Notes before the gin kicks in,” I said.
“Yeah,” said Mrs K R. “All that drink lore can get a bit confusing.”
“At least Señor Fizz worked out his differences with Mr. Collins,” I said.
“And you’re really blossoming as a bartender,” said Mrs K R.
True. Pulling up my resumé now – need to add “shaker boy.”
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Sloe Gin Fizz Cocktail
Tom Collins Cocktail
Clover Club Cocktail
Pink Lady Cocktail
White Lady Cocktail
Pisco Sour Cocktail
Gin Daisy Cocktail
Or check out the index for more