An Enthusiast’s guide to cocktails: the Ramos Gin Fizz


Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, the culmination of all that is Mardi Gras. In honor of (the day after) this auspicious drinking occasion we wanted to share a classic New Orleans cocktail, the Ramos Gin Fizz. Not to be confused with standard Gin Fizzes, the Ramos is a unique pleasure that was originated down in the Big Easy back in 1888 by a man named Henry C. Ramos.

At the time it was simply called the “New Orleans Fizz” and was so popular that Ramos had to hire a crew of “shaker boys” during busy times just to keep up with demand. In recent years the cocktail’s popularity has dwindled (likely due, in part, to a specific and essential ingredient that is rather hard to come by). Although I personally grew up drinking them with my family every year on Christmas morning.

The proportions of ingredients for the Ramos Gin Fizz vary slightly depending on the bartender, but the basics are cast in stone:

Gin (1.5-2 oz)
Egg white (1)
Simple syrup (1 oz)
Lemon juice (0.5 oz)
Lime juice (0.5 oz)
Cream (2 oz)
Orange flower water (3 dashes)
Soda water (1-2 oz)

If you’re looking at that like, “what the fuck is orange flower water?”, you’re not alone. It is the key ingredient, and the only place I’ve found it not online was at Cask here in SF. Other specialty liquor stores should have it—although note that BevMo is not one of them. Also, if you’re balking at the egg white, get over it. A good Caesar Salad calls for raw egg whites, too—as does cookie dough—and I’ve never caught salmonella from either (knocking on wood).

The trick to mixing this bad boy is to combine the ingredients in the metal half of your shaker before you add ice. Some say that the direct contact with the gin “cooks” the egg (for those of you that are still feeling squeamish). After a good 20-30 second shake, add ice and shake for another 30. What you’re doing is frothing the egg white and cream, which, if you’ve ever beaten an egg white or whipped cream by hand, you’ll know to be no small task. Finally, strain the cold, emulsified liquid into a chilled, tall glass with the soda water at the bottom (this prevents the soda from beating down the foam) and enjoy!

That’s it, the Ramos Gin Fizz. Try it at home, and next time you’re down south, preparing to wear nothing but underwear and beads, be sure to order one!

Typical Mardi Gras aftermath.

Post-Mardi Gras photo courtesy of neaththetwilightsky, flickr.
Ramos Gin Fizz photo courtesy of ReeseCLloyd, flickr.