Silky, creamy and almost fluffy, the Ramos Gin Fizz is in many ways a unique cocktail, both for its particular texture and for its distinctive citrus and aromatic flavor.
It is nothing similar to the better known Gin Fizz. It is painstaking to prepare and its list of ingredients contain a few rather questionable items.
So why make a Ramos Gin Fizz? Because when done right, it tastes astonishingly good.
A Drink for a Lonely Evening
The Ramos Gin Fizz is exhausting to prepare. In 2008, Amanda Hesser of the New York Times even recommended reserving this drink for an evening on the veranda with your best friend. Provided that this friend was a dog, so that you only have to prepare one drink. Here is why.
The key to getting a proper Ramos Gin Fizz is to get a stable foam from the egg white and the cream. When Henry Carl Ramos invented this drink in New Orleans in 1888, the cocktail was prepared by shaking it for 12 minutes. The cocktail shaker was passed from one bartender to another, and it became so cold that it had to be wrapped in cloth to be able to hold it.
So, it is true that the Ramos Gin Fizz has a reputation for being laborious, and that the list of ingredients seems like the shopping list. But the effort is well worth it.
And when I say effort, it not only refers to the time of shaking in the shaker, I also mean the time necessary to gather all the ingredients, as there are no substitutes to make a proper Ramos Fizz.
But once you have left the exertions behind and rewarded yourself with the first sip of this cocktail, its like drinking a flower.
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Unusual selection of Ingredients
The Ramos Gin Fizz has a very unusual list of ingredients. At first glance, nothing fits together.
What immediately stands out is that both lemon and lime juice are required. I can’t think of many drinks that both contain citrus juices.
Next, the combination of citrus juice and cream is just as unusual. If I read something like this on a bar menu, I would think that it can never work – an absolute no go. But it works and works pretty well.
What also works pretty well in the drink is the orange blossom water. It has a complex and mellow floral aroma, which complements and gives complexity to the cocktail.
It does not compete with citrus fruits, but rather lends a characteristic that so distinctive to Ramos Gin Fizz.
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The Perfect Recipe
Reading the list of ingredients of the Ramos Fizz, you may want to skip or substitute a couple of items. But each ingredient plays a role in making this cocktail delicate and balanced.
The egg white gives it body, the cream brings softness, and the citrus brings freshness. The sugar balances the acidity of the citrus, the gin does what the gin does, and the soda gets everything to the top. And orange blossom water adds the magic.
Ramos Gin Fizz Recipe
- 2 Oz London dry gin
- ½ Oz lime juice
- ½ Oz lemon juice
- ½ Oz sugar syrup Sugar to water in 2:1 ratio
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 1 Egg white
- Soda water
- 1 Oz fresh cream (35% fat)
- Combine all ingredients, except the soda, in the shaker and shake vigorously without ice (dry shake), for at least one minute.
- In the middle of the shaking you can carefully open the shaker to let off the internal pressure and avoid accidental opening.
- Add ice to the shaker, close it and shake again for at least one more minute (ideally 2 minutes), or until you get tired or bored of shaking.
- With the help of a worm strainer, pour the contents into a Collins glass (long glass) without ice, wait a few seconds for the contents to settle and then pour soda to top off.
- This cocktail does not need garnish, but if you wish, you can place a slice of lemon or orange peel on the edge of the glass.
- Add egg white as the last ingredient in the shaker – Pour the remaining ingredients together before adding the egg white. If you put protein in the shaker first and then alcohol and citrus juice, denaturation can occur. Alcohol and acids attack the proteins of the egg clear, causing it to flocculate. In the worst case, you have small white solids in your cocktail, which have no influence on taste, but don’t look palatable.
- Shake long for at least 2 minutes – Only then will the cream and protein combine with all other ingredients and result in a creamy consistency including a foam crown. The foam apparently only forms when ingredients form an emulsion. This takes a while.
- Do not double strain – If you look through a fine sieve, you destroy the texture. This means that cream and egg white do not form a beautiful crown on the cocktail, but only a thin white pile. You can also easily destroy its crown using the Hawthorne Strainer, i.e. if you only use the coarse cocktail strainer and not the fine strainer. Even then, the look of the Ramos Gin Fizz can suffer.
- Do not replace Orange Blossom Water with orange juice – floral water is something completely different from the juice of the corresponding fruit. If you swap one for the other in this recipe, not only are the ingredients lacking in balance, the drink is also no longer a Ramos Gin Fizz.
- Be careful with the dosage of Orange Blossom Water – even slightly more will overpower your drink. Better add in dashes. Usually 3 suffice.
- Use less sugar with Old Tom Gin – we usually prepare a Ramos Gin Fizz with a London Dry Gin (e.g. Tanqueray, Beefeater, Sipsmith, Bombay Sapphire) . If you google the recipe of this cocktail, you will occasionally find a variant based on Old Tom Gin. If you use such a gin for preparation, then reduce the amount of sugar or syrup, else you risk making the drink out of balance. An old tom is already sweet by definition.
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The story behind the Ramos Gin Fizz
Where does this cocktail actually come from? The drink was originally known as New Orleans Fizz because it was first made there.
It was invented there in 1888 in the Imperial Cabinet Saloon by a bartender named Henry Carl Ramos. The cocktail quickly became so popular that it was named after its inventor. People began to order the Ramos Gin Fizz in throngs. And this was problematic, especially on Mardi Gras celebrated in New Orleans.
During these festive times, 35 bartenders were therefore employed in the Imperial Cabinet Saloon. Because even that wasn’t enough, each of them had an assistant who did nothing but shake the (damn) fizzes.
Now you might think that shaking a cocktail for two minutes is already quite long. Back in Henry Ramos days, it was shaken for a whopping 12 minutes!
The fact that the drink eventually became known worldwide was more likely due to the well-known Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, which served it to guests from all over the world.
One of them was Governor Huey P. Long, who frequented New York a lot. He hated that the Yankee bartenders did not know how to concoct this New Orleans creation. So he had one of the bartenders from Roosevelt Hotel fly to New York in 1935 to teach bartenders at his hotel how his favorite drink was actually made.
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