On any given day, if I were offered a properly made Ramos Gin Fizz I would never turn it down. This is a drink with a long history, dating back to 1888 and a unique taste and consistency that is hard to find in almost any other drink. The trick to the Ramos Gin Fizz is creating a stable foam, using egg white and cream. Once you’ve mastered that, then the rest is easy. The flavour of the drink is citrusy, and that is provided by gin, lemon, lime and a drop or three of orange flower water. A little bit of sugar is used to sweeten the drink, and a splash of soda water is used to give the drink a little “fizz.”
This classic cocktail was created by Henry C. Ramos in 1888, in his bar in New Orleans, it was originally called a “New Orleans Fizz.” Back before prohibition, this drink was very popular, and because labour rates were so cheap, the Ramos brothers would hire a couple of dozen “shaker boys” to whip up these drinks during fair time. The drink was so popular that it was still difficult for them to keep up with the orders. Over time, the idea of a quality drink was replaced by a quick drink and the Ramos Gin Fizz slowly faded away. It is still made in bars and hotels, but very few outside of New Orleans. Hopefully, with the resurgence of cocktails, this drink will make a comeback.
When making this cocktail, you should have all your ingredients ready to go.
The original recipe calls for the use of a raw egg white, but in modern times that seems to be frowned upon by most bar patrons, mostly because of the fear of salmonella. The truth is that contracting salmonella from a raw egg is very, very rare. How many times have you eaten raw cookie dough or cake batter? Unfortunately, most restaurant owners don’t want the headaches associated with raw eggs, so almost any Ramos Gin Fizz you order at a bar will be sans the egg white, resulting in lighter drink than the original. However, if you come to my bar you still get the egg white. The trick is that I’m using powdered egg whites which are guaranteed to be 100% salmonella free. I simply rehydrate the egg white powder with water or you can add the powder directly into the cocktail shaker with the gin and juice. I would recommend an extra few shakes to make sure there are no lumps.
If you work in a bar, like me, and are crazy enough to put it on your drink menu, like me, here’s a little tip to speed things up. To get the foam/meringue started to combine the gin, cream, rehydrated egg white, lime/lemon juices, and simple syrup into the tin half of a Boston shaker. Instead of shaking to get the foam started, use an immersion blender, sometimes referred to as a “stick blender” or “motorboat blender.” The trick to getting this started is to lift the blender slowly up to incorporate air into the mix. Do this for about 20 seconds, then remove the blender, add a scoop of ice and shake for another 30 seconds. Once that is done strain the drink into a tall glass with an ounce or two of soda water on the bottom. I don’t like adding the soda water after the drink is in the glass because it breaks the foam and makes for a watery drink.
It is also advisable to use a chilled glass if possible because the Ramos Gin Fizz is served without ice. I’ve added ice before, and it tastes the same, but because of the volume of the drink, you need a big glass (14 oz Zombie glass works).