Lots of classic cocktails feel old fashioned but still familiar to a modern palate: the Manhattan, the Martini, the Mint Julep. But sometimes you encounter a drink that’s so archaic, so different from anything you’re familiar with that it feels like a relic from an entirely different age. The Ramos Gin Fizz is just such a drink: unusual to taste, with an odd set of ingredients, that’s almost performance art to make. Weird but delicious. And perfect for brunch. – Andrew
Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper
Ramos Gin Fizz
2 oz Dry Gin
1 oz Heavy Cream
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
2-3 Dashes Orange Blossom Water
1 Egg White
Combine all the ingredients except the club soda in an empty cocktail shaker and shake for at least two minutes and longer if possible. Add ice and shake again for another two minutes or longer if possible. Strain into a chilled highball glass and top with club soda. Rinse the inside of the shaker with a splash of club soda and add to the glass. Drop in a straw and enjoy!
The invention of Henry Ramos, the Ramos Gin Fizz (also known as a New Orleans Fizz) dates back to 1888 and comes, somewhat unsurprisingly, from the birthplace of so many amazing drinks, New Orleans. It shows its age: it’s fussy and a bit odd and requires so much work to make that it really could have only come from a time when labor was cheap (and people were in less of a hurry). All that shaking is necessary to emulsify the heavy cream and citrus. Mixing dairy and acid normally causes the dairy to curdle but lots of shaking can blend the two and give you a custardy texture. Ramos employed teams of bartenders to shake his fizzes in relays for twelve minutes a piece. I doubt anyone these days has the time or the arm strength to manage a full twelve minutes, but you really need to shake this one for as long as you can. So: the perfect drink for shaking with a friend.
The Ramos Gin Fizz is an odd duck: creamy and fizzy at the same time, tart and sweet and floral too. You really can’t substitute the orange blossom water – the byproduct of distilling orange blossoms for their essential oils to make perfume – with anything else orange. You can find it online or at Middle Eastern grocers; ask at your local Lebanese restaurant if you can’t fine it nearby. The original recipe calls for just two teaspoons of superfine sugar, but I find this version is a bit too sour, so I bumped up the sweetness a bit. Despite that cream – and you really need to use cream here th– e Ramos never feels heavy, thanks to the light floral notes of the orange blossoms and the bubbly club soda.
A Fizz is properly served without ice, with the understanding that you’ll drink it fast enough that it won’t warm up before you’re done. That goes doubly for the Ramos Fizz, because –unless you’ve shaken it for the full twelve minutes – that citrus is eventually going to start curdling the cream in the gorgeously thick and white foam on top of your drink. You don’t want this. Trust me.
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Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper