Do we all remember the late 1990's and early 2000's? The Martini bar was all the rage. If the bar you went to was not a martini bar, you can bet that it had a wide variety of -tinis in cocktail glasses. They would include every color in the rainbow and every flavor one person's palate could handle. They are still around, but they have taken a distant back seat to craft cocktail bars, bars that specialize in one spirit, craft breweries, and the general explosion of the New Age of Crafted Beverages. That, and many of the martinis that were made during this era were a little more 1980's than craft in their use of bottled mixers and multi colored puckers. However, can you imagine a cocktail so popular and labor intensive that people were employed just to make that cocktail? Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Ramos Gin Fizz.
Henry Ramos created the cocktail in 1888 for the Imperial Cabinet Saloon. It has also been called a New Orleans Fizz, but some guides separate the two cocktails. The difference is the orange blossom water, which really adds a citrus burst to the cocktail and cuts the richness of the drink. Either way, it was a hit from the time Ramos set one one the bar until the implementation of the 18th Amendment. Ramos had a philosophy that in this day and age would make it difficult to make; you had to shake it for twelve minutes to get it to the proper consistency. He would employ up to thirty boys to shake them, and still could not keep up with demand. When he went to the Stag Saloon, people would wait for upwards of an hour to get the popular drink.
Ramos Gin Fizz (from the New Orleans Tribune, 1925)
1 tbsp. powdered (super fine) sugar
3-4 drops orange blossom water
The juice of one half a lime (about .5 oz./8 mL)
The juice of one half a lemon (about .5 oz./8 mL)
1.5 oz./ 45 mL of Old Tom gin
One egg white
2 tbsp. cream (Half and half does the trick)
1 oz./ 30 mL soda water
Combine all the ingredients, except the soda water, into a mixing tin. Shake the ingredients hard without ice for 10-15 seconds to break down the egg proteins. Add a few cubes of ice to the mix, then shake hard for several minutes. The tins should be ice cold when you are finished. Pour the ounce of soda water into the Collins glass, then strain the rest of the cocktail into the glass.
Well. This is an amazing cocktail. Silky smooth from the cream and egg, with orange stepping up and providing an extra burst of flavor. I can see waiting for this one, just not for an hour. And having one or two. More than that and it will get really filling.
There are still many consumers that are afraid of raw eggs in a cocktail. While the fear of salmonella poisoning is a real concern, any bar that handles eggs properly will all but eliminate the risk. As a fellow bartender put it, you have a better chance at choking on the bar food than getting sick from egg whites. I have had many fine drinks with eggs in them, and nothing happened. If you are concerned, there are many other fine cocktails to be had in the Fizz category. Or try this one without the egg.