Friday, March 30, 2012

The Ramos Gin Fizz, or, the Perfect Cocktail for April

The Ramos Gin Fizz is an odd cocktail. For one, it's complicated: this drink goes well beyond the basic formula of base spirit + citrus + bitters. It's time consuming: preparation takes minutes, not seconds, and orange flower water is a pain to find. And it's decidedly not party friendly: you'd have to have an industrial equipment to make it in batches, and your arms will feel like you just lost a weightlifting competition if you try to make more than a few in one go. 

So, why is it still so darn popular? Why has such a seemingly antiquated drink persisted? Why do mixologists keep putting up with it? Well, in spite of all this complication, risk to your person, and the hermit-like lifestyle it seems to promote, this gorgeous drink just can't be matched. It's whipped texture from the egg and cream components is simply heavenly, like a delicious, lightly boozy meringue. The light carbonation keeps it surprisingly refreshing, while the lemon and lime juices add bright acidity. The orange flower water adds a delicate, lovely, and unmistakable note - the small amount the recipe calls for makes it beautifully reminiscent of Springtime. And, sure, while egg + alcohol might leave you thinking the eggnog of cold months past, the Ramos Gin Fizz's egg white component makes it just about the perfect drink for the adults to sip while the kids are off on a long Easter egg hunt - really, it's only fair if they're getting all that chocolate.

This drink was a Victorian-era invention, perhaps unsurprisingly originating in the cocktail mecca of New Orleans. Created by Henry Ramos, the recipe was a closely guarded secret for years, while his bar employed teams of men to man the shakers. But with the rise of Prohibition, the fizz-slingers lost their legitimate jobs, and rumor has it, Ramos was furious - so as a small act of rebellion, he got a lot more generous with that secret recipe in hopes of undermining the movement. In any case, this delicious drink survived those very dark days, and we can still enjoy them served by weary bartenders.

So while it might not be the most practical, or shareable, or efficient drink, in the modern day, it's a beautiful reminder to slow down, to stop and smell the orange flowers.

Ramos Gin Fizz

2 oz. Gin (We like Plymouth, but a good London Dry will do)
1 oz. Heavy Cream
1 Egg White
½ oz. Lemon Juice
½ oz. Lime Juice
2 tsp. Superfine Sugar
2 or 3 drops, Orange Flower Water

Add all of these ingredients with ice into a cocktail shaker. Now, get ready to rumble - this drink takes some serious dedication. Some insist it requires just two or three minutes of vigorous shaking, though some more hardcore folks - perhaps those looking for, well, a Shake Weight substitute - will keep those shakers going for much longer. Generally, you're looking for a particular, thickened texture, and if you've ever had a proper one made for you, you're likely to know it when you see it. Many describe the feeling within the shaker as "ropey". While that might seem a bit inscrutable for the uninitiated, you'll know it when you get there. Pour the whole deal into a Collins glass and top off with seltzer water.

Variations:
Chicago Fizz


1 oz. Dark Rum (We recommend Gosling's or Cruzan)
1 oz. Ruby Port
½ oz. Lemon Juice
½ oz. Superfine Sugar
1 Egg White

Shake all ingredients with ice until is reaches a proper fluffy consistency. Pour into a Collins glass and top off with seltzer water.

Elks Club Fizz


Same deal as a Chicago Fizz, but swap out rye whiskey for the rum. Delicious!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

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