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Welcome to Wonkette Happy Hour, With This Week's Cocktail, The Ramos Gin Fizz!
This one's a doozy.
Greetings, Wonketeers! I’m Hooper, your bartender. It’s been a difficult couple of weeks. I decided to work off some steam by creating the most challenging drink I know. This is the Mt. Everest of cocktails. And I’m here to tell you, with no small amount of pride, that I conquered it. Beloved members of the Wonketariat, I present to you: The Ramos Gin Fizz. Here’s the recipe. Brace yourself. It’s a bumpy ride.
Ramos Gin Fizz
2 oz Boodles gin
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz lime juice
1 oz heavy cream
1 oz simple syrup
5-6 drops orange blossom water
2-3 drops vanilla extract
1 egg white
Pour 1 oz heavy cream into a Collins glass and then put the glass of cream in the freezer to chill.
Add all remaining ingredients, except for the club soda, to the smaller tin of a two part shaker. Add 2-3 cubes of ice to the small tin.
Say a brief prayer to Hoti, the patron saint of bartenders and fortune tellers. You’re going to need all the help you can get.
Shake the cocktail for 30-35 seconds. Separate your tins. Strain the cocktail into one tin. Dump out the ice from the other tin. Remove the spring from your Hawthorne strainer and place it in the cocktail. Roll your shoulders. Do some light arm stretches.
Shake the cocktail again, 30-40 seconds. Remove the Collins glass from the freezer. Pour the cocktail into the glass with one hand, while pouring club soda into the glass with the other hand. Ideally, two equal streams of fluid should meet and merge before they reach the bottom of the glass. Swearing is permitted. You should have some cocktail remaining in your tin.
Stop pouring when the head of foam reaches the top of the glass. Put the glass back into the freezer for 2-3 minutes. Take the glass out of the freezer. With a straw, make a small hole in the center of the head of the foam. Slowly pour the remaining cocktail into the hole until the head of foam stands ¼-⅓ inches over the glass — as high as you dare before the foam collapses.
Stare at your accomplishment before drinking. The cocktail is its own garnish.
So. Real talk here. If any of you actually make this cocktail, I will be stunned. It’s a bit of a shame, because this is a very tasty drink. It’s like drinking a lemon meringue pie, only the tartness and sweetness and creaminess are in complete harmony. The ingredients are very simple, but the technique, obviously, is a bear. If you ever order this from me at a bar, God have mercy on your soul.
It’s somehow not entirely surprising that the Ramos Gin Fizz was invented by a teetotaler. Henry Ramos invented this cocktail at the Imperial Cabinet , a bar right off of Gravier Street in New Orleans. Henry wasn’t what you’d call a bon vivant. He closed his bar at 8 p.m. every night, and if any patron showed the least sign of drunkenness they were cut off immediately. When the Ramos Gin Fizz took off, Mr. Ramos employed as many as 35 bartenders a night to shake, assembly-line style, the cocktail for the requisite 10 minutes. (Ten is considered excessive by modern bartenders. We’re lazy.) When Prohibition hit, Henry Ramos shut his saloon immediately and joined the temperance movement.
Let’s review the ingredients quickly. I’ll give some tips on technique along the way.
Ingredient shot. The cocktail vanished with a sense of accomplishment shortly after this photo was taken. Matthew Hooper
Boodles gin: Henry Ramos used Old Tom gin in his cocktail. I used my favorite London dry gin as an alternative. I do think a lighter, more citrus oriented gin would work well. Hendricks would be great. Locally, I’d use Watershed Four Peel Gin.
Lemon and lime juice: Fresh, please. Bottled juice would be a tragedy.
Simple syrup: Nothing fancy here. One part sugar, one part water, heat until the sugar’s dissolved. I have a bad habit of making up simple syrup at home right before making a cocktail. The syrup is still warm, but generally that’s not a problem. It's a big issue here, though. Let the syrup cool completely before you use it.
Heavy cream: The cream is one of the big challenges in making a Ramos Gin Fizz. Incorporating the gin and acidic juice into the cream without curdling it is difficult. My strategy is to add the completed cocktail to the cream after shaking it. The egg white and water from the ice help bring the acidity down. I still get a yogurt tang from the glass, but it’s not unpleasant at all.
Orange blossom water: I went fairly heavy on this ingredient. Don’t use more than seven drops. You’ll end up with a soapy tasting cocktail.
Vanilla extract: Technically optional, but I consider it a must. Use the best vanilla you have.
Egg white: This is what gives the drink its meringue cream pie character, and without the proteins from the egg you can’t build that legendary foam. There arechemical, non-egg substitutes if you’d like to explore them. But I can’t imagine it would taste the same.
Soda water: The brand is irrelevant. It’s the bubbles that matter. Pouring with both hands into the Collins glass isn’t easy. I poured the soda water into a measuring cup with a spout to make it easier. Even then, I ended up doing a splash of this, splash of that to keep my ratios in line. You don’t want too much soda in here, just enough to give some loft to the foam.
Technique: Oh boy. This drink demands a ton of technique. We mostly covered it, but a few pointers:
I used a reverse dry shake in this recipe. It’s always a touch difficult to explain; hopefully the video helps.
The hold time in the fridge is a must. A little time and exposure to air greatly improves the strength and structure of the foam.
The pinhole in the foam head is a great way to lift that foam over the top of the glass. Be patient, pour slowly.
In summary and conclusion, drink well, drink often, and tip your bartender — donate to Wonkette at the link below! And if you'd like to buy some bar gear or books from Amazon, please click here!