The Ramos Gin Fizz is not a drink for the impatient. This cocktail takes commitment, elbow grease, and perhaps most importantly (are you sitting down?) the lack of an aversion to raw egg white. For those of you who just said, “Ewww!”… easy now. Stay with me. Egg cocktails have been experiencing a renewed popularity with the recent revived fascination of pre-Prohibition drinks. With the responsible handling of fresh, locally sourced organic eggs, the already low risks have been significantly reduced. Pasteurized eggs are available, which will give you a similar result minus the heebie-jeebies.
This cocktail was invented by Henry C. Ramos as a breakfast “eye-opener” in 1888 at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans, with popularity further helped by the New Orleans Roosevelt Hotel. The original recipe called for 12 minutes of shaking, requiring a team of cocktail shakers to prevent fatigue and to keep up with the demand. Louisiana Governor Huey Long liked them so much that in 1935 he had New Orleans Roosevelt Hotel bartender Sam Guarino flown to New York’s Roosevelt Hotel to show the staff how to make them, so he wouldn’t have to go without his favorite drink.
After reading about the Ramos Gin Fizz one day, we couldn’t wait to whip some together as a subject for our next cocktail-obsessed photo shoot. Our first impression of this eye-opener, was that it reminded us of a creamy orange sherbet. It was velvety, refreshing, and certainly fortifying. Just the thing you need on a Sunday mid-morning after a late night binge, or after returning from an early morning Wegmans recon mission. It’s brutal there, I’m not gonna lie. WARNING: Paul almost shook his arms off making this, and nearly got frostbite from the ice-cold metal shaker (just a few other rarely-mentioned risks regarding egg cocktails).
In any event, this is the proud first of many egg cocktails Paul and I will be making, photographing AND drinking. The recipe for the actual drink shown in these photos is below. Don’t forget a twisted orange slice garnish – after all that hard work, you’ve got to really doll this one up for presentation. Enjoy!
- 2 oz. Gin
- 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz. Lime Juice
- 1 oz. Simple Syrup
- 3 small dashes of Orange Flower Water
- 2 drops Vanilla Extract (very optional; there’s some controversy over whether this was ever really used, but it does add a nice touch)
- 1 oz. Cream
- 1 Egg White
- Soda Water (Seltzer)
Shake all ingredients except the soda water WITHOUT ICE very vigorously for at least one minute, preferably longer — the longer the better. Then add ice and shake for 1-2 minutes, as long as you can manage, until extremely cold and frothy. Strain into a tall thin glass, or a very large old fashioned glass, and top with soda water. Stir gently.
Modern variations include adding a few drops of orange bitters to the frothy foam atop the drink, or something even more exotic like a tincture of cardamom. This is not the traditional version, though.
Great additional resources for Ramos Gin Fizz history and recipes:
- Wikipedia – Fizz (Cocktail)
- Cocktail Chronicles – In Praise of Difficult Drinks, Part I: The Ramos Gin Fizz
- Gumbo Pages – The Ramos Gin Fizz
- Imbibe Magazine – Get Cracking – Don’t be chicken about using egg in your next cocktail