New Orleans has always been a feast for the senses.
It’s a place where you can shed your inhibitions, listen to great jazz, and drink and eat everything the French Quarter (and beyond) has to offer. So it’s no surprise that the Big Easy is also the birthplace of many famous cocktails, including the Ramos Gin Fizz.
Henry Carl Ramos created his version of the Gin Fizz in 1888 at his establishment, the Imperial Cabinet Saloon. Never much of a drinker himself, Ramos realized he had an immediate hit on his hands when he had to hire a team of bartenders just to take turns shaking the drink. Cocktail legend has it that during Mardi Gras of 1915, Ramos had to hire as many as 32 bartenders—known as “shaker boys”—just to meet the demand for his now-famous Gin Fizz. The original method said to shake the drink for 12 full minutes, which is why he needed so much extra help behind the stick.
Although Ramos was the mastermind behind the Gin Fizz explosion of the early 20th century, he was adamantly opposed to public drunkenness. He would converse with his patrons to keep an eye on them and would cut anyone off who appeared to be intoxicated. He closed his establishment firmly at 8 p.m. each night to discourage benders and was only open for two hours on Sunday, and that was only after pleads from patrons wore him down.
The Gin Fizz originally consisted of gin, lemon juice, sugar, and carbonated water. Ramos introduced a frothy upgrade with the inclusion of heavy cream, simple syrup, lime juice, orange flower water, and fresh egg white. Although business was booming, as Prohibition swept the nation, conservative Ramos didn’t hesitate to close his doors. He served his last Ramos Gin Fizz at midnight on October 27, 1919. He kept the recipe to himself until a few days before his death, when he finally revealed it to the New Orleans Item-Tribune. Now referred to as the Ramos Gin Fizz or the New Orleans Fizz, this southern staple remains a popular drink to this day. And while we certainly wouldn’t tell you to shake this classic libation for 12 whole minutes, a hearty dry shake is necessary to emulsify the egg white before a second shake with ice.
Ramos Gin Fizz
- 2 oz. Chilled Club Soda
- 2 oz. London Dry Gin
- .5 oz. Lemon Juice
- .5 oz. Lime Juice
- .75 oz. Simple Syrup
- 1 oz. Heavy Cream
- 3 drops Orange Flower Water
- 1 Egg White
Preparation: Pour club soda into a Collins glass. Add the rest of the ingredients to a shaker tin. Dry shake for at least one minute to emulsify the egg white. Add ice and shake again until chilled. Strain into a Collins glass and give the drink a quick stir.