Many cocktail origin stories are shrouded in murky lore, but the Ramos Gin Fizz is an exception. It was first mixed in 1888 by Henry Charles “Carl” Ramos at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans. Along with drinks like the Sazerac, the Ramos Gin Fizz is one of the city’s most identifiable cocktails, and one that has stood the test of time, as it’s still in circulation today. However, this frothy classic is both loved and loathed by bartenders.
The drink, which combines gin, citrus, simple syrup, egg white, heavy cream, orange flower water and club soda, is a panoply of flavors and textures. The gin—most recipes call for London dry, but Ramos himself used Old Tom, as was fashionable in his time—provides a sturdy base for the cocktail, while the sugar and citrus add their trademark sweet-tart balance. Heavy cream lends richness, the egg white bulks up the mouthfeel, and the orange flower water provides a floral note. Finally, sparkling water lightens the drink, adding a touch of effervescence.
Then, of course, there’s the shaking. The story goes that Ramos employed a chain of “shaker men” in his bar to meet the constant demand from locals and tourists, who had become enamored with the labor-intensive cocktail. Supposedly, each drink was shaken for between 12 and 15 minutes, which we can all agree is a lot of minutes. But don’t let that fun fact discourage you. Foamy, fresh, floral and delicious, the Ramos Gin Fizz is worth rolling up your sleeves for—and today, most bartenders shake their Fizzes in under a minute.
Acclaimed New Orleans barkeep Chris Hannah says that between 25 and 45 seconds is sufficient. If you want to use the dry-shake method, he suggests agitating the shaker for 10 seconds sans ice, and then giving it another vigorous go for 15 seconds with ice to ensure proper chilling and dilution. The result is a perfectly mixed Ramos Gin Fizz with a head that’s the right amount of frothy—thick, but not approaching meringue pie.
Click Play to See This Ramos Gin Fizz Recipe Come Together
- 2 ounces gin
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- 1/2 ounce heavy cream
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 3 dashes orange flower water
- 1 fresh egg white
- Club soda, to top
Add the gin, simple syrup, heavy cream, lemon and lime juices, orange flower water and egg white into a shaker and dry-shake (without ice) vigorously for about 10 seconds.
Add ice and shake for at least 15 seconds, until well-chilled.
Strain into a Collins glass.
Pour a little bit of club soda back and forth between the empty halves of the shaker tins to pick up any residual cream and egg white, then use that to top the drink.
Raw Egg Warning
Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.