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The elusive Ramos Gin Fizz
On a recent trip to New Orleans I discovered my new favorite drink, a Ramos Fizz. I was wondering if there is a place I can get one of these gems in the Twin Cities... without pissing off the bartender?
The Ramos Gin Fizz is an insiders-only, secret-handshake sort of cocktail. It's seldom listed on a menu, but any bartender worth his salt knows how to make one. We reached out to several drink shakers around town to get to the bottom of this effervescent request.
"It's a difficult thing to make," says Adam Gorski of Eat Street Social. " When I was at Bradstreet Crafthouse , we had it on the Captain's list or would make it if requested. It's a creamy celebration cocktail."
The drink dates back to the 1800s when it was created by Henry Ramos. "It was originally called a New Orleans Fizz," says Gorski, adding that the drink eventually picked up the name of its maker. Like the Sazerac, it's closely associated with good times in the Big Easy. During Mardi Gras, they would have a line of "shaker boys," generally kids off the streets who would be paid a couple of pennies per drink, just to shake and shake and shake these cocktails. It's the insane amount of shaking that dissuades most bars from listing the Gin Fizz on their menus.
The ingredients are combined and then need to be shaken for a good two to three minutes. "You want the ice to disintegrate," Gorski says. Shaking for that long can take a toll on a bartender, especially if it's a Friday night and the bar is swamped. But the result is like nothing else: a creamy mixture of light gin and rich cream with a citrus zing served with a frothy head courtesy of the seltzer water. It's spritely, decadent, and an utterly delightful drink.
We heard a rumor that Icehouse had them available pre-made and served in an ISI charger (like the canisters at Starbucks that produce whipped cream.) That led us to Jon Olson (currently of Tradition Wine & Spirits), who informed us that he was no longer working at Icehouse, and sadly, he took the ISI Charger with him when he left.
"It's a tricky cocktail to make because of the orange flower water," he says. "Every other bar would have the ingredients, except that. The best way to know if you can order a Ramos Gin Fizz is to check out the number of bitters behind the bar. If you're somewhere that has a whole bunch of these tiny vials, they will probably have orange water. If all you see are Angostura, you're probably out of luck."
We asked Jesse Held, head barman atBorough & Parlourand the new Coup d'Etat why he thinks most bars don't list the drink on their menus. "It's not conducive to a speedy drink." Would he make one if a guest requested it? "Absolutely."
So while you won't find this drink listed on any menus, all the usual suspect craft cocktail makers in town will make you this creamy concoction if you ask. In addition to all the aforementioned establishments, check out Cafe Maude, La Belle Vie Lounge, Marvel Bar, Meritage, any of the OTG restaurants at the airport, Saffron, and the Strip Club Meat & Fish. Look for those bitters bottles and know that if it's the sort of spot where the bartenders could be called "mixologists," they will be able to hook you up.
The test of a good Ramos Gin Fizz is if the straw sticks straight up in the middle of the glass.
Until then, try your hand making your own with this recipe from Adam Gorski:
Ramos Gin Fizz
2 oz gin (nothing overpowering. Gorski suggests Sapphire)
1 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz lime juice
1 oz heavy cream
1 egg white
3 drops orange blossom water
Seltzer water to finish
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake vigorously, continuously for two to three minutes, until you feel like your arm is going to fall off. You want all the ice cubes to basically dissolve. Pour into a Collins glass. Top with seltzer water until the foamy head rises just above the glass rim. Serve with a straw placed in the center of the glass.
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