I’ve heard all kinds of stories from bartenders over the years why they don’t want to make one of my favorite cocktails: the Ramos Gin Fizz. Everything from, “my arm hurts,” to “sorry we’re too busy,” to “we’re out of heavy cream.” Recently I had a pretty bad one at a bar and I wanted to know what all the fuss is about, so I did what every self-respecting home bartender would do: put on the Flashdance Maniac song in the earbuds and made one at home.
History: Henry Ramos came up with the drink back in 1888 at his bar, the Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans. Apparently, it originally had a 12-minute mixing time and due to the drink’s popularity required more than 20 bartenders making nothing but the drink to keep up with demand. The Ramos Gin Fizz is a variation of the standard gin fizz, but adds heavy whipping cream and a few dashes of orange flower water to the mix, making it drink like a citrus-forward milkshake. The velvety, pillow-like creamy head takes quite a lot of shaking to achieve perfection, but not necessarily 20 bartenders or what the Home Depot has to mix paint.
The reverse-dry shake is a technique that I recommend with any egg white drink, to minimize shake time, ease dilution, and achieve a perky meringue-like head. Start with chilling your tall, thin collins glass and gather your ingredients: high-quality gin, lemon, lime, egg white/aquafaba, simple syrup, heavy whipping cream, orange flower water, and club soda. Note that I use aquafaba (chickpea brine) instead of egg white (details below), and prefer coconut La Croix sparkling water to add that little bit of extra zhoosh.
Mix it up: Fill your cocktail shaker with the following ingredients:
- Squeeze half a lime and half a lemon, expecting about a half ounce each.
- 2 ounces gin. I like to use locally made sprits to support people in our community, like Blinking Owl or Drift distilleries, but any high-quality, London dry gin will do. The original used Old Tom gin, but the drink is sweet enough.
- 1 ounce simple syrup. Make your own! Boil equal parts sugar and water for 10 minutes, chill down and store in the fridge in a mason jar. You can also buy it.
- 1 ounce egg white or aquafaba. I prefer aquafaba at the home bar as I don’t have to worry about keeping fresh eggs around the house. Simply buy a can of chickpeas, poke holes in the can to drain the liquid, and use the liquid instead of egg white. Vegans use aquafaba extensively to make anything that froths like eggs, and after a good shaking, it tastes like pure foam. Bonus: you can make hummus with leftover lemons and chickpeas!
- 1 ounce heavy whipping cream. I buy the smallest container the store carries.
To do the reverse-dry shake, start your wet shake first with 4-5 tray-ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds. Double strain out the ice, reseal, press play on Maniac, then continue to shake as long as you can stand it. I did around 90 seconds, switching hands a couple times. Strain into your glass and let sit for a half-minute. Next, slowly drizzle your coconut, lemon, or lime La Croix in the center of the glass while admiring the growing froth. Add a few drops of orange flower water to the top, then slide a straw to the top, admiring its almost blizzard-like consistency.
Drink while making another!