Why is a raven like a writing desk? Because its sipping on a Ramos Gin Fizz, that’s why. About a year ago in Nashville I was cordially introduced to the Gin Fizz at the Patterson House; after a few minutes of tentative conversation we shook hands and decided that we were going to get along just fine thank you very much!
History and Gin, two of my favorite things to spend time ruminating on (or in), are married together pretty damn near perfectly in the Ramos Gin Fizz. Shall I explain? Firstly, a ‘fizz’ is a drink characterized by carbonated water + some sort of acidic juice (lemon, lime, etc). A Ramos Gin Fizz is a combination of egg whites, gin, carbonated water, vanilla (if you want it), a touch of orange flower water, lime juice, lemon juice, simple sugar, half and half and ice. Yes, there are egg whites in this (and no, I don’t personally recommend using powdered egg whites to avoid salmonella).
The Ramos Gin Fizz, originally known as the New Orleans Fizz, was invented in 1888 (pre prohibition) by a Henrico C. Ramos in the Meyer’s Restraunt bar. Apparently the drink was so popular that young men were employed specifically to shake the drinks. The drink was touted as being able to “conjure up visions . . . of wistaria [sic] blooming in old patios, of sights and smells associated only with the Vieux Carré (NYTimes)”. The drink does have a patina of the jazz age about it, a wash of neon lights perhaps, and the sound of an all night orchestra warming up with their first drinks clinking in time to the tuning of strings and the bleating of brass. I have to believe Gatsby would have been quite at home offering these illicitly to guests at his infamous and spiralling parties, or perhaps Nick Carraway would have bought one for a lady friend on a jaunt through New York City:
“”I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone’s away. There’s something very sensuous about it – overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands (The Great Gatsby).”.
Back to Nashville. Later on that same trip a friend of the couple I was staying with came over ( bringing with him what may as well have been his personal liqueur cabinet) with the intent to make us all Ramos Gin Fizzes! Sadly I don’t remember this guys name at all, but kudos to him for making awesome drinks that I drank way, way too quickly.
RAMOS GIN FIZZ
(makes 1 drink)
2 ounces gin (I like New Amsterdam, its relatively inexpensive and still good)
2 drops of orange flower water
1 large egg white
1/2 ounce of half and half
1/2 ounce of fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce of fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce of simple syrup
1 ounce of seltzer water
1 cup of ice
In a large cocktail shaker combine gin, orange blossom water, egg white, half and half, lemon juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake seriously for 25 seconds, add the ice and shake for 30 more seconds. Strain the drink into an 8 ounce glass and top off (slowly) with the seltzer water. DO NOT ADD SELTZER WATER TO MIXTURE IN THE SHAKER. IT WILL EXPLODE (luckily my husband is smarter then me and solved the mystery of the exploding gin fizz)