The sight must have been incredible.
A whir of flashing metal cocktail shakers streaked the bar from end to end as the crowd crushed in around you.
There they stood. Thirty-five “shaker boys” all earnestly focusing as their arms screamed from the pain of ceaseless shaking.
It is said that to properly make a Ramos Gin Fizz, you must shake vigourously for two to twelve minutes. And I mean shake like your life depended on it. But, oh the results…because how sweet the outcome.
A now famous name in the cocktail world, Henry Charles Ramos had run a string of cocktail joints in Baton Rouge and Birmingham, plying and developing his trade with a studied eye and a keen sense of style. Upon hitting the streets of New Orleans in the late 1870’s, he was ready for the big time in the Crescent City.
After opening a bar called the Imperial Cabinet Saloon, he would soon shoot to acclaim, being “recognized as the most famous mixologist of the South” (a mention in the 1895 New Orleans Times-Democrat).
But he may have drifted into obscurity if it were not for his contribution of one of the greatest (and most physically demanding cocktails) ever created. First unveiled in a frothy cloak in 1880, his New Orleans Fizz (as it was first called) was an instant hit at the Imperial. By 1919, and after moving to new digs at The Stag, Henry C. Ramos and his Ramos Gin Fizz were legends.
During festivals, the bar was crushed with onlookers and patrons eager to get a taste of greatness. It is at that time that Henry is said to have employed up to 35 “shaker boys” whose sole job was to shake till blue in the face. What a sight it must have been.
This drink is truly a beast. A near ridiculous amount of ingredients and a physical demand sure to make you curse Henry’s name…that is until you fall under it’s silky spell.
Some say to use a blender while others would stone you for even suggesting the thought…
PART & PARCEL
- 2 ounces Gin
- 1 ounce Cream
- 1 Egg White
- 1/2 ounce Lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce Lime juice
- 2 teaspoons Sugar, to taste
- 2-3 drops Orange Flower Water
FILLING THE BILL
Combine all the ingredients (minus the seltzer) into a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake for 1-2 minutes or until you pass out. Pour into a chilled Collins glass and top with one to two ounces of Seltzer.
This is the traditional way, but over the more than a century of it’s existence, people have employed a number of cheats. While I mentioned that blenders are frowned upon, you can try that approach (just go easy on the ice as to not water the drink down too much). Or use an egg-whisk or milk-frother on the mixture till frothy and then add the ice and continue shaking.
Or you could always hire your own “shaker boy” and save yourself the effort. I hear they are going for cheap on the Bowery these days.