Ramos Gin Fizz at Tujague's (Photo by David Grunfeld / The Times-Picayune)

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…


  • 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
  • Seltzer


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.


10 Responses to “Classic Cocktail Tuesdays: The Ramos Gin Fizz”

  1. Wine Lover says:

    Classic Cocktail Tuesdays: The Ramos Gin Fizz: The sight must have been incredible. A whir of flashing metal cockt… http://bit.ly/d3gPIN

  2. Its 1919. 35 cocktail shakers whirl away. "Shake, boys, shake! Don't let up!", he yells. This wk's classic cocktail: http://bit.ly/dzs7tO

  3. In the late 1800s, Henry created one of the most physically demanding cocktails to date. I give you the Ramos Gin Fizz: http://bit.ly/dzs7tO

  4. RT @grapesandgrains: In the late 1800s, Henry created one of the most physically demanding cocktails to date. I give you the Ramos Gin Fizz: http://bit.ly/dzs7tO

  5. Kelley Slagle says:

    This is one of my all time favorite cocktails. I was on a quest for one just two weeks ago while in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail. It is unfortunately hard to find one made with the care and love it needs to be delicious but when you find it, it is pure heaven. The results of my quest, go to Cure in New Orleans and no matter who is behind the bar the Ramos Gin Fizz will always be perfect. Now to find a good one in NYC…..

  6. Cure it is. We’ll have to find its equal in NYC, people. What do you got?

  7. Kelley Slagle says:

    Update: I was out on Saturday night in Brooklyn enjoying a good beer and good company sitting at the bar at Sidecar in Park Slope, when I witness the making of what appears to be a Ramos Gin Fizz. Sidecar has a reputation for taking great care in the crafting of their cocktails, upon further inquiry I find out it is, in fact, a Ramos Gin Fizz. Of course I order and it was perfect.

  8. Success! To Sidecar! Now! All of us! Meet you in the corner booth.

  9. Mark Schwartz says:

    Pegu Club makes a loving Ramos. The entire drink was emulsified like a cool, orange-scented marshmallow.

  10. Alan G says:

    Clarification… it was a Ramos Gin Fizz that came out my nose. http://bit.ly/bxhqPO. Still love @maddow.

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