You don’t have to travel to New Orleans to enjoy a Ramos Gin Fizz. This creamy, frothy cocktail from the Big Easy can be made at home — without the 12 minute shake time.
A few years ago, Hilton Garden Inn ran a commercial in which actress Judy Greer sits at a hotel bar and asks the bartender, Eddie, to tell her the story about how they met. Eddie obligingly recounts how after Greer checked in 15 minutes earlier, she showed up at the bar asking for Eddie to surprise her with a drink. The drink turned out to be a gin fizz “with extra fizz,” to which Greer interjects “who knew is so my drink?” It never fails, every time I hear the name gin fizz, I hear Judy Greer’s voice saying, “… gin fizz with a twist and extra fizz!”
Judging by the bright yellow hue of the beverage in Greer’s cocktail glass, I’m guess she wasn’t in New Orleans. The Ramos Gin Fizz, invented in 1888 by Henry C. Ramos, owner of the Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans, is a creamy off white concoction topped with a foamy head of raw egg whites. It has a reputation for being a booger to make because the original recipes calls for a 12-minute shake time to achieve that foamy head. In fact, local lore has it that Ramos employed more than 32 bartenders during a Mardi Gras celebration to pass off the cocktail shakers so no one would get tired.
Egg Whites are a Must
A typical recipe Ramos Gin Fizz includes a couple of unusual ingredients, like raw egg whites. The egg whites are essential to achieve the foam. No, you can’t just leave it out. However, if raw eggs make you squeamish, you can substitute with powdered egg whites or a pasteurized egg white substitute.
Orange Blossom Water
The second unusual ingredient is Orange Blossom Water. It could also be called orange flower water. It is made from the distilled flowers of a bitter orange tree. In addition to this cocktail, it’s also used in cooking and baking, similar to vanilla extract. I assumed orange blossom water would be an easy ingredient to find a any local liquor store – like bitters or pomegranate juice. If you live in a larger metro area, that may be the case. My husband and I ended up checking several local liquor stores and no one carried it. I ended up having to order a small bottle through Amazon.
How to Make Simple Syrup
Simple syrup is made by combining equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat the mixture on the stove over medium low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Allow the simple syrup to cool completely. It can be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Do you really have to shake it for 12 minutes?
Short answer, no. Long answer, the prolonged, vigorous shaking adds air to the egg whites. Kind of like when you’re making meringue. Shaking the cocktail for 1-2 minutes will get the job done, although your foam won’t be as voluminous as if you had spent almost a quarter of an hour shaking the bejesus out of it. Adding a mixer ball to the shaker will help.
If you are determined to achieve a thick layer of foam but can’t fathom the arm workout, I recommend mixing the cocktail in a blender. My immersion blender ended up being very convenient for this method.
How to Make a Ramos Gin Fizz [The Traditional Way]
In a shaker without ice, combine two ounces of dry gin, ¾ ounce of simple syrup, ½ ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice and three dashes of orange blossom water. For reference, one dash is roughly the equivalent of 1/8 teaspoon. Also add one fresh egg white.
Shake hard for at least one minute, up to 12 minutes if your arms can stand it. Shaking the cocktail without ice is what’s known as a dry shake. Next, add ½ ounce of heavy cream and a couple of ice cubes to the shaker and shake again, vigorously until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain the cocktail into a tall glass, such as a Collins glass, without ice.
Carefully top the cocktail off with the seltzer water until the foam rises slightly above the glass line. Garnish the cocktail with a lemon or orange slice. Serve with a straw, if desired.
How to Make a Ramos Gin Fizz [The Blender Method]
Combine all the ingredients, except the seltzer water into a blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Add 1-2 cubes of ice. Blend again on high until the ice is pulverized.
Strain the drink into a tall glass, such as a Collins glass, without ice. Carefully top the cocktail off with the seltzer water until the foam rises slightly above the glass line. Garnish the cocktail with a lemon or orange slice. Serve with a straw, if desired.
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Ramos Gin Fizz
- 2 ounces gin
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce lime juice freshly squeezed
- 3 dashes orange flower water
- 1 fresh egg white
- 1/2 ounce heavy cream
- Seltzer chilled
- Combine the gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, lime juice, orange flower water and egg white in a cocktail shaker without ice. Shake hard for at least one minute, up to 12 minutes.
- Add heavy cream and ice to the shaker and shake for another 30 seconds until chilled. Strain the liquid into a tall glass without ice.
- Top the cocktail off with cold seltzer until the foam extends above the top of the glass.
- Garnish the cocktail with a lemon slice. Serve with a straw.
- Combine the gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, lime juice, orange flower water and egg white in a blender. Blend on low for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to high and blend for another 30 seconds. Turn the blender off.
- Add the heavy cream and two ice cubes. Blend again on high until the ice is pulverized.
- Strain the drink into a tall glass, such as a Collins glass, without ice. Carefully top the cocktail off with the seltzer water until the foam rises slightly above the glass line. Garnish the cocktail with a lemon or orange slice. Serve with a straw.