I love these two wonderful old classic New Orlean cocktails…The glory that was the Sazerac and the grandeur that was Ramos gin fizz in the old days had people from far away dreaming about the city where these magnificient cocktails were made.
And rightly so…
Both of these cocktails are masterpieces and they are only two of several equally fantastic cocktails that was invented in the city where the cocktail was born. My quite often to-go cocktail at home is the Sazerac, it´s easy to make and always tasty.
The Ramos gin fizz is equally tasty but different like day and night and requires much more work to make but the result is worth the effort and i find it an excellent breakfast or brunch cocktail.
I don´t make it as often as the Sazerac though since i don´t drink cocktails at breakfast during working weeks and rarely in the weekends either to tell you the truth – unless i´m on a holiday – and if that holiday takes place in New Orleans (which it always does) a breakfast cocktail is more the norm than not – at least during Tales.
The home of the Sazerac was at 116 Royal Street. The bar itself was at the rear of the building facing Exchange alley. I have already written about this drink and the peychauds bitters though and you can read it here.
History has it that an average of 400 cocktails a day was served and more than 500 000 cocktails a year at the bar and that the rule of the house was to not serve any more to any guest showing any signs of drunkeness.
And it´s said that one day a tall Texan came in and ordered a Sazerac and then another and another and since he showed no signs of being drunk he was allowed to order even more which he did – ending up ordering 24 stiff cocktails – still not showing any signs of drunkeness – how that is possible i have no idea….i wonder if the story is true?
The Ramos Gin Fizz
The home of the Ramos gin fizz was owned by H.C Ramos and Co and located for many years at the corner of Gravier and Carondelet, later moving to a bigger building closer to St Charles st. Several “shakers” were helping out to shake each drink for about ten minutes to get that wonderful soft and balanced fluffy fluff that is a Ramos gin fizz…
These “shakers” job was only to shake up the drinks and was not entrusted to made up the drink – i believe that was a guarded secret…
The thing with the Ramos fizz is that it needs to be drunk fairly quick because it loses that special quality which makes it so good very fast, it should be drunk preferably within ten minutes. But since it´s such a light and smooth drink it´s no problem to imbibe it within ten minutes and you won´t get too drunk either – or even drunk at all – really i have never myself been able to NOT finish it later than that – it´s simply too yummy.
Of course you can make a Ramos gin fizz that is nice in less time than 10 minutes, i have actually never even been shaking one in ten minutes but maybe there is a difference? the usual way to do it is to dry shake it first (shake without ice) to get the egg white to emulsify with the rest of ingredients and then add ice and shake some more. Also one can use a hand-mixer to get it done even faster.
In any case – the drink is just lovely…it´s like drinking “clouds” or “cotton”, it´s so soft and smooth and those citrus notes so deliscious….and really a good start of the day.
It´s said that 3000 fizzes was served daily. I also wrote about the Ramos gin fizz here. The drink had to be hand-shaken and even though several “shaking machines” were tried they all failed since the result never was the same as when the drink was shaken by hand.
A real handcrafted cocktail!
RAMOS GIN FIZZ
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. milk (half & half or cream if preferred)
1 small egg white
2-3 drops of orange flower water (careful here! you don´t want this drink to taste and smell like a bottle of perfume)
Shake all ingredients except the soda and shake very well, when you think you`re done, shake some more - the more the better – and shake first without ice and then with ice – so that the egg white emulsifies and the drink becomes very cold and frothy. (Or use the handmixer way to do it – but really if you want to follow tradition…shake, shake, shake..)
Then strain into a chilled highball glass without ice. Top with a little club soda to get some fizz. No garnish – usually, but if you like to – a thin strip of orange, lemon or lime peel/slice is nice i think.
1/2 teaspoon herbsaint or absinthe
1 teaspoon of simple syrup or 1 cube of sugar or 1 tsp of granulated sugar
4 (or even more) dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Optional: 1 dash angostura, not tradition but it opens up the flavors
2 ounces rye whiskey
Strip of lemon peel
Fill a 3-1/2 ounce Old Fashioned (rocks) glass with ice. Place the sugarcube in another glass and moisten it with water until it saturates and crush it or use simple syrup. Mix with whiskey and bitters, add ice and stir to chill.
Discard the ice from the first glass and add herbsaint or absinthe and coat the sides of the glass, then discard the excess (i like to leave a drop or two in the glass) Strain the rye into the glass and twist a lemon peel over the glass to express the oils, then rim the glass with it as well.
Discard the peel, or if you like use it as garnish – but don`t drop the entire peel back in the glass.
Sazerac – the glass is always half full…