TWO LOVELY NEW ORLEANS CLASSICS

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 Sazerac

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)
Soda

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.

SAZERAC

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…

ORIGINAL NEW ORLEANS COCKTAILS pt1 – Vieux Carré & Ramos Gin Fizz

vieux-carre-cocktail

Vieux Carrè cocktail

Tales of the Cocktail may still seem far away but time flies and what is more fitting prior to the Tales than mixing up some genuine cocktails from the city where the cocktail was born and where the Tales of the Cocktail is celebrated each year since eight years back now.

There´s no city in the world that knows how to throw a party like they do in New Orleans and with party usually comes also cocktails. I think there are “cocktails” and there are “drinks” –  like those popular go-cups you see on Bourbon st and they may have their own charm but here i`m gonna talk about genuinely hand crafted and wonderful cocktails, some of the best that have ever been made.

I`ll have to break down my posting about these awesome concoctions  into a few posts. If you`re interested in the history of the cocktails of New Orleans and have a chance you should visit the Museum of the American Cocktail now on april 5th when Darcy from Art of Drink will make a presentation on the influence of soda in cocktails, specifically those of New Orleans. You can read more about this here.

VIEUX CARRÉ COCKTAIL

This is the signature cocktail of the famous Carousel bar in the hotel Monteleone.This particular bar is especially interesting since its made from parts of an actual old carousel that revolves around the bar which is circular. Luckily is not moving fast…but its moving…and it’s a funny experience – and of course you get well crafted cocktails there – its a must try if you are going to New Orleans and the Tales.

You`ll sooner or later most likely find yourself in one of those marvellous barstools and when you do – take your chance and try the signature cocktail the Vieux Carrè – The old square – as its called – after the French quarter which is built like a square and where Monteleone also is. It was first mixed by Walter Bergeron in the 1930s.

the-famous-carousel-bar

3/4 oz. rye whiskey
3/4 oz. brandy
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
1/8 oz. Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

Build over ice, in an Old Fashioned glass

Aromatic with the vermouth and nicely boozy but not too much, this cocktail is  actually easy to drink. If you like rye then this is for you.

The next one needs no presentation, really – but for those who doesn`t know – this is one of the most famous cocktails of New Orleans – The Ramos Gin Fizz – and its a great cocktail with a history dating back to 1888. A smooth awesomeness just like the Absinthe or Herbsaint Suissesse – a dream of fluffy clouds…and if i say “easy to drink” well this one defies the word “easy”. Its maybe a good thing its a bit laboursome to mix – it may become a natural precaution of making yourself  too many…unless you cheat with the handmixer;-)

What you do then is starting it up with a handmixer in the glass incorporating air into it, mix for 20 seconds, then add ice and shake as usual for another 30 seconds. Now you`ve gained a lot of time and pain. This is also traditionally a morning cocktail – a day after refreshener. Usually i don`t start my mornings with a cocktail, i more likely have a coffee…but during Tales its more of a chance i would do that. In the right environment its a very nice thing.

The Ramos gin fizz  was invented by Henry C Ramos in his bar Meyer`s Restaurant. It was orignally called the “New Orleans Fizz”  and an armada of “shaker boys” used to take turns to shake it to the right consistency. This was before the prohibition. The poularity of this drink faded away with new times and new speeds but today when old cocktails are ressurrected again its more served also outside of New Orleans.

The fluffy dreamy texture comes from the egg whites and using raw eggs in cocktails  is nothing to fear – but if raw eggs is an issue there´s also powdered egg whites and they are simply egg whites where water has been removed. I have never tried it though. The secret in this cocktail is the combination of egg white and a touch of orange flower water.

ramos-gin-fizz

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)
Soda

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.

Now that`s a nice cocktail!

Mixology Monday – New Orleans!

This months Mixology Monday hosted by The Cocktail Chronicles has a great theme for July 2008…New Orleans! Thanks Paul for hosting.

New Orleans.…i have never been there yet but its been on my wish list since about 2004…I just know it´s a place i would just love! and now i really wish i could have been there to attend the Tales of the Cocktail…but maybe next year is my turn?

Its seems to be a fantastic city, full of creativity and vibrant life, good music, fantastic food, the Saints, amazing architecture and of course – The Tales of the Cocktail event –  i so badly wanna go!

And Matthew “Rumdood” Robolds vivid descriptions of the events and of the drink and food menus at the Tiki spirited dinner at GW Fins makes me drool…”outrigger canoes” of crabmeat and jackfruit in grilled endive boats…anyone?

But most important – meeting all the people! That must be fantastic. I and many of my friends, who cannot go this year are now following the Tales of the Cocktails online blogging, the first-ever live session of the Tales. Hats off to you all who are blogging on that event and make it possible for us who cannot be there to stay tuned.

I wanted to make a classic New Orleans cocktail and one Tiki drink by Don the Beachcomber and i have not been able to make up my mind about which one of the two drinks to choose..doesn`t matter how many Mai Tai`s used for help…so i ended up making both. And in any case…two is always better than one right?

The first one is the Ramos Gin fizz which was invented by Henry C Ramos in the 1800s and which is one of the most famous drinks from New Orleans. I love this cocktail, its so smooth, elegant and citrusy. It’s some work but its worth it when you take your first sip of this fluffy silky frothy dream of a cocktail.

RAMOS GIN FIZZ


2 ounces Gin
1/3 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce cream
3 drops orange flower water
1 egg white
1 teaspoon simple syrup
Soda water

Shake all ingredients except the soda water very vigorously at least for one minute, but the longer the better. Strain into a tall thin glass, and top with soda water.

DON THE BEACHCOMBER

As a lover of Tiki drinks and as even Tiki drinks qualify for this months topic — as already mentioned, Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt aka Don the Beachcomber, came from New Orleans.  So i have also chosen one of his creations for my entry in this months MxMo.

I decided to make the Rum Julep, created by Don the Beachcomber cirka 1940. This drink was served at Don the Beachcombers Cabaret restaurant in 1958.

RUM JULEP


1/2 oz fresh Lime juice
1/2 oz Orange juice
1/2 oz Honey Mix*
1/2 oz Appleton Extra Jamaican rum
1 1/2 oz Demerara rum
1/4 tsp Grenadine
1/4 tsp Falernum
1/4 tsp Pimento dram*
Dash Angostura Bitters
1/2 cup crushed ice

Put in blender and save the ice for last, blend on high speed for 5 sek, pour into a metal Julep cup, add more crushed ice to fill and garnish with Mint.

* HONEY MIX:

One part honey to one part water, heat and mix until the honey is thoroughly dissolved. Cool
and bottle, it keeps in the fridge for about a week.

* PIMENTO DRAM

If you want to make your own:

Grind 1/4 cup of whole pimento berries until you get a consistency of ground coffee.
Place in a saucepan with 1 cup Cruzan white rum. bring to a boil and then immediately remove from the heat. Stir. Pour this “tea” with berries and all into a empty rum bottle.

Fill the bottle about 3/4 to the top with more white rum. Seal and let sit for 2 weeks, shaking occasionally.

After 2 weeks, filter through a cheezecloth to discard solids and then filter again through a metal mesh coffee filter and a third time through bleached paper filters. if its cloudy, filter one more time through the paper.

Make a sugar syrup by placing one cup of water and one pound Demerara sugar in a saucepan.
heat until the sugar is dissolved. Mix equal parts of the sugar syrup with the Pimento infused rum. Bottle, seal and let sit for at least one month.The longer it sits, the mellover and more flavorful it gets.

Dram recipe by Matthew “Kuku Ahu” Thatcher, written in Sippin Safari.

Happy MxMo!

Okole maluna,

Tiare