The Ramos Gin Fizz is a quintessential New Orleans cocktail. Learn how to craft the fizzy gin drink at home. Also discover why it’s considered royalty in the Louisiana city where the good times roll all year long but especially during Mardi Gras.
Henry Charles Ramos literally shook things up when he created the New Orleans Fizz in 1988.
Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of this New Orleans cocktail classic. The name was later changed to Ramos Gin Fizz in honor of its inventor. Read on for the full fizzy scoop.
What Is the Ramos Gin Fizz?
The Ramos Gin Fizz is cocktail royalty in New Orleans, a city where cocktails rule the roost. However, few people know much about the fizzy gin cocktail until they travel to Louisiana’s Crescent City and imbibe it at the source.
The New Orleans cocktail never achieved the global recognition of the city’s Sazerac and Hurricane for a couple valid reasons. Ramos closed his bar at the start of prohibition, plus the drink requires an inordinate amount of shaking. That being said, let’s be clear – the Ramos Gin Fizz is not difficult to craft. However, in an age of immediate gratification, it does require an extra few minutes of work.
Cocktail connoisseurs won’t mind a little extra arm exercise once they taste their first Ramos Gin Fizz. The unique Gin Fizz recipe, which includes orange blossom water, cream and an egg white, results in a creamy cocktail with floral undertones and a bubbly cloud of fizzy foam. In other words, the Ramos Fizz is fun to sip, admire and taste.
History of the Ramos Gin Fizz
Many pre-prohibition cocktails involve simple recipes with five ingredients or fewer. The Ramos Gin Fizz isn’t one of those drinks.
Its creator, Henry Charles Ramos, took the simple gin fizz concept to new heights by adding orange flower water to a recipe that originally required twelve minutes of vigorous shaking. The New Orleans barman initially crafted the complicated cocktail at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon in 1888 and continued to craft Ramos Gin Fizzes at The Stag until the start of Prohibition ended the drink’s reign.
At its peak, Ramos had a bar filled with ‘shaker boys’ who shook Ramos Gin Fizzes for thirsty crowds that included Huey Long and other local luminaries. Those ‘boys’ were required to shake the cocktail for a full 12 minutes. Phew!!
Those crowds adored Ramos’ frothy cocktail. In fact, some likened the drink to lemon meringue pie. The Roosevelt Hotel bought the rights to the drink in 1935 and it’s currently a signature cocktail in the hotel’s The Sazerac Bar. However, for better or worse, bartenders at the hotel bar and around New Orleans have slightly smaller shoulders since they no longer shake Ramos Gin Fizz cocktails for a full 12 minutes.
Ramos Gin Fizz Ingredients
The Ramos Gin Fizz cocktail bucks the classic cocktail playbook with an ingredient list that exceeds five items. These is the full list of ingredients you need to craft the classic New Orleans cocktail at home:
Gin is the only liquor in the classic Ramos Gin Fizz recipe. We like to use Citadelle’s dry gin in this and other cocktail recipes. The French gin has 19 botanicals and comes in a pretty blue bottle.
You can and should use your favorite gin when you craft this recipe in your home.
Orange blossom water is the only ingredient that we needed to purchase to craft this recipe. And, to be honest, we had to do a bit of hunting before we found it it at a local specialty shop
It turns out that orange blossom water is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine. The fragrant, versatile liquid distilled from orange blossoms also shows up in recipes for French Madeleines, Mexican Wedding Cakes and the Ramos Gin Fizz cocktail.
How to Craft a Ramos Gin Fizz Cocktail
Once you assemble the Ramos Fizz ingredients, you’ll need to gather the following simple bar tools:
The first step is to measure the gin, cream, lemon juice, lime juice and simple syrup. We use a Japanese jigger to measure each of these liquids to ensure accurate measurements and minimize spillage.
Click here to purchase a Japanese jigger if you don’t have a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.
You’ll want to pour the liquids directly into a shaker after you measure each. We use a Boston shaker for this and other cocktail recipes. We own other shakers but this is our go-to shaker since it doesn’t leak and goes right into the dishwasher after we use it.
Click here to purchase a Boston shaker if you don’t have a shaker or want an inexpensive upgrade.
Crack an egg and separate the egg white. The egg white goes into the shaker too.
Raw Egg White
We’re comfortable using raw egg white since we have access to fresh eggs at our local markets. However, you can use pasteurized egg white or aquafaba instead. If you’re not familiar with aquafaba, it’s the liquid in every can of chick peas.
Measure the orange blossom water and pour the fragrant distilled liquid into the shaker.
Flex your muscles and grab a timer – it’s shake time.
We stated above that the Ramos Gin Fizz is labor intensive and we weren’t exaggerating. This recipe requires the following two part shaking process:
First, dry shake the liquids without ice for 20 seconds. The dry shake causes the egg white to emulsify.
Next, open the shaker and add a handful of ice cubes. Close it and shake with the ice for three minutes. Your arms will get tired and you’ll stop hearing the ice cubes rattling against the shaker. It’s all part of the Ramos Gin Fizz shaking process.
Don’t cheat on this step. On our first attempt, we added too much ice and didn’t shake long enough. The cocktail tasted good but had the wrong consistency.
Strain the shaken mixture into a highball glass.
The final step is to top off the glass with sparkling water. You can use unflavored seltzer, soda water or club soda if that’s what you have in your refrigerator. Be sure to use a new, fully carbonated bottle to achieve full fizz.
Assuming you didn’t cheat on the shaking step, a metal straw will stand tall in the drink. You’ll want to sip from that straw after you snap a photo or two.
Ramos Gin Fizz Alternatives
The most difficult aspect of crafting a Ramos Gin Fizz is finding orange blossom water. Here are some ideas if you have trouble sourcing the integral ingredient or if you’re uncomfortable ingesting raw egg white:
Ramos Gin Fizz Recipe
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 ounce heavy cream
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce lime juice
- 3/8 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 1 egg white
- club soda or sparkling water
- ice cubes
- Combine gin, heavy cream, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, orange blossom water and egg white in a shaker.
- Shake vigorously for 20 seconds so that the egg white emulsifies.
- Add 5 medium ice cubes and vigorously shake for 3 minutes.
- Strain into a highball glass.
- Top with club soda or sparkling water and serve with a metal straw.
- No garnish is necessary but feel free to top with lime zest, a lime wedge or an orange wheel.
- You'll know you got it right if a straw stands on its own in the finished cocktail.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.