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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ramos Gin Fizz

When considering recipes for any drink, the question to ask is, "What are the issues?" The issues with a Ramos Gin Fizz are many, starting with what to call it.

The Ramos Gin Fizz was originally called a New Orleans Fizz; it pops up early on as such. The drink also became known as a Ramos Gin Fizz later on, in deference to its inventor. There's no question that Henry Ramos worked at Meyer's restaurant in New Orleans, and there's no question, unlike with many other eponymous drinks, who the real inventor of this one was.

Jerry Thomas's 1887 guide, which mentions six gin fizzes, is of little help. There is in it a gin fiz recipe, but ironically, the 1887 edition of the guide precedes the invention of the New Orleans Fizz by a year, and three years after the death of Thomas.

Among noted present-day mixologists, you can't find Ramos Gin Fizz in Ted Haigh's Cocktail database; Ted is the ultra-traditionalist, and the drink goes by the earlier name there. But note Chuck Taggart has no problem labelling the drink the Ramos Gin Fizz. And their recipes are different too---slightly, but in critical ways.

Ted wants you to double up on the lemon juice; Chuck wants the lemon and lime to be present in equal measure. Ted calls a half-ounce of cream optional; Chuck calls out two ounces of it. Chuck wants you to shake the drink for over a minute; Ted doesn't specify.

There's also an option often found in bars to use powdered egg instead of egg white. But what makes a fizz a fizz is not an egg white; what makes for a fizz is sugar and lemon juice.

Overall, de gustibus non disputandum est. I like the Ramos without cream, and I wouldn't think of mixing it without egg white, and I too would double up on the lemon juice. In short, I'd follow Ted's New Orleans Fizz recipe to the letter, without the cream. But Chuck's recipe is certainly just as valid as Ted's, and tilted toward a mid-century modern moment, when cream found more favor in drinks than it does today.