It’s something of a joke in bartending circles: If you want to annoy a bartender, order a Ramos Gin Fizz. At least if they’re working a crowd three-deep, that is. The New Orleans-born Ramos is among the best-loved classics out there, an ethereal and strangely light cocktail of gin and citrus, with cream and soda and an elusive touch of orange blossom water.
But it requires a lot of muscle. Like all drinks given a silky touch thanks to egg whites, the Ramos needs a whole lot of shaking to fluff it up, first without ice, then adding ice to chill it down. But in order to transform a drink with cream and egg into a frothy, light concoction, you need to go even longer. Per the original 1880s instructions from Henry C. Ramos himself, the drink requires an incredible 12 minutes of shaking. In fact, New Orleans bars of the time would enlist an entire team of "shaker boys," who would pass each shaker full of Ramos down the line.
These days, no one’s going to wait 12 minutes (and no bar is going to employ a cadre of shaker-people) for a single drink. But at least a few minutes of good, hard shaking—that’s essential. Pass back and forth between friends if you need to. And if you order one at a bar, don’t be surprised if the bartender hands you the shaker to take a turn yourself. The fact that you need to work for your drink makes it taste even better.
Crack open an egg, take a close look and a good whiff, and add to your cocktail shaker. (As always, when working with raw eggs, use common sense; if it looks or smells off, grab a new egg.) Add all the other ingredients except ice, seal your shaker, and give a vigorous shake. Then keep shaking. And shaking. For a minute or more. Hand it off to a friend if you need a break.
You’ll feel pressure start to build. Unseal the shaker, add ice, reseal, and shake again—for as long as you can stand it, at least a minute. Strain into your cocktail glass and garnish.
Now Make It
Sometimes we like to riff on the classics, but there’s really no improving upon a Ramos Gin Fizz. Try out the traditional recipe—with lemon and lime, gin of course, and a little fragrant orange blossom water—before you attempt any variations.