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Monday, May 24, 2010

Ramos Gin Fizz: a smooth blast from the past

The Ramos Gin Fizz is frequently mentioned in cocktail blogs and on Twitter.  Why, you might ask, is this cocktail so very well known?  In the late nineteenth century, when the cocktail was (by all rights) king, gin fizzes were all the rage.  In these pre-blender days, shaking was sometimes done by assembly line, with multiple shakers working on each fizz.  You can read all about the history of the Ramos Gin Fizz in Dave Wondrich’s enthralling book of cocktail lore: Imbibe!  Invented by Henry Charles (“Carl”) Ramos, who solved the problem of getting the raw egg white and cream (or milk) in this recipe to emulsify through extreme shaking, this fizz is a classic.  We know we have an accurate recipe because Carl once gave it to a reporter.

Ramos specified powdered sugar that in those days was probably like the Bakers’ Sugar found in my bar, which is fine grained, but not quite powdered, and dissolves easily in cocktails.  Orange Flower Water is not as problematic as you might think.  A recent shopping trip to Dan’s groceries on Fort Union Boulevard turned up several small, three ounce bottles (made in France) up on the top shelf in the beverage aisle where my trained mixologist’s eye spotted them.  It does, however, have a strong taste, so do measure it.  Concerning the cream vs. milk issue: just be aware that the more fat is in the mixture, the longer you will have to shake.  Warning: There is a very small chance of having bacterial problems with raw egg whites, so make sure they are refrigerated until needed and are handled properly. 

Ramos Gin Fizz

1 oz fresh Lemon juice (½ lemon)
½ oz fresh Lime juice (½ lime)
1 Egg white
1 tbsp fine Sugar (if using Dry Gin)
1½ oz Old Tom Gin (a sweetish Gin is a good substitute (or Plymouth (dry)))
½ oz Cream (or Whole Milk)
3-4 drops Orange Flower Water
1 oz Seltzer Water

Add ingredients, except the Seltzer, to a shaker half full of ice.  Shake briskly for at least 60 seconds (this is harder than you think), until the liquid is smooth.  You might want to use pot holders if your hands get cold, but if you do, keep a firm grip on your shaker.  Strain into a Collins glass half full of crushed ice.  Add more ice to the glass if it’s not quite full enough (and stir), but leave room to add a good shot of Seltzer (squirt it now).  Stir lightly once or twice with a swizzle stick and serve with a straw.


  1. Old Tom is considerably sweeter than any traditional Gin. That's why the simple syrup is put into a Tom Collins. When made with Old Tom Gin, you don't use any simple syrup. Add a teaspoon of simple syrup to a Gin Fizz made with Plymouth Gin.

  2. Thanks for the clarification! I appreciate your expertise. I have corrected the post to reflect your comment.