Tag Archives: old tom gin

Cocktail of the Hour — the Ramos Gin Fizz

The Ramos Gin Fizz is one of the most time-intensive and physically challenging drinks for bartenders. In fact, its original instructions call for a 12-minute-long hard shake. Though most modern bars will shake it for two to five minutes, it still requires an intense physical effort. As a result, some bars will charge a lot more for this libation if it’s ordered during peak service hours.

Out of respect for my fellow bartenders, I’d been hesitant to post about it. With the advent of spring, this delicious, traditional New Orleans cocktail is something I’ve been craving on a regular basis. As well, its surprisingly straightforward place in history should be discussed and respected.

With all that said, please be considerate of your bartender when ordering this drink.

Historically, this drink has its origins  in the 1880s. Henry Ramos, a New Orleans bartender of the time, created this drink and ignited a craze. It became so popular that he had at least ten bartenders on the clock every night to keep up with demand. It’s not hard to see why — its creamy, fluffy texture is reminiscent of Lebanese ice cream and its taste is light, delicate, floral and entirely tasty.

As with most classics, variations on this drink have been made with different syrups, juices and garnishes. As spring approaches, experiment with different gins (I prefer either the Old Tom style) or different proportions to fit your taste.

Recipe:

1 dash orange flower water (orange blossom water is the same thing)
1 egg white
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz fresh lime juice
.5 0z simple syrup
.75 oz heavy whipping cream
2 oz gin

Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin. Shake vigorously without ice for at least 45 seconds. Add ice and shake vigorously for several minutes until the tin is frosty. Strain into a chilled Collins glass and top with soda water to create the foam cap.

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Cocktail of the Hour — the Martinez

Photo c/o Angel Negrin

Photo c/o Angel Negrin

As you might have gathered, cocktail history is equal parts interesting, contentious and vague. For every cocktail with a crystal clear genealogy, five more exist in a much more nebulous place. Such is the case with the Martinez.

Sometimes called the father of the Martini, this drink is supposedly named for the town in California where it originated. Other cocktail lore suggests it is one of Jerry Thomas’s creations or is named after the bartender who invented it. Unfortunately, there is little information to back up any of these stories.

Even if the Martinez didn’t have a direct impact on the creation of the Martini, each drink represents a different route for mixing gin-based drinks. The Martinez is basically a gin Manhattan complete with sweet vermouth, while the Martini gets the dry vermouth treatment.Interestingly, recipes for each cocktail have varied widely over the last century. Thomas’s How to Mix Drinks (etc) presents a cocktail that has a 2:1 vermouth to gin ratio, while The Savoy Cocktail Book inverts these proportions.

Personally, the more modern recipe is more pleasing for my palate. Though you can occasionally catch me drinking straight vermouth, I prefer cocktails that accentuate the base spirit rather than covering it. In this case, the vermouth tends to overpower the Old Tom gin. This style is heavier on botanicals than the now-popular London Dry gin, and is not as widely available. In fact, only one store in the entire state of Alabama carries a brand of Old Tom.*

The result is a light, nutty drink with a sweetness balanced by the addition of bitters. Even though it finishes dry, the addition of the sweet vermouth provides a depth of flavor beyond the Martini’s searing dryness.

Recipe

2 dashes orange bitters

1 tsp maraschino cherry liqueur

1 oz sweet vermouth

2 oz Old Tom gin

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice, stir for 12-15 seconds or until the drink is to your taste. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon peel.

*Hayman’s Old Tom gin is available at Lou’s Pub in Birmingham. Disclaimer: I have not been paid or compensated to mention them in this post.

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