Not Your Mother’s RGF

These drinks take the Ramos Gin Fizz formula in daring new directions.

A famously fussy order, the Ramos Gin Fizz has been a calling card of New Orleans since its invention in the 1880s; in the drink’s early days, a full 12 minutes of shaking was required to yield its signature meringue-like top. Since then, despite its reputation as being notoriously loathed by bartenders, there are a number of drink-makers who have dedicated time and attention to the Ramos. Not only have they managed to hack that long shake time, they’ve developed a canon of uniquely modern renditions that range in profile from fruity to bitter to tropical.

The basic formula (historically a mixture of gin, citrus, sweetener, cream and egg white, lengthened with soda) has always been far more agreeable than its marathon-like preparation would suggest. The Morning Glory Fizz, a contemporary of the Ramos created by barman Harry Johnson, builds on a potent blend of Scotch and absinthe. It’s not unlike the more modern Fernet Ramos from Nashville bartender Camille Razo, which incorporates Scotch, Fernet-Branca and Coca-Cola in a playful spin on Fernet and Coke. Likewise, William Elliott‘s The Lambeth Walk Fizz does away with the gin base in favor of Rhine Hall Mango Brandy. Paired with pineapple juice and banana cordial and sweetened with demerara syrup, it reads like a Ramos by way of the tropics.

For the many takes on the RGF that keep the gin intact, unconventional modifiers, used sparingly, can add both flavor and complexity. The Mid-Morning Fizz, for example, incorporates a half-ounce of green Chartreuse for a pronounced herbal note, while the Pistachio Fizz leans on Faretti Biscotti liqueur and pistachio syrup for a sweet, nutty, dessert-like drink.

Then there are those variations that seem to play with each and every part of the formula, from the base to the fizz itself. One such take, Alex Smith’s pink peppercorn-dusted Phantom Drift, is tinted pink with Aperol, sweetened with honey syrup and lengthened with a last-minute pour of prosecco. Inspired by the Italian spritz, it’s proof that the Ramos can find a spiritual home far beyond New Orleans.

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