The Ramos Gin Fizz, Origins and How to Make it

by Richard Peristere

Delicate white foam, soft hints of citrus, and the perfect cocktail to begin your day. This classic cocktail, like many others, has its traditional origins in New Orleans. First crafted by Henry C. Ramos at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon and then the Roosevelt Hotel began churning out these delicious cocktails during the 1930s. Since then the Ramos Gin Fizz has become a complete classic. Premier establishments like The Beverly Hills hotel and the Ritz in Paris make a beautiful Gin Fizz...However, we can make it at home.

Origins of the Gin Fizz

What is the history of the Gin Fizz? The 1876 Bartenders Guide written by Jerry Thomas has four mentions of the Fizz cocktail included in the book. The Bar-tender's Guide or alternatively How to Mix Drinks. The Bar-tender's Guide codified past written or oral tradition. The guide broke down for the first time how to properly mix a cocktail, what bitters and other herbs go into making a great cocktail. Jerry Thomas, likely the first Bartender to codify American cocktail history in a written form.

(If you're interested in learning more about Jerry, check out our article on Bitters).

See image above for the original Gin Fizz recipe.

The New Orleans' Gin Fizz or Ramos Gin Fizz

The Gin Fizz was an enormously popular drink across the United States. The top hotel bars strove to make the perfect Gin Fizz, however a Bartender by the name of Henry C. Ramos stole the show. During 1888 at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon, Ramos unveiled his signature take on the Gin Fizz, however, his concoction took approximately 12 minutes to create. The New Orleans' drink at one point became so popular it required over 30 bartenders working at once to shake hundreds of Fizz. Following the big parties, Mardi Gras etc, the bartenders would lament that "they nearly shook their arms off". Generating the perfect foam is no easy feat. His concoction eventually assumed his name and we were left with the delicious Ramos Gin Fizz.

Imperial Cabinet Saloon

During the 1930's the Ramos Gin Fizz boomed once again in popularity. The Governor of Louisiana Huey Long fell in love with the cocktail at the Roosevelt Hotel. He loved the cocktail so much, he personally brought along his favorite bartender, Sam Guarino, to New York City in order have the drink with him at all time.

The Roosevelt Hotel would eventually patent Henry Ramos' gin fizz and to this day they are still serving the Gin Fizz amongst other legendary cocktails.

Classic Gin Fizz vs Ramos Gin Fizz

The difference between the original gin fizz and the contemporary Ramos Gin Fizz are pretty wide. If you look back to the original recipe, you'll notice a lack of egg white or orange flower water. (See contemporary restaurant below). A Gin Fizz is traditionally less sweet and reliant on club soda to achieve the sparkle. The froth of the Ramos Gin Fizz is primarily derived from the egg white being mixed vigorously.

The Classic Gin Fizz

The Ramos Gin Fizz

How to Make A Ramos Gin Fizz

This classic cocktail brings you to the warm velvet booths of the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans or the Beverly Hills Polo Lounge.  An elegant drink generally reserved for an early morning breakfast or brunch.

Delicate white foam pours just over the top of your Collins glass. A hint of orange and light citrus hits just right. This exquisite blend of heavy cream and Gin makes for a unique but delicious blend. Remember to shake without ice. Club Soda or Soda Water will work. Expect a frothy head. Our Gin Fizz recipe goes as follows :

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 Ounce of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

  • 1/2 Ounce of Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

  • 1/4 Ounce of Simple Syrup

  • 1 Egg White

  • 3 Drops of Orange Flower Water

  • 1 Ounce Heavy Cream

  • 1/2 Ounce London Dry Gin

  • Seltzer Water

lemon squeezer, lemon juice, citrus

Directions : 

  • Combine all ingredients except the Seltzer or Sparkling water in a shaker

  • Shake thoroughly and hard, without ice

  • Add Ice to shaker, and shake again

  • Add Seltzer or Sparkling water

  • Pour into a Collins glass

Why Add Egg Whites? To Get the Frothy Head

Bartenders have added egg white to cocktails since around 1890 because they add frothy textures and add creamy flavor. Many beverages are mixed with ice on the shaker. Gin Fizz is the dry shake. This method is used for several classical cocktails and produces the perfect white foam layer over them. Check out Boston Sour or Pisco Sour for another foamy drink.

What is Orange Flower Water?

Orange flower water is a clear aromatic by-product of the distillation of fresh bitter-orange blossoms for their essential oil. Or to put it simply, it's a liquid derived from the flowers of an orange tree. The taste is sweet and is used in many Mediterranean dishes and of course this classic cocktail.

How to Make Simple Syrup?

Making Simple Syrup sounds challenging but in fact it is quite easy. We prefer to use equal parts brown sugar and water. Start with a 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of water, bring to slow boil. If you want a thicker syrup continue to cook down until the majority of the water has been boiled out.

Many a classic cocktail use simple syrup so be sure to remember this.

Interested in Learning about Other Classic Cocktails? Want to become a Bartenders?

Learn about the Coupe Martini Glass here or check out how to make the perfect Manhattan cocktail.

Need a proper Cocktail Shaker? Checkout our premium collection of shakers or other essential bar products

Be sure to rate this recipe and let us know how your arm feels after the big shake.

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