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The Gin Fizz is cocktail number 40 on the Swank Cocktail Guide.
Gin Fizz cocktail history
Invented by famous mixologist, Henry C. Ramos, the Gin Fizz, also sometimes called Ramos Fizz or the New Orleans Fizz (although the New Orleans Fizz is a different Swank recipe), was all the rage in the 1890s at the Imperial Cabinet in New Orleans.
“If there be one place in New Orleans that is better known among men of the world throughout the United States than Clay Statue or the old St. Charles Hotel, that place is the famous “Gin Fizz” establishment of Henry C. Ramos, on Carondelet and Gravier streets, just opposite the New Orleans Cotton Exchange. According to the neatly-painted legends which appear upon the doors and windows of the famous cafe, its name is “The Imperial Cabinet,” but the fame of its most popular drink has tyrannically changed this name into that by which it is known far and wide, namely, the “Gin Fizz Place.”“A Famous Mixologist,” Henry C. Ramos and His Celebrated Gin Fizz,” newspaper article, The Semi-Weekly Times-Democrat (New Orleans, Louisiana), 1 Sept 1895, p. 28, col. 5.
Gin Fizz cocktail recipe
2 jiggers Dry Gin, 1 tablespoon Powdered Sugar. Juice each 1/2 Lime and Lemon. Shake well with ice, strain into glass and fill with Soda water.
- Hendrick’s Gin
- Fresh-squeezed lime juice
- Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Powdered sugar
- SodaStream carbonated water
Gin Fizz cocktail review
Our ratings (1-5 🍸)
One of our favorite cocktails. While our bartending did not quite live up to the description of those mixing up the Gin Fizz’s at the Imperial Cabinet, the article’s review of the drink is beautifully written:
What does this wonderful mixed drink taste like? You might as well ask for a description of a Mediterranean sunset. It is frothy delicacy, its quaint suggestion of fruit trees and summer odors, its evanescent flavors, blending like the hues of the rainbow, its cool, delicious whiteness, its sweet caresses as it wafts like an angel down the joyous throat–all of these are thing that no person can adequately describe.“A Famous Mixologist,” Henry C. Ramos and His Celebrated Gin Fizz,” newspaper article, The Semi-Weekly Times-Democrat (New Orleans, Louisiana), 1 Sept 1895, p. 28, col. 5.
For fans of the Fizz, a few other fizzes to try:
Dubonnet Fizz | Golden Fizz | New Orleans Fizz | Silver Fizz | Sloe Gin Fizz
Next up… Cocktail # 41, Golden Fizz cocktail
Swank Cocktail Guide: 80 cocktails in 80 days
A FAMOUS MIXOLOGIST
HENRY C. RAMOS AND HIS CELEBRATED “GIN FIZZ”
He Invents Novel Decoctions Which People Travel Miles to Drink-How the Nectarious Concoctions Are Prepared for the Thirsty Public.
If there be one place in New Orleans that is better known among men of the world throughout the United States than Clay Statue or the old St. Charles Hotel, that place is the famous “Gin Fizz” establishment of Henry C. Ramos, on Carondelet and Gravier streets, just opposite the New Orleans Cotton Exchange. According to the neatly-painted legends which appear upon the doors and windows of the famous cafe, its name is “The Imperial Cabinet,” but the fame of its most popular drink has tyrannically changed this name into that by which it is known far and wide, namely, the “Gin Fizz Place.”
Situated as it is, just across the street from the exciting and energetic scenes of the Exchange, which rules the destinies of Southern cotton plantations, the “Gin Fizz Place” partakes of the characteristics of its neighbor. The visitor no sooner passes the threshold than he finds himself in the midst of an atmosphere of strangely admixtured hustling and luxury. Before the bar stands a row of well-dressed gentlemen languidly sipping the nectarious concoctions for which the place is so famous, while behind the bar the barkeepers leap round with the energy of crickets. It is the immense and unremitting energy of the bartenders of the Imperial Cabinet which has earned for it the sobriquet among others of the “Shaker Place.”
Mr. Henry C. Ramos, the proprietor of this famous little saloon, is a self-made man. He has earned by force of hard work and careful attention to business not only a fortune, but the well-earned title of the prince of New Orleans barkeepers. Although a proprietor of the most widely-known drinking place in New Orleans, he works at the bar every day as hard, if not harder, than any of his employees. Half-past nine finds him at this post at the Gravier street end of the bar, and there he remains until closing time comes at 11 o’clock at night.
Fame Has Its Penalties
and nowhere is this better exemplified than in the case of Henry Ramos; whose skill as a mixologist brings the greater portion of the patrons of his establishment to that end of the bar over which he presides. It is a common thing for the entertainer of foreign guests to say, “You must now leave New Orleans without a gin fizz. Henry Ramos makes them better than any man in the United States. He is a personal friend of mine; come alone; we’ll get him to make us a few,” and out goes the party smacking their lips with a degree of anticipation only less than the enjoyment which is exhibited on tasting the cunning blending of fluids which constitute the Ramos gin fizz.
Years ago, in 1874, Ramos was a bartender in the most well-known establishment of Eugene Krost, in Exchange alley, near Canal street. Krost, it will be remembered, was a pioneer of lager beer at five cents a glass. In 1876 Ramos left Krot’s, and lent his energy and popularity to making a success of the beer saloon of Hugo Redwitz, on Common street, which is still to be found, though under a different proprietor, in the same place. In the latter part of the year 1876, Ramos went to Baton Rouge, where he embarked in business on his own account, opening the Capitol Saloon, the most popular and widely patronized establishment in the Capitol City of Louisiana.
After a successful career in Baton Rouge, the Birmingham boom, then at its flush, led Ramos, along with a great many others, to conclude that this was a fit place for his energies to find a fruitful field. He accordingly journeyed to Birmingham, but had no sooner struck the city than his cool level-headedness apprehended the approaching collapse, and he came to New Orleans. It was the most fortunate move of his life. Opening the Imperial Cabinet in the year 1886 under the old Cassidy Hotel, he was soon recognized as the most expert mixologist of the South.
The Mixed Drink
is essentially an American institution. Travelers from abroad have observed this in their notes of travel, and New Orleans, of all American cities, stands pre-eminently first in the art of their concoction. This being true, the fame of Henry C. Ramos as the foremost mixologist of New Orleans carries with it not a small significance. It was he who rescued from semi-oblivion a score or so of beverages, and by cunningly adding to their make up this or that, succeeded in making them as much sought after as was the nectar of old on Mount Olympus.
But of all the array of mixed drinks which has made the fame of the Imperial Cabinet, none can rank with the Ramos Gin Fizz, the recipe for which is essentially his own.
“A gin fizz, if you please,” says the customer at the bar of the Imperial Cabinet tot the polite, wide-awake, white-aproned bartender.
“Gin fizz, sir,” comes the reply, and forthwith the magic begins. Passing from this bottle to that with a wonderfully deft rapidity, the nebulous mixture in a long glass is handed in just one minute and a half to one of the many shaker boys who do duty as agitators behind the bar. Then for two minutes the delicious concoction is shaken and jousted, the ice tinkling against the glass, the rich cream rising, the delicate color becoming richer. A deft movement, the silver cornucopia is removed and the fizz in all its toothsome glory stands ready to be sipped in ecstasy by its fortunate purchaser.
What does this wonderful mixed drink taste like? You might as well ask for a description of a Mediterranean sunset. It is frothy delicacy, its quaint suggestion of fruit trees and summer odors, its evanescent flavors, blending like the hues of the rainbow, its cool, delicious whiteness, its sweet caresses as it wafts like an angel down the joyous throat–all of these are thing that no person can adequately describe.
A Famous Chicago Poet
once said of the “Ramos Gin Fizz:” “Ah, my boy, when you, for it sings ever so sweetly, and continues to sing, no matter where you may wander, so that the tender recollection of it remains with you forever.”
The poet was not wrong. It has been said that he who drinks of the Mississippi river water will return. Well might it be added that he who drinks of the Ramos gin fizz will want to come here and live. It is a matter of record that commercial travelers go many miles out of their route to reach the glorious temple of the Ramos gin fizz. In New York, in Chicago, in ‘Frisco, in St. Louis, nay, even in London, Paris, and St. Petersburg, wherever travelers of the world may be found, are the praises of the famous Ramos gin fizz of the Carnival City sung.
During the Carnival and at other times when the city is crowded, it is all Henry Ramos can do to supply the demand for gin fizzes. From the hotels come white-aproned waiters with silver trays, bearing orders for one or two or half dozen of the delicious concoctions; from the clubs of Canal street come messengers; from the offices of brokers, from the palatial sanctums of merchants; fevered persons tossing upon their beds crave of their physicians the boon of a cool and grateful fizz from Ramos.
So Great is the Demand
for the gin fizz and other drinks for which the Imperial Cabinet is famous, that Ramos has found it necessary to open in the busy winter season a little side room, where ladies may come with their escorts and sip the delicately-flavored beverage.
“If you could find a way of bottling these so that they could be shipped over the world,” said a drummer one day, as he set down his glass with a smack of his lips, “you would be the richest man in the world in a year.”
But alas! Like many another good thing of this world, it seems as if this “consummation most devoutly to be wished” will never be realized. The beauty and delight of the gin fizz passes away like the fragrance of a rose or the coldness of a summer shower. It must be drunk at once, for ten minutes after its fluids have been blended they return to their original identities.
To end with, it is only necessary to say that the head and front of the Imperial Cabinet is himself scarcely less famous than his great drink. All the great men of the State, Senators, judges, physicians, merchants, millionaires, brokers, journalists, actors, literary men have drank over his bar here or at Baton Rouge, and not the smallest portion of the distinguished names of the country have at one time or another stood at his bar and called a gin fizz, a “snowdrift,” a “mountain dew,” or an “iceberg.” A man of immense and unremitting energy, always genial, obliging, courteous and merry, Mrs. Henry C. Ramos is one those men whose success in life is a matter of gratulation to all who know him.
“A Famous Mixologist,” Henry C. Ramos and His Celebrated Gin Fizz,” newspaper article, The Semi-Weekly Times-Democrat (New Orleans, Louisiana), 1 Sept 1895, p. 28, col. 5.