Originally called a New Orleans Fizz, the Ramos Fizz was invented by Henry C. Ramos as his "One and Only One" in New Orleans in 1888. Back in the good old days, at the height of the Ramos' popularity (and before blenders), Ramos insisted you needed to shake the Ramos Fizz for a full 15 minutes as this was what was required to create the meringue like consistency of the cocktail. As this is pretty much an impossible task for one person, plus very time consuming, he hired "shaker boys" for the tedious task.
There is a famous story where one bar lined up 15 shaker boys and sent the cocktail down the line because one shaker boy could not shake a cocktail longer than a minute without his arms seizing up. Now you understand why modern bartenders cheat and use a blender. Thank goodness for mod-cons!
When The Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans purchased the rights to the Ramos GIN Fizz in 1935 they trademarked it, promoted it and ensured the drink's position in the lexicon of classic cocktails. It didn't hurt that then Governor Huey Long loved the Ramos and brought his fondness along on his travels, spreading the recipe along.
At exactly midnight on October 27th, 1929,Ramos (always opposed to drunkenness and in support of the upcoming Prohibition) stated, "I've sold my last gin fizz", closed his saloon and retired with his closely guarded original recipe. Ramos finally shared the recipe with a reporter who "had the brass nerve" to ask for it just before his death in 1928.
RAMOS' ORIGINAL GIN FIZZ RECIPE
1 tbsp powdered sugar, 3 - 4 drops of orange flower water, the juice of half a lime, the juice of half a lemon, one jigger of Old Tom Gin, 1 egg white, 1/2 glass of crushed ice, 2 tbsp. of cream, a little seltzer water; well shaken and strained.
Interesting to note that recipe did not include any vanilla extract and there's a huge debate over its inclusion in the drink. There's no way of ever knowing whether Ramos used vanilla extract and excluded the ingredient from his recipe on purpose or just didn't ever use the vanilla in his recipe. I personally prefer the no vanilla recipe.
1-1/2 Oz. Old Tom Gin
2 Oz. Heavy Cream
1 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
1/2 Oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 Oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Dashes Orange Flower Water
2 Tbsp. Pasteurized Egg White
1 Oz. Chilled Soda Water
Garnish: 1 Dash Orange Flower Water, Orange Slice
Using The Reverse Dry Shake Method
1. Add the gin, cream, powdered sugar, both juices and 2 dashes of Orange Flower Water to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake 20 seconds to chill.
2. Strain out the mixture into another shaker with NO ICE. Add your egg white and DRY SHAKE for 90 minutes.*
3. Pour into a chilled 12 ounce Collins glass. Slowly add the chilled soda to lift the meringue just above the glass.
4. Tap on the Orange Blossom Water, garnish with a slice of orange and serve with a straw. If your straw stands up in the middle of your drink you have successfully made your Ramos Gin Fizz.
*I have shoulder problems so at the second step I strain my drink into a Boston shaker and use my immersion blender to emulsify the cocktail and build the foam. Call it cheating but it works and I don't reinjure my rotater cuffs.