New Orleans Cocktails (Sazerac; Ramos Gin Fizz, Ruffignac?)

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Mon Mar 12 21:09:12 UTC 2007

The NewsBank newspaper database has some coverage from New Orleans, so I  
decided to look for the "Sazerac cocktail" ("Sazarac cocktail") and "Ramos gin  
fizz" ("New Orleans gin fizz"). OED has a poor entry for the former and no 
entry  at all on the latter.
The WIkipedia entry for "Sazerac" has no references and ends  curiously.
The interesting 1885 article below on new and old New Orleans drinks  
mentions neither the  Sazerac nor the Ramos Gin Fizz, although the article  does 
mention gin fizz. The Ruffignac is interesting.
Anything in 19th Century U.S. Newspapers? I don't feel like taking a plane  
to NYC just now.
_ ( 
The Sazerac is one of the oldest known _cocktails_ 
( . The drink has its  origins in _New Orleans,  Louisiana_ 
(,_Louisiana) . It is based on a combination 
of _Cognac_ (  and _bitters_ 
(  created by Antoine  Amédée Peychaud. There are 
currently many different recipes for the drink,  involving some combination of 
Cognac, _rye whiskey_ ( , _absinthe_ 
( , _pastis_ 
( , _Peychaud's  bitters_ ( , and 
_Angostura bitters_ ( . 
The Sazerac cocktail was named by John Schiller in 1859 upon the opening of  
his Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans. Both most likely derive their name 
from  a popular Sazerac-du-Forge et fils brand of Cognac. 
The defining feature of the Sazerac is the preparation of the glass with  
absinthe or pastis. Absinthe is used traditionally, but is extremely difficult  
to obtain in the United States and other countries due to importation and  
production restrictions. _Pernod_ ( , _Ricard_ 
( , _Herbsaint_ 
( , _Absente_ (  and green 
_Chartreuse_ (  are  common 
substitutes. The inside of an _old fashioned glass_ 
(   is coated with small amount of absinthe, and any 
excess is discarded. The coated  glass is either used to prepare the cocktail or 
is used as the serving  glass. 
Traditionally, a sugar cube was muddled with a small amount of water in the  
bottom of the glass. Today, _simple syrup_ 
(  is frequently  used instead. 
The original Sazerac was a grape _brandy_ (
andy) -based drink. More recent  tradition defines that rye whiskey should be 
used. In the United States,  particularly New Orleans, _bourbon_ 
(  is typically used in  place of rye whiskey. 
Some combination of several drops to several dashes of either one or both of  
Peychaud's bitters and Angostura bitters are added. 
The ingredients are added to an ice-filled glass and stirred until chilled.  
The mixture is then strained into chilled old fashioned glass. The serving 
glass  is garnished with a lemon peel. 
Historical information
A recipe for the Sazerac is listed in Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to  
Mix 'Em by Stanley Clisby Arthur, published in 1937. 
The "Professional Mixing Guide" produced by the The Angostura-Whuppermann  
Corporation in 1957 contains an entry for the Sazerac, but not a recipe.  
Instead, it states: 
Out of respect for the property rights of others, no attempt is made  herein 
to list any recipe for a Sazerac. Others have, on occasion, printed what  
proported to be a recipe for a "Sazerac Cocktail," but so far as it is known,  the 
genuine recipe is still a deep, dark  secret.      
A Ramos Gin Fizz (also know as a Ramos Fizz) contains gin, lemon  juice, lime 
juice, egg white, sugar, cream, orange flower water, and soda water.  It is 
served in a large glass, such as a Zombie glass. 
The addition of orange flower water and egg whites has a significant effect  
on the flavor and texture of the drink as compared with a regular Gin Fizz. 
The  possible danger in using raw egg in the drink means that most bartenders 
use  powdered egg white. 
The Ramos gin fizz was invented in 1888 by Henry C. Ramos, at his bar in  
Meyer's Restaurant. It was originally known as the New Orleans Fizz, and is one  
of the city's most famous cocktails. Before Prohibition, the bar employed 
dozens  of "shaker boys" to create the drinks during periods of heavy business. 
The Original Ramos Gin Fizz

Invented in the 1880s by  Henry C. Ramos, in his bar at Meyer's Restaurant, 
this is one of New Orleans'  most famous drinks. The secret of its flavor and 
texture is orange flower  water and egg whites. When Huey P. Long was governor 
of Louisiana he brought  with him to New York's Roosevelt Hotel the bartender 
from the New Orleans  Roosevelt just so he could have New Orleans gin fizzes 
whenever he was in New  York. Yeah, sure, every man a king ...  
Orange flower water can be  difficult to find, but is available in better 
liquor stores or Middle-Eastern  markets. You can also obtain it from _Martin's 
Wine Cellar_ (  in New Orleans,  (800) 298-4274, 
3827 Baronne Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.  
    *   2 ounces gin  
    *   3 drops orange flower water  
    *   1 egg whites  
    *   1 teaspoon bar sugar  
    *   1 ounce lemon juice  
    *   1/2 ounce lime juice  
    *   1 ounce cream  
    *   Soda water 
Shake very vigorously for at least one minute. Strain  into a tall thin 
glass, or a very large old fashioned glass, and top with some  soda water. Stir.  

A delicately floral-scented cocktail with a smooth, creamy  finish, and the 
heady kick of gin, the Ramos Gin Fizz is the perfect drink for a  Southern 
femme fatale.

Invented in 1888 by Henrico C. Ramos at the  Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New 
Orleans, the formula for this drink was a  closely-guarded secret for many 
years. But when the saloon closed in 1920 under  Prohibition, Henrico's brother, 
Charles Henry Ramos, shared the recipe with the  public in consolation.   
orig. and chiefly U.S.
Also Sazerac. [Origin unknown.]   
A cocktail consisting of whisky, pernod or absinthe, bitters,  and syrup, 
served usu. with a slice of lemon. Also attrib., as Sazarac cocktail.  
1941  Louisiana: Guide to State (Writers' Program) 230 The  most celebrated 
of New Orleans The  mosthe  <NOBR>is a mixture of whisky, bitters, and sugar,  
served in a glass mixed with absinthe. 1946  C. H. BAKER  Gentleman's Compan. 
II. 122 The  best drinks produced in New Orleans stick to the ancient simple  
The  band please, please, never try to vary it; for if  you do you'll not be 
drinking a true Sazarac. 
15 November 1853, Daily Democratic State Journal (CA), pg. 3  ad:     
...Sazerac de Forge...
15 June 1854, Weekly Ledger and Texan (TX), pg. 3 ad:
IN half bottles, for sale by KYLE & CO.
23 July 1885, Kansas City Evening Star, pg. 2:
_Some New and Old Drinks._
[New Orleans Times-Democrat.]
A barkeeper said yesterday that brandy drinking in New Orleans was  a thing 
of the past. It used to be the popular "ardent spirit," so to speak. All  the 
old scientific drinkers wanted brandy. But whisky displaced it, and is now  in 
turn being slowly encroached upon by malt and vinous drinks. But the process  
is slow, and notwithstanding the multiplication of beer saloons, where draught 
 beer is sold for 5 cents, the first class 15-cents-a-drink bars hold their 
own.  But they have a much larger call for bottled beer and wine. But the 
heroic souls  still scorn the milder beverages and only vary their straight whisky 
with the  approved mixed drinks. The gin fizz a year ago had the call, but has 
fallen to  the rear, and juleps and juleps and smashes now compete for first 
place in the  popular heart. A new and popular drink is imported from Memphis, 
and called by  the euphonious name of "rabbidegay." The "Manhattan cocktail," 
a juicy and  delicious compound, is the latest New York importation. e 
"Damiance" cocktail  was made popular by the Mexicans, and the "buck punch" of 
orange flower and  water is the approved thing for weak nerves in the early 
morning. "Shandy Gaff,"  a mixture of ginger ale and porter, beer or ale, is growing 
in popularity.  "Stone fence," a mixture of cider and whisky, was for a long 
time a favorite  drink. It is little called for now. Old drinkers recall the 
day when tansy and  whisky was the bottle kept nearest the barkeeper's whip 
hand. The one peculiar  drink of New Orleans, however, and one which still holds 
its own, is  "Ruffignac," a compound of brandy, syrup and soda. It is named in 
honor of Mayor  Ruffignac, who created it and drank it into popularity away 
back in the forties.  It has passed from the bars to the soda fountains, and is 
considered delicate  enough and of sufficiently respectable origin to be 
called for and drunk with  propriety by ladies. The soda fountain men, in 
consideration of this fact, have  encouraged a popular delusion that it contains no 
alcohol, for which it is  generally understood the ladies feel much gratitude. 
Another drink of much  popularity this summer is the egg soda, which contains 
eight ingredients, one of  which is a basis of acid phosphate. "Lactart," an 
acid milk, is also a new  decoction, and buttermilk maintains its popularity as a 
summer beverage. But the  universal sentiment among serious drinkers is that 
the mint julep is king.
5 September 1900, Columbus (GA) Enquirer-Sun, pg. 8 ad:
For the Finest Cocktail. Try "SAZERAC."
23 December 1903, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 12? ad:
Sazerac Cocktail...$12.5
Jacobs' Pharmacy
21 December 1907, Oakland (CA) Tribune, pg. 6, col. 2:
Is New Orleans to be dry? Eheu, alas and alack, will the Old  Absinthe House 
cease to be a landmark, the Sazarac cocktail no longer make the  wayfairer 
feel like the sultan of Sulu and the Ramos gin-phiz fizzle out? --  Houston 
6 June 1908, Kansas City Times, "Southern Delegates Find Little  Solace At 
Chicago Bars," pg. 6:
Those who doubt the assertion and who know both the Chicago and  the Ramos 
gin fizz place, not far from the entrance to the St. Charles hotel in  New 
Orleans, had best read the following:
One spoonful powdered sugar.
One tablespoonful lemon juice.
One dash of orange flower water.
One jigger of Old Tom gin.
One tablespoonful rich cream.
Cracked ice.
Seltzer from siphon.
Shake five minutes.
12 June 1910, Washington Post, magazine section, pg. 2, col.  3:
Sazerac cocktail was his favorite drink.
9 February 1912, THE DAILY PICAYUNE (New Orleans, Louisiana),  third section, 
pg. 13:
Cols. 1-2 ad:
"One and Only One"      FIZZ
RAMOS' Original Gin        PHIZZ
Opposite St. Charles Hotel--New Orleans
12 April 1937, Helena (MT) Independent, pg. 4:
Q. How did the Ramos gin fizz get its name? N. P.
A. It is called after its inventor, Henry C. Ramos, a master  mixologist who 
flourished in New Orleans from 1886. His place was so popular  that at one 
time he employed 33 bartenders to serve the customers who stood  before his bar 
several rows  deep.

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