New Orleans Cocktails (Sazerac; Ramos Gin Fizz, Ruffignac?)
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
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_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocktail) . The drink has its origins in _New Orleans, Louisiana_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans,_Louisiana) . It is based on a combination
of _Cognac_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognac) and _bitters_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitters) created by Antoine Amédée Peychaud. There are
currently many different recipes for the drink, involving some combination of
Cognac, _rye whiskey_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rye_whiskey) , _absinthe_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absinthe) , _pastis_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastis) , _Peychaud's bitters_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitters) , and
_Angostura bitters_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pernod) , _Ricard_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricard) , _Herbsaint_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbsaint) , _Absente_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absente) and green
_Chartreuse_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chartreuse_(liqueur)) are common
substitutes. The inside of an _old fashioned glass_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_syrup) is frequently used instead.
The original Sazerac was a grape _brandy_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Br
andy) -based drink. More recent tradition defines that rye whiskey should be
used. In the United States, particularly New Orleans, _bourbon_
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.
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_ (http://www.martinwine.com/) 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
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:
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.
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,
Cols. 1-2 ad:
"One and Only One" FIZZ
RAMOS' Original Gin PHIZZ
H. C. RAMOS, LIMITED 712 GAVIER STREET
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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