The Ramos Gin Fizz can be a very intimidating cocktail. Achieving it's merengued perfection seems rather daunting, especially if you've never made one before. Not only is it a drink for those that have patience, as arriving at that peaked foamy top takes slow and steady control when adding the soda water, but you must also have some stamina. Because shaking the bejeezus out of it for a solid 2 minutes is a lot to ask a well-trained bartender, or even someone that does regular bicep and tricep work at the gym, much less a regular Jane like myself.
Before this post, I had never made a Ramos before. But, a true student of the craft, I asked all my drink slinging friends for their tips on how to master this beautiful beast of a cocktail, and I think it turned out pretty darn good for my first attempt.
This post was made up of lots of firsts for me. I had never made a Ramos before. I had also never made a liqueur with flowers. Nor had I made anything as painstakingly prepared as candied flowers. Yes, folks, this drink was truly a labor of love.
The idea sprang to mind a few weeks ago when I realized the Lilacs on my neighbor's tree were about to bloom. I started to brainstorm all the drinks I could make with a lilac simple syrup. Then I realized, I could make liqueur out of them too. Then I got to thinking about how I would garnish these cocktails, which in turn then led me to a recipe for how to candy flowers.
Candied flowers can become quite heavy and you really want a firmer surface to set them on so that they don't just sink to the bottom of the glass. That meant having a drink with a thick foam on top. I could make a foam in an iSi canister, but foams and whipped creams tend to break down really quickly and become a soupy mess. In order to really have a place to perch these beauties, I needed a merengue, and that meant a Ramos.
A few notes about this recipe: 1) Traditionally the Ramos calls for a few drops of Orange Blossom Water because it's very fragrant, but I used the Lilac Liqueur I made in place of it because it turned out extremely fragrant. You could use Orange Blossom Water if you didn't want to go to the trouble of making a liqueur, it just won't have the intense Lilac notes. 2) The candied blossoms are a little time consuming, but man, they really add an extra something to the drink. Here's a great guide on how to make them. 3) A Ramos is typically made with a London Dry style of gin. I wanted something that wasn't too Juniper heavy so that the Lilac notes could really stand out. I have been a fan of The Botanist since it was released and I can't get enough of it in cocktails because it really stands up to whatever you put it with, without overpowering the other flavors. It's an exceptional gin worth seeking out.
In the end, I had a wee bit of trouble when I added the soda water to my drink and the merengue went from being perfectly flat and stiff, to being a bit lopsided and foamy. I'll work on my technique, but for now, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, and I would encourage you to give it a try as well. It's tricky, but it's a lot of fun too. Enjoy!
Lilac Ramos Gin Fizz
- 2 oz London Dry Gin (I used The Botanist)
- 1 oz Heavy Cream
- 1 Egg White
- 3/4 oz Lilac Syrup (recipe below)*
- 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Lime Juice
- 1 barspoon Lilac Liqueur (recipe below)*
- Soda Water
- Candied Lilacs (for garnish)
Add first 6 ingredients to a chilled cocktail shaker and dry shake (shake without ice) for about 15 seconds. Add lots of cracked ice to your shaker and shake the bejeezus out of it for about 2 minutes. (If you need to take a break because either your hands are freezing or you're just too damned out of shape, there's no shame in it. I took several.) Strain into a chilled Collins Glass and let it rest a minute. Add the soda a little at a time, taking breaks in between. I stuck my glass in the freezer while waiting a minute in between adding the soda, which I did in 3 rounds. Doing the soda in stages yields a stiffer merengue on top, which just looks super cool. If you're feeling lazy, you can just add the soda and be done with it, but it won't be nearly as impressive. Garnish your merengue with the candied lilacs and enjoy!
- 1 cup Lilac Petals
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Water
- 4 Blueberries (for color)
In a saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Stir until sugar is fully dissolved. Add blueberries and boil for a minute or so. Once the berries start to split or rupture, you can press them with a spatula to get them to release their color without crushing up the berries. Stir until the desired color, remove berries. (You can also leave them in and strain them out later) Add Lilac petals and remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain the solids out through a sieve and press gently to release all the liquid from the petals. Store in an airtight container/bottle for up to 1 month in the fridge.
- 4 heaping cups Lilac Blossoms
- 400 ml Vodka (I used New Deal)
- 100 ml Pisco (I recommend Pisco Capurro for it's floral notes)
- 1 cup Lilac Syrup (recipe above)
Add 2 cups of Lilac Blossoms to a 500 ml canning jar. Add Vodka and Pisco and let it sit for 12 hours. Strain out the blossoms and add 2 fresh cups of blossoms. Let it sit for another 12 hours. Strain out the second batch of flowers and add 1 cup of the Lilac Syrup. Shake to incorporate and let it sit for 4 weeks for the flavors to fully meld together. Shake before using.
*Side note here, the lilacs don't give up their color in the form of a pretty purple. They will turn the liqueur a slightly tea-ish color. So it's not that pretty to look at, but it has an amazing aroma and flavor.