Spring brings warmth and lightness. We trade in our woolens for cotton and linen. Windows are opened to the heady scents of daphne and plum blossoms. Neighbors congregate outside to catch up on news after months of winter isolation.
The grey brown winter palette is replaced by a melee of pink, blue, yellow, red, and violet. Seedlings push through the soil and leaves begin to open up. The air is filled with potential energy. Asparagus, raab, and peas are consumed with wild abandon.
The seasonal yard work and garden planning brings about ambitious projects. Last weekend after hours of gardening, Mr. Graham and I craved refreshment, but soon discovered that we were out of tonic water. We did have some precious limes that had to be used. Ever since the lime shortage started, they are like gold, each one consumed with reverence.
What to make? I wanted something light, fancy, and tall. I remembered the gin fizz.
Before we make gin fizzes, I want to delve into some definitions. What is a fizz? Simply put, it is an effervescent variation of the sour. If you combine sour (citrus) and bubbles (seltzer) with booze, it is a fizz. Add gin for a gin fizz; add whiskey for a whiskey fizz. Easy peasy.
There are so many tasty variations of the gin fizz. I will gladly enjoy a violet gin fizz or a rhubarb gin fizz. The possibilities are endless.
My favorite is the Ramos gin fizz. A Ramos gin fizz adds egg white, cream, and orange flower water to a basic gin fizz. This cocktail was created by Henry C. Ramos at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans in 1888. One sip and you will see why this recipe survives.
Let's make some drinks!
Ramos Gin Fizz
The perfect brunch or afternoon drink.
For two cocktails:
3 ounces gin
2 - 3 Tablespoons simple syrup
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 fresh egg white
2 ounces cream, although I use half and half
7 drops orange flower water
2 ounces seltzer, cold
Combine everything except the ice and seltzer in a mason jar. Shake vigorously to combine and froth. Add ice to the jar and shake again for a few minutes (the original recipe suggests shaking it for 12 minutes, if you have the stamina, go for it). It helps if you share the shaking with a friend or two. Strain into into highball glasses. Top each glass with 1 ounce of seltzer and stir. Garnish with a wheel of citrus and/or a pretty blossom: A citrus blossom, violet, or borage flower are all good candidates. We used some plum blossoms.
Other techniques to explore: Some day I would like to try making them this way. Also, our friends, Lemon and Julia, make them in a blender - quick and delicious.
Come join us under the plum blossoms with a tall glass of gin fizz and enjoy some refreshment.