The Arduous Method That Gives The Ramos Gin Fizz Its Iconic Foamy Top

Cocktail nerds will always gripe and grumble about the age-old shaken or stirred debate when it comes to classic cocktails like the martini, Manhattan, or gimlet. But there is one cocktail for which the answer is always shake, shake, and keep shaking: the Ramos Gin Fizz.

This canonical and oft-detested drink takes its basic ingredients from the Gin Fizz, which is made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white. The ingredients are shaken with ice, strained, and served in a Collins glass, sometimes topped with club soda. The Gin Fizz dates to the 1870s, but it would later grow in notoriety after the introduction of the Ramos Gin Fizz in 1888, distinguished by its lofty head of foam.

The Ramos Gin Fizz was invented by Henry Charles Ramos, the legendary bartender of the Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans, who was known for his strict morals and his impeccable mixology skills. The drink contains gin, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, cream, and orange flower water. It is famous for being one of the hardest cocktails for a bartender to make because the process of correctly shaking the cocktail isn't as easy as its light and airy frothiness would imply.

A Ramos Gin Fizz takes a double round of shaking to create foam

In order to achieve the thick layer of foam on top of a Ramos Gin Fizz, you need to shake the ingredients for a lot longer than you think. According to VinePair, it took bartenders up to 15 minutes to correctly emulsify the cocktail's ingredients back in Ramos's day, though this was likely an exaggeration. But the effort required did prompt Ramos to hire additional "shaker boys" to help keep the bartenders at Imperial Cabinet Saloon from quitting on the spot.

The easiest way to shorten your shaking time is to first do what's called a dry shake, where you shake the cocktail ingredients without ice and then add ice and shake again. But even a dry shake will take you at least 2 or 3 minutes, which seems like a lot longer when you're getting a full arm workout. For comparison, normal cocktails only need to be shaken for about 10 seconds, and egg white cocktails take about 30 seconds.

Of course, you can always cheat and create your meringue-like topping by putting your cocktail ingredients (without ice) into a blender for about 30 seconds and then chilling the mixture in the freezer for about 5 minutes. No one has to know — and you'll save your arms while you're at it.