This is quite possibly my favorite drink to serve at Sunday brunch, as well as something I make as a gateway drink for people who insist they don't like gin. Cool, gently flowery, frothy, and smooth, drinking a Ramos Gin Fizz has been likened to drinking a cloud. It was invented by Henry C. Ramos in New Orleans sometime around the 1880s, and might have been lost had Ramos not decided to share his closely guarded recipe shortly before the advent of Prohibition. It's also a relatively complicated cocktail, with a multitude of ingredients and a long shaking time. However, I have never failed to impress guests by serving them, and it's well worth the extra effort it takes to make a cocktail this refreshing.
In an article printed shortly after Prohibition about Ramos, The New Orleans Item-Tribune gushed that his creation was "cool and smooth and stimulating, poignant and refreshing, expanding and enheartening, trouble erasing and joy bringing." I can't really disagree with the Item-Tribune's assessment.
2 ounces gin (The original recipe called for Old Tom; this is difficult to source. Plymouth gin works well.)
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
2-3 small dashes orange flower water
Optional: 2 drops vanilla extract (This probably wasn't part of the original recipe, but it's a great addition.)
1 ounce cream
1 egg white
Dry shake (shake without ice) all ingredients except soda water vigorously for two minutes. Add cracked ice and shake vigorously for at least 2 minutes, until the mixture is very cold and frothy. Strain into tall, thin glass, top with soda water, stir gently.
Notes: Orange flower water can be difficult to find. I usually find it in stores that specialize in Middle Eastern products. I would avoid using a London dry gin with this, American dry gins work well as does Plymouth if an Old Tom is difficult to find.