We are an importer, exporter & wholesaler of alcoholic beverages & food with type 14 public warehouse & fulfillment service

Fluff It Up: Why the Ramos Gin Fizz and Soufflé Cocktails Are on the Rise

Over-the-top cocktails are on the rise. Not the chaotic, attention-grabbing drinks that employ theatrics purely for TikTok views — though there is some overlap — but rather the enticingly fluffy, soufflé-like cocktails that literally tower well above the upper limits of their glassware.

Though their history goes back over a century, fizz-inspired drinks are currently gaining popularity. And their obvious aesthetic appeal begs the question: Why haven’t these cocktails blown up before?

Similar to an actual culinary soufflé that requires precise conditions to pop up, these gravity-defying drinks are notoriously difficult to execute — none more so than the Ramos Gin Fizz.

Invented by New Orleans bartender Henry Ramos in the late 19th century, the Ramos Gin Fizz boasts a lengthy list of ingredients, including gin, lemon and lime juice, simple syrup, egg whites, cream, orange flower water, and soda. Even more notorious is its labor-intensive preparation — 15 minutes of vigorous shaking, historically — that creates a stunning, thick layer of foam. (Rumor has it that Ramos even employed “shaker boys” for the sole purpose of preparing his eponymous drink.)

It’s not surprising, therefore, that the Ramos Gin Fizz has remained conspicuously absent from cocktail menus in recent decades. But new, groundbreaking techniques that shorten its preparation time have created room for Ramos riffs to take off, allowing fans of the cocktail to finally order it without the awkward guilt of subjecting bartenders to a 15-minute workout.

A dazzling number of variations have hit bar menus across the country — from the vibrant purple Ube Gin Fizz at Chicago’s Michelin-starred Kasama to the elevated Tequila Alfredo cocktail (that’s questionably topped with a heaping pile of parm) at New York’s Bad Roman. Inventive cocktail bar Shinji’s engineered an impressively quick fizz build, Brooklyn’s new Strange Delight serves a Ramos Gin Fizz for two, and the renowned Eleven Madison Park even developed a vegan version to accompany its plant-based menu.

Credit: Quality Branded

Going Viral

Drinkers’ current craving for sudsy cocktails can be traced back to TikTok’s pandemic-era fluffy dalgona coffee craze. Now cafés, restaurants, and bars are serving their own takes. Specialty coffee shops pile lattes high with waterfalls of cream — even Starbucks puts cold foam on almost every new menu item.

It doesn’t stop at coffee. Beer drinkers embraced the trend, with many breweries offering extra-frothy pours via traditional Czech Lukr taps. Meanwhile, bars pulled out the whipped cream canisters to top everything from complex cocktails to simple glasses of vermouth with a thick layer of foam.

Naturally, some bartenders instead looked to the cocktail world’s textural equivalent of the fluffy coffee — the Ramos Gin Fizz — and applied some of its techniques to make new menu items. The now-viral Soufflé Espresso Martini was all but inevitable.

The White Whale of Drinks

Coinciding with this interest in fluffy drinks, as guests returned to bars post-pandemic, they craved something exciting that they couldn’t replicate at home. “The fact that people learned to make drinks at home forced bars to evolve,” says Juliette Larrouy, former bartender of the esteemed Two Schmucks in Barcelona. “You have to sell something different, something more technique-forward.”

 “A lot of bartenders have been challenging themselves to be more technical. The approach for bartenders is to look at these old styles of cocktails and see how they can improve on them.”

Larrouy and partner Moe Aljaff’s latest project, Schmuck, which will open in the East Village this year following several successful pop-ups, employs this approach. The pair uses unique culinary combinations and complex techniques to bring unexpected cocktails to life, like their towering Ramos Royale, which introduces mushroom and white chocolate flavors to the classic.

Credit: Schmucks

Sebastian Tollius, beverage director for Eleven Madison Park, has noticed the evolving landscape. “A lot of bartenders have been challenging themselves to be more technical,” he says. “The approach for bartenders is to look at these old styles of cocktails and see how they can improve on them.”

After ordering a few rounds of Ramos Gin Fizzes in New Orleans several years ago, Tollius became obsessed with how to make the drink as quickly as possible, while still achieving the dramatic, towering head. And when Eleven Madison Park went fully plant-based in 2021, recreating the drink without two essential ingredients — egg whites and cream — became the ultimate challenge.

Jonathan Adler, beverage director of Shinji’s Bar in New York’s Flatiron District, also aims to revamp classic cocktails with highly technical, and time-efficient, builds.

“The Ramos Gin Fizz is almost the white whale in terms of drinks in the bartending community in that nobody wants to make one — especially several during a busy service,” he says. “I truly wanted to make a statement by showing that it could be done faster than anyone else on the planet through technology and inventiveness on the production and prep side of things.”

Hacking the Ramos Gin Fizz

So how are bars conquering the ultimate cocktail challenge?

By front-loading the work. Instead of stepping away from a busy service for 15 minutes to shake the drink, bartenders have figured out how to pre-batch various components so guests can receive a Ramos in under three minutes.

At Causwells, partner Elmer Mejicanos prepares its showstopping soufflé cocktail before service, blending the ingredients (egg whites, cream, tarragon-infused gin, blood orange, and citrus) until they’re super frothy. The mix goes into the glass and then is stored in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up. It’s then stored in a separate temperature-controlled space until a guest orders one, at which point the bartender presents it alongside a ramekin with a blood orange cordial. When the server pours the contents into the drink, the foam floats up dramatically.

Credit: Decanteur Media

The freezing process gives the head of the drink more of an ice cream-like texture. Mejicanos noticed that when people would drink Ramos Gin Fizzes, the foam would sometimes taste like sour milk and go untouched. To avoid this waste, he sprinkles powdered sugar and three different types of citrus zest, adding flavor to the foam itself, and serves the drink with a spoon.

Because of the cooler space required, the team only prepares 20 per day, and they sell out every night. At Mejicanos’ newest project opening this summer, Delilah’s, the menu will feature an even more trendy soufflé Espresso Martini.

Restaurants like the recently opened New Orleans-inspired Strange Delight use the iSi whipper to achieve a frothy texture, whereas others like Larrouy and Aljaff use a milkshake mixer to add height to their drinks at Schmucks.

At Eleven Madison Park, Tollius utilizes a specific shaking technique that helps aerate the mixture. “We want to whip it as much as possible with just a few ice cubes, using them like a whisk with a longer, rounder style of shake, so you’re making that whipping action within the shaker,” he says. Tollius also uses the freezer to help build the towering head on his vegan version of the Ramos.

Credit: Emily Setelin

Adler’s technique at Shinji’s might be the most labor-intensive of the pack in terms of prep, but the reward is a fizz that takes a fraction of the time required to make a standard Ramos. He batches together Fords Gin, hojicha vanilla syrup, egg white powder, and water seasoned with the flavor of citrus marigold flowers. Adler also prepares a frozen whipped cream powder by dispatching a charged iSi canister directly into liquid nitrogen. With such meticulous preparation, when guests order the Shinji’s Gin Fizz, all the bartender needs to do is add the fresh citrus, quickly shake the drink, and top with sparkling water — only taking about two minutes to produce an impressive three-inch layer of foam on the drink.

Now that these bartenders have set the bar, many more are working on their own Ramos Gin Fizz hacks. And given the friendly competition between the world’s most innovative bars, expect more wonderfully fluffy cocktails in the future.

Credit: Lizzie Munro

“Mike Capoferri from Thunderbolt also mentioned that he’s going to figure out a way to do it even faster. I would love to race him sometime,” Adler says. “If you’re reading this, Mike, you name the time and place.”


The article Fluff It Up: Why the Ramos Gin Fizz and Soufflé Cocktails Are on the Rise appeared first on VinePair.

Leave a Comment

Resize text-+=