Time, it does slip by. But what better point to get back to bloggin’ than Mardi Gras?!? And since New Orleans is the mother of all Mardi Gras celebrations, it was natural to try a couple of the city’s classics – the Sazerac and the Ramos Gin Fizz.
The Sazerac is a classic cocktail with some controversy. People, there are very precise methods and measurements to making this drink – many of them. A blogger/cocktail-author brawl could easily break out over the Sazerac’s “musts” and tweaks. In the end, I went with the following from The Gumbo Pages, a blog that purports, “in Louisiana … alcohol, butter, cream and big piles of fried seafood are still good for you.”
Sazerac1/2 teaspoon absinthe, or Herbsaint 1 teaspoon of simple syrup (or 1 sugar cube)
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters (essential)
1 small dash of Angostura bitters (extremely optional) 2 oz rye whiskey
Strip of lemon peel
For full instructions and some history, visit the site; it’s complicated. Here is my approach: Rinse (coat by running the absinthe around the inside of the glass) one cocktail glass with the absinthe and discard the remaining liquid. In a mixing glass, add the remaining ingredients and stir with ice until chilled. Strain mixture into the absinthe-rinsed glass, twist the lemon peel and serve.
On the whole, this drink didn’t work for me…too much like sipping whiskey neat for my taste. I did enjoy the Peychaud’s bitters (found at some area liquor stores), though.
Ah, the Ramos Gin Fizz. I have tried many a tasty variation of this drink, but never the original. While the Sazerac is the Official Cocktail of New Orleans (and, hello, Kirkland City Council, what is our official cocktail?) the Ramos Gin Fizz is one of New Orlean’s most famous drinks. I used the version offered by Imbibe Magazine, but did appreciate The Gumbo Pages’ warning about the orange flower water:
“Be EXTREMELY careful when adding orange flower water to this drink! It can very easily overwhelm, making the drink taste like perfume. You want a light, flowery touch, so no more than 3 or 4 drops.”
So true. If you are picking up a bottle of orange flower water (I found mine at QFC near cocktail mixers on the top shelf) – and you should so you can make the best grenadine ever – get an eyedropper while you’re at it. There is nothing precise about the pour from this bottle.
Ramos Gin Fizz1½ oz gin
½ oz simple syrup
½ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 fresh egg white
1 oz heavy cream (I had only half-and-half on hand)
3 drops orange flower water
1 oz club soda
+ 2 drops of vanilla extract (a variation)
Combine all ingredients except the club soda in a shaker with crushed ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled old fashioned glass. Add club soda and stir gently.
I didn’t have that dropper and poured too much orange flower water, but a late add of the vanilla extract helped temper the flowery taste. The Ramos Gin Fizz gets my Mardi Gras endorsement, no flashing required.
By the way, if you google “Cajun cocktail recipes,” you get far more hits for cocktail wieners than drinks. Interesting.
PS, next week is St. Patrick’s Day and I suddenly have a craving for a McD’s Shamrock Shake. Or another green drink…