Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ramos Gin Fizz-- A New Year's Day "Hair of the Dog" Grownup Milkshake--

Many years ago, there was a restaurant, called "The Clock Garden"  in my hometown of Monterey (California) that was known for their signature "Ramos Fizz" cocktail.  I can recall indulging in this frothy drink, while enjoying brunch on the outside patio, a few hundred dozen times.  If you've never tried one of these, I can attest that they can be a very sneaky drink.  They are smooth and silky, like a milkshake, and they can give you a bit of a buzz if you drink more than a couple.  They're also loaded with calories, but they sure are good! The gin isn't easily detected (and I usually don't drink gin).  There is a subtle taste of orange and a blend of light citrus, and a garnish of nutmeg that goes perfectly with any kind of brunch.  Sadly, the owner passed away and the restaurant lost it's magic.  It closed, for good, but I was given the recipe at least 30 years ago-- and then I lost it at some point. Years later, I indulged in one two of these delicious cocktails, when I had Brunch at Brennan's in New Orleans. I remember ordering their Eggs Benedict and a Ramos Fizz (another wait busting meal) but it sure was excellent!

A few weeks ago, I had a craving for a Ramos Fizz.  Then, a miracle happened.  Somehow, bits and pieces of the recipe, from decades ago, began to return from the depths of my aging clouding memory.  The words Gin, Cointreau, orange flower water, egg whites, half & half and nutmeg began to form in my head.  I decided to experiment if buying liquid egg whites would work as well as separating eggs.  Indeed, it worked very well!

I made one, and presented it to my husband. He liked it!  After making a couple of adjustments-- adding a little fresh orange juice, sugar and more ice, I nailed it!

I've ordered a Ramos Fizz, on rare occasion, from a restaurant or bar.  I've been disappointed, though, because Orange Flower Water is a key ingredient.  To me, it just isn't the real deal without this product that is is a clear, perfumed distillation of fresh bitter-orange blossoms. It's not that hard a product to find, actually. I think I bought this bottle either at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, a year or two ago. You also need to make this drink in a blender, so it becomes nice a foamy from the egg whites.  I used Sweet  & Sour Mix, but I just might go that extra mile and make my own with fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice, next time.  Now, all I need to do is recreate The Clock Garden's delicious Greek Lemon Soup and their Welsh Rarebit that they were known for.    I didn't eat them together, though. That would be an interesting combo, wouldn't it?

I'm pleased to have a piece of The Clock Garden Restaurant in my recipe file again. A printable Ramos Gin Fizz recipe is at the bottom of this post, in case you'd like to try one.  I think you'll love it. I really do. By making these at home, you can drink responsibly. That's a good thing.

I have heard that this drink can nurse a hangover.  Craig and I are spending a very quiet evening at home, with a glass (maybe two) of champagne, so I doubt we'll need a little "hair of the dog" that bit us.  I think our days of partying and drinking are behind us.

For New Year's Day, I think my husband and I will enjoy one of these to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary.  Yes, we're still newlyweds and I'm one very lucky woman!

Happy New Year, 2011!  

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Mary said...

This does sound lovely. I popped in to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope you've had a wonderful holiday and that the new year brings a full measure of good things your way. Blessings...Mary

Stacey Snacks said...

Happy New Year Deb!
I have never tried that orange flower water, but think I will now.
I have some baking recipes from the UK that call for it, and I subtitute vanilla.
I am drinking Orange Juice (potassium) this a.m. for my hangover.
Not the hair of the dog, but hopefully it will do the trick.

Joanne said...

Happy new year my dear!

I've never heard of this drink before but it sounds like one I wouldn't be able to put down. (And those are the most dangerous, now aren't they!) Delicious.

bellini valli said...

I love how our fgood memeories shape our lives Debby. I have looked forward to your culinary journey and the promise of all that inspires me from your kitchen in 2011.

bella (roz) said...

Happy New Year Debby! Looking forward to a great year of blog posts and I wish you health and happiness!

Claudia said...

Cheers! Looks like a good one. Happy New Year to you, and many more wonderful years ahead.

Dinners and Dreams said...

I like your grown-up take on the milkshake. Festive and delicious!


Diana's Cocina said...

Now this is my kind of milkshake ~ Happy new year, looking forward to all your new creations in 2011!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

A very happy new year to you.

How wonderful to rediscover your favorite drink. I'm not a gin lover either, but I'd tuck into this one happily. I'm also very curiuos about orange flower water. I must go seek some out because it seems like an ingredient I could have some fun with.

Cathy said...

I had that same meal at Brennan's years ago and still remember how much I enjoyed it. I haven't had a Ramos Fizz in ages and will save your recipe for a future celebration. It used to be my mother's favorite drink.

Kim said...

I'm loving that festive picture, Debby! Happy New Year to you!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I have just found your blog and what a nice place to visit! Love your German recipes ... the pretzels and semmelknodeln look so very good!

This drink recipe reminds me of those orange flavored ice cream treats ... totally yummy!

Donna-FFW said...

Oh this sounds fantastic... Happy New Year Debby!!

Ned said...

Thank you for sharing this recipe. My uncle, Jim Stone, was one of the owners of the Clock Garden.