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Like Phillip Seymour Hoffman or the Holy Roman Empire, the Ramos Gin Fizz is so worthy you should use its full name whenever possible. Born in New Orleans in 1888 in Henry Ramos’s Imperial Saloon, the Ramos Gin Fizz is the only drink that can challenge the legendary sazerac as the official cocktail of the Big Easy—it was Huey Long’s fave. But where the sazerac is all iron fist, the RGF is a velvet glove and, frankly, is best taken at brunch. The key, as the natty André Benjamin once said, is to “shake it like a Polaroid picture”—it allows the ingredients to emulsify, producing a concoction that’s light and refreshing. Cowards among us might use a blender to achieve this, which we admit would be easier. But so would wearing sweatpants to work.
Combine all ingredients (save for the soda water) in a cocktail shaker loaded up with ice and shake and shake and shake. One minute minimum, two is better, five—now we’re talking. Strain into Collins or Old-Fashioned glass and top with soda.