A Montreal spin on Jim Meehan's Ramos Gin Fizz

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By now you've likely noticed I'm a fan of gin. 

I find it to be one of the easier liquors to mix and get creative with. Mostly because I haven't quite experimented enough with others and also because I'm only a guy pretending he knows what he's doing. There are many more "that'll-dos" created than this blog will have you believe.

In my quest to improve and learn some more about the world of bartending, I recently got my hands on "Meehan's Bartender Manual" by Jim Meehan. 

Meehan's work is quite frankly incredible. His manual covers everything from the history of cocktail-making to mise-en-place and bar layout. The recipes, while simple, are meant to properly educate those making them. They each come with clear instructions, writeups on their origin, the logic behind them and hacks to change them up and put your stamp on them.

While the hack for the Ramos Gin Fizz (p. 229) was a fair warning about the orange flower water, I've decided to bypass the ingredient altogether because I wanted to give it a wee bit of a twist. 

I impulsively purchased Les Charlatan's Orange and Rosemary syrup with no particular idea in mind. Naturally, I decided to try merging a bit of Montreal with Meehan's cocktail to see how it would turn out.

Turns out, it was pretty darn good.

Here's what Meehan's recipe calls for (and how I bastardized it below):

  • 2 oz. Beefeater gin
  • 1.5 oz club soda
  • 0.75 oz heavy cream
  • 0.75 oz simple syrup
  • 0.5 oz lime juice
  • 0.5 oz lemon juice
  • 5 drops orange flower water
  • 1 egg white

Since the syrup is ...well, a sweet syrup... I opted to change out the simple syrup and the orange flower water for the orange and rosemary syrup and the Beefeater gin for a Montreal-made Madison Park gin by 1769 distilleries. 

The gin is light and crisp. It's not as boisterous as some of my other favourite local gins like Cirka's Gin Forrestier and Domaine Lafrance's Dandy, and I find it to be a bit of a passe-partout. It can bend and take on other flavours without getting too lost in the layers or altering the other ingredients.

So, like Meehan, followed these steps:

  1. Pour the club soda into a chilled collins glass.
  2. Dry shake the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Add a bit of ice. 
  4. Shake again until the ice disintegrates (ok, that was a long shake).
  5. Pour (unstrained) until the foam hits the rim and let sit for 2 minutes before adding the rest of the liquid through the middle of the head of foam to let it rise.

Note that my foam didn't quite rise as high as the photo in Meehan's book, but I suspect it's because my dry shake was a bit poor and I should have given it a longer, stronger go.

Nevertheless, the drink was super enjoyable. It wasn't too sweet, and the rosemary gave it a je ne sais quoi. Actually, a je sais exactement quoi — a bit of a piney, bright addition to the otherwise delightful citrus. It was sweet, creamy and smooth. This is a cocktail for friends who ask for "something not too strong" or for anyone else you wants to be impressed by a) technique and b) how high the foam rises above the glass.

What cocktails have you changed up or altered lately? Let me know in the comments below or over on Instagram