Our first stop when we arrived in New Orleans on a Saturday morning was the Roosevelt Hotel. This wasn’t because we were staying there. We made this important stop because the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel is home to the Ramos Gin Fizz, which is one of my very favorite cocktails (despite its lack of bourbon!).
A fizz is a cocktail with soda water and acidic juice (generally from a citrus); a silver fizz has the addition of an egg white. The Ramos Gin Fizz is a silver fizz made with gin, lemon and lime juice, an egg white, a little sweetener (simple syrup or confectioner's sugar), cream, and most importantly, some orange flower water.
The Roosevelt is a stunning hotel. Built in 1893 (as the Grunewald Hotel), home to ‘the Cave’ (considered the first U.S. nightclub), it was renamed the Roosevelt—after Teddy—by its new owners in 1923. Huey Long held court with many a Ramos Gin Fizz at the Sazerac Bar while governor (he even imported its bartender to New York once, to teach the NYC Roosevelt’s bartenders the proper way to make the drink). In the 1960’s the hotel was renamed the Fairmont, and in 2005 Hurricane Katrina shut it down.
The Cave at the Grunewald Hotel—glad I didn’t have to dust the stalagmites and stalactites!Happily, the hotel reopened this past July, restored to all its past glory (that of the Roosevelt Hotel and Sazerac Bar, not the Cave!), complete with four Paul Ninas murals depicting New Orleans life, and a curved bar made from one African walnut tree, begging to be caressed.
I don’t know about you, but when I travel I’m always prepared with a list of the ‘must see’ spots. These almost always consist of eating and drinking places: where to find the best ice cream, who has the finest oysters, and, yes, who has the best Ramos Gin Fizz. Hence our early morning stop (the Ramos Gin Fizz is really a morning drink). Sometimes, though, places look just how I imagine them, but the food doesn’t necessarily deliver as promised. The Sazerac Bar delivers.
Bartender with concoctions to celebrate the Saints impending Super Bowl winOur bartender at the Roosevelt's Sazerac Bar (I know, we should have been drinking Sazeracs, but it was too early in the day for that) strained our fizzes into highball glasses, and set them in front of us. Her vigorous shaking had produced a fizz with an cloud hovering above the glass, like a hat at a wedding. To my mind, what really makes the drink so great is the orange flower water.
Ramos Gin Fizz continues here...