Cocktail Hour: True and Untrue and the Ramos Gin Fizz

Another year, another Tales of the Cocktail on the record books. I attended, and will be sharing bits and pieces of what I learned over the coming weeks.

The best session I attended was True/Untrue, hosted by David Wondrich (my favorite cocktail writer), Wayne Curtis (my new favorite cocktail writer) and Dave Arnold (owner of Booker and Dax, which is part of Momofuku in NY; also kind of a molecular badass).  Cocktail history is a tricky thing considering it’s created around alcohol (always reliable, right?). They were there to bust a few myths and confirm a few truths.  My favorites:

The Vermouth Test You’ve heard me say over and over again “Refrigerate your vermouth!  Don’t keep it for more than a few weeks!”  We were given two Manhattans: one with fresh vermouth and one with vermouth that had sat out for six weeks in the New Orleans summer.  The difference?  Barely perceptible, with a slight (very slight!) preference for the fresh.  Interesting.

Hangover Cures  This was the most fun and I got a ton of response to my live tweeting of this on Twitter.  Here’s the rundown:

Eat a big meal– true.  Food absorbs alcohol.

Hair of the Dog– true, but poses a problem: you have to continue to drink for it to work.  Oops.

Liquor then wine/beer– false, sort of.  Starting with beer and then upgrading to liquor will ramp up your alcohol consumption and make you more drunk, but heavy consumption will give you a hangover anyway.

A glass of water for every drink you consume– true.  Drinking water keeps you hydrated.  Being hydrated helps prevent hangovers.

Engage in vigorous exercise after drinking– true

Engage in sex after drinking– also true; see “vigorous exercise”

The Cement Mixer— mixing Bailey’s and lime juice will create “cement” in your mouth.  A valiant volunteer tried it.  The spit bucket was used in less than three seconds and when catching up with said volunteer later, he told me that he couldn’t get the taste out of his mouth for hours.  Yuck.

The Ramos Gin Fizz— originally, the Ramos Gin Fizz recipe instructed the use of ten men, each shaking for a minute (and passing the shaker over their shoulder) for a proper Ramos Gin Fizz.  They had ten volunteers (including The Better Half) each shake for a minute, and compared it to a fizz shaken in a paint mixer.  Yep.  They were both about the same.

You don’t have to shake a Ramos Gin Fizz for ten minutes, but you do want a nice, fluffy consistency.  Dry shake your egg whites and follow this recipe.

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 to 3 drops orange flower water (you can buy this at Jungle Jim’s; orange juice doesn’t work, trust me)

Dry shake the egg white, then add the rest of the ingredients and ice into a shaker.  Shake for about a minute.  Then shake a little more.  Your hands will get cold, but it will be worth it– trust me.  Pour into a beautiful glass and pretend you’re in New Orleans.