During Tales of the Cocktail, Chris Hannah bottles his Ramos gin fizzes so he can spend time making more drinks.
Frothy, floral and tangy, the Ramos Gin Fizz is an approachable, easy sipper — for the drinker, anyway. A bartender faced with a thirsty crowd sees it differently.
"With so many steps, making it can ruin a good flow behind the bar," says Chris Hannah, head bartender of Arnaud's French 75, which will see hundreds of guests during Tales of the Cocktail.
The recipe calls for separating an egg white, then dry shaking it with gin, simple syrup, citrus, cream and orange flower water — followed by minutes of more shaking with ice. Once it's cool and aerated, the cocktail is strained into a glass and topped with club soda.
No wonder, then, that Hannah began looking to streamline the process for Tales week. Inspired by his work with the Pop Shop crew, a group of local bartenders who staged bottled cocktail pop-ups, Hannah says he "got better at making bottled drinks the right way."
That means batching multiple Ramos Gin Fizzes, using a precise amount of water to stand in for the normally diluting effect of ice. He pours the drinks into new bottles, charges them with a carbonator (which replaces the soda water) and caps them.
Because he makes them daily during Tales of the Cocktail, Hannah still uses fresh egg whites and just-squeezed lime and lemon juices.
Last July, Hannah debuted his bottled Ramos gin fizzes, crafting labels from vintage images of Henry Ramos and the Roosevelt Hotel, which owns the rights to the drink (the hotel was a favorite of devoted gin fizzer and former Gov. Huey Long).
This Tales, don't be shy about asking Hannah for a Ramos Gin Fizz. But come in early, as he'll only make 10 bottles a day, and don't expect to see a shake show.
"Guests will be happy, and I love it," Hannah says. "Just pop the top and put in a straw; it's the same motion as serving a beer." — ANNE BERRY