If you don’t find yourself in a second line throwing beads on Bourbon Street this Mardi Gras, fear not. You can still get into the party spirit by whipping up your very own Hurricane or Ramos Fizz for the krewe at home. For the very best renditions of these classic cocktails, we turned to Boxing Room in San Francisco, where Louisiana native Justin Simoneaux turns out authentic coastal Louisiana dishes like gumbo and deep-fried alligator, and bar manager Gilberto Uribe pulls off incredible—not to mention historically accurate—Big Easy libations.
Created in New Orleans, this potent whiskey cocktail gets its name from the bar where it was originally served, The Sazerac Coffee House. The Boxing Room turns out a faithful rendition of the original recipe, in which the cocktail is first mixed with ice to get it nice and cold, then strained into a second glass that's been rinsed with a wash of absinthe to bring out its flavor and aroma. Bar manager Gilberto Uribe uses large-sized Kold Draft ice cubes to control dilution, but you can use regular ice cubes.
Makes 1 cocktail
2 ½ ounces rye whiskey
4 dashes (12 to 16 drops) Peychaud's bitters
1 ½ teaspoons (1/4 ounces) simple syrup (see recipe below)
Dash of absinthe (Pernod is best, or substitute herbsaint)
1 lemon twist
Place the whiskey, bitters and simple syrup in a pre-chilled pint glass. Add the ice and stir continuously for 20-30 seconds to chill the drink. In a second pre-chilled rocks glass, add a splash of absinthe and swirl it around to thoroughly coat the glass. Strain the whiskey mixture into the glass that’s been rinsed with the absinthe. Squeeze the lemon twist over the drink (discarding the peel) and serve immediately.
* To make simple syrup: In a small saucepan, bring together equal parts sugar and water to boil. Allow the mixture to simmer until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
This strong, tropical rum cocktail was reportedly invented at Pat O’Briens in The French Quarter in the 1940s, by a bartender who was forced to buy an abundance of rum. The name comes from the hurricane lamp oil-shaped glasses in which it originally was and is still served. At the Boxing Room, the bartenders use passion fruit syrup that’s made from scratch, but a commercially made brand like Torani will do the trick at home.
Makes 1 cocktail
3 tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) white rum
1 ½ tablespoons (3/4 ounces) dark rum
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) passion fruit syrup (homemade or store-bought)
1 ½ tablespoons (3/4 ounces) lemon juice
4 dashes (12 to 16 drops) of Peychaud's bitters
6-8 ice cubes, for shaking
Pebble ice (make your own or substitute crushed ice), to fill the glass
1 lemon wheel
Paper umbrella for garnish (optional)
Add the white and dark rums, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice and bitters to a shaker, fill with ice and then shake until cold. Strain into a hurricane glass filled with pebble ice and garnish with a lemon wheel and paper umbrella.
Ramos Gin Fizz
There are as many variations of a gin fizz as there are of chicken soup, according to Jonny Raglin, the bar director of the Absinthe Group (which operates the Boxing Room, Absinthe Brasserie, Comstock Saloon and the forthcoming Bellota). When reimagining this classic—a refreshing, velvety-smooth cocktail involving gin, sweet cream, orange flavor and egg white—Raglin started with the historic details about 19th-century bar owner Henry Ramos' classic. He got the inspiration to add vanilla from another NOLA spot, The Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. The drink’s original instructions dictated that it be shaken for 12 minutes to achieve the ultimate velvety consistency. Most bars steer clear of putting a Ramos on menu for fear of the time it takes to make a proper one, but the Boxing Room staff uses a stand mixer to do the hard work. You’ll want to do the same.
Makes 1 cocktail
¼ cup (2 ounces) gin
1 tablespoon (½ ounce) fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (½ ounce) fresh lime juice
1 egg white
2 dashes (6 to 8 drops) orange flower water (aka orange blossom water; available in liquor stores and specialty foods stores)
1 dash (3 to 4 drops) vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sweetened cream (see recipe below)
2 cups of pebble ice (make your own or substitute crushed ice)
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold soda water
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
In a tall glass (preferable a milkshake glass), add the gin, lemon juice, lime juice, egg white, orange flower water, vanilla extract and sweet cream and stir together. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer, add the pebble ice and blend for 30 seconds. Slowly pour the soda water into a highball glass, strain the blended cocktail on top, and then garnish with a pinch of nutmeg.
* To make sweetened cream: In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of heavy cream and 1 ½ cups sugar to a low simmer. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
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