Legend has it that the iconic Huey Long employed a line of shaker boys to properly emulsify and whip up his beloved Ramos Gin Fizz cocktails. It is said that a line of 35 "Shaker Boys" could not keep up with the crowd demand for this cocktail during the 1915 Mardi Gras.
See this video demo by Chris McMillian Bartender at the Library Bar at the Ritz Carlton New Orleans. Notice the cut away while he's shaking...
Another story says, twelve minutes of relay is needed. You'd shake a few minutes then pass along to the next person, right on down the line. If you notice Chris' has a beautiful frothy head, spilling over the top of the glass. Twelve minutes? I lasted for maybe four vigorous minutes, hence the title of this post.
Here is my first ever, Ramos Gin Fizz in celebration of my friends in New Orleans at the Tales of the Cocktail. I pulled out this wonderful book: In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures fromthe Cocktail Chicks (Click title to go to my Powell's Bookshelf), Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan. This is a fabulous book for your home bar, for gift-giving. It's fun and frothy, but with just enough substance. Like some of our favorite barflies.
Orange Flower Water is fabulous for all sorts of things and essential to this cocktail. Vanilla is debated but if Brennan and Martin and McMillian say to use it, who am I to argue?
In this photo you can see the frothy head on the drink and the icy shaker. It's sort of like a grown up egg cream, with the egg and the cream.
I couldn't shake it long enough to get the type of foamy, frothy top that McMillian gets, so I say BRING ON THE SHAKER BOYS!