Henry C Ramos may have had 30 shaking boys to shake his famous gin fizzes, but Chris McMillian and Philip Greene had around ten times that number this morning as – halfway through their Famous New Orleans Cocktails seminar – the audience were asked to take up their shakers and show some vigorous technique for the durance of the song ‘All Shook Up’.
The dynamic duo had already introduced Vanouverians (Vancouverites? Vancunians?) to some of New Orleans’ more famous residents – namely the Sazerac and the Mint Julep, to which Chris McMillian recited a loving verse worthy of Robert Burns saluting his haggis.
As interesting as these stories undoubtedly are – in themselves, the creation of the drinks tells tales about the the character of the French Quarter at the time – the Ramos Gin Fizz was always going to be the one that captured the imagination.
One highlight was newsreel of the Kingfish of Louisiana – Huey P Long himself – teaching a petrified-looking bartender in New York City the correct way to mix a Ramos. Even though he had been on the wagon for 18 months, he then tried 5 or 6, “just to check he’d done it the right way.”
Add to this the Hurricane, and it was a perfect introduction to the most celebrated cocktails of New Orleans.
Any photos of Philip Greene holding a bottle of Havana Club, by the way, are an outrageous and obvious photoshop forgery of the worst kind. The man works for the Pentagon, for heck’s sake, and there is absolutely no way he would be seen near any contraband liquor.