Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
How come nobody ever talks about orange blossom water? It’s like, “Hey, welcome to the internet. Here’s a thousand articles about a bunch of bitters that you’ll never use, and no information on orange blossom water.” Okay, sure. There’s really only one classic cocktail that calls for orange blossom water, the Ramos Gin Fizz. But let me posit this to you: do you think there might be more contemporary classics out there if most of the commercially available products didn’t suck?
My favorite were always the A. Monteux. Those of you who have been doing this for a while will recognize the bottle, as seen above. They were everywhere and then suddenly they disappeared. A quick search reveals that Mr. Monteux finally retired from the business at age 90. Good on you, sir. But, I mean, could you not have left the business to someone, instead of just shutting the whole thing down?
There really wasn’t a huge public outcry, because as I quickly learned, people are much more excited about pretty much anything else than they are orange blossom water. I picked up a few bottles when I heard the news, and when my supply ran dry a few years later, I started looking for a suitable replacement.
I’m not going to get into a discussion where I slam some of the more ubiquitous brands out there. Let me just offer a blanket tasting note for you: they all kinda suck. Here are the two problems I’ve found with most of the commercially available brands:
Half of them taste like nothing and you end up using thirty drops in your Ramos Fizz just to get any sort of orange flower essence to come through. You’re like, how did you make these, did you just squeeze a few drops of orange juice into some water? What the heck? These are the ones you find from the States, typically.
The others are super fragrant, earthy, and oily. They don’t just overpower your cocktails, they take over your drinks to the point where your tongue is coated in the thick, perfumed air of some sort of movie set bazaar. Scouring the Mediterranean markets is how you find these.
But I’m so pleased to say that I’ve found a brand that is a) commercially available b) deliciously French. The Theodule Noirot Orange Flower Water is the one you want. I’ve tried them all, and this is the only one I can honestly recommend.
I guess you probably want a recipe, then. Okay. Here’s our house Ramos Gin Fizz. Feel free to make it at home. Hint, hint. (That means don’t come ask for one on a Friday night. Get it?)
RAMOS GIN FIZZ
1½ oz. London dry gin
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. rich simple syrup
½ oz. lightly beaten egg whites
4 drops orange flower water
1½ oz. half-and-half
1 oz. club soda or sparkling mineral water, chilled
In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, lemon and lime juices, rich simple syrup, egg whites and orange blossom water. Shake until egg whites become frothy, about 15 seconds. Add the half-and-half and a few ice cubes to the shaker. Shake for 10 to 12 seconds, or until the drink is chilled. Pour the club soda (or mineral water) into the shaker, then carefully strain contents into a chilled 12-ounce collins glass. Serve without garnish.