Things we take for granted, there are a lot of them. Some you use or encounter often, others you don’t even notice intersecting with your life. The familiar becomes comfortable, it’s there, you don’t really give it a second thought for itself. It’s always there, ready and predictable, available at a moments notice. Take the Ramos Gin Fizz, how many of us who drink and/or make one regularly really think about it other than, it is tasty, it is cool, and it can take a long time to make? Don’t lie, seriously, who out there really sits down and thinks about it except as something you need to learn to make if you are serious about booze and cocktails. I’m not talking variations on a theme, not a new twist, but thinking about the original, what it entails, how to make the best one you possibly can.
I was in New Orleans last week, birthplace of the Ramos and the city where Chris McMillian tends bar. He’s a bit larger than life, for a guy like me, it’s like Thor decided to hand out the mead himself in Vallhalla one night. I don’t mean that to kiss his ass, enough people kiss his ass, or try to at any rate. I mean, he’s a presence behind the bar, a font of experience and knowledge that few of us will ever get a chance to accumulate. It takes a lot of years behind the stick to achieve his level of gravitas and also his level of humility. The Ramos is his drink as much as the Last Word belongs to Murray Stenson, or the cheeseburger belongs to In-N-Out, they didn’t invent these things, they just keep them alive as a living thing and make them as best as they can.