THE ICON: Henry Charles Ramos
THE LEGACY: Henry Charles Ramos, known to his friends as Carl, wasn’t your ordinary New Orleans bar owner. For starters: He never drank. He also maintained a firm rule that no one was allowed to indulge to excess in his place. Another rule: Last call always came at the same time every night, with the bar closing up promptly at the decent hour of 8 p.m. But if he was an inveterate rule follower, he was an amiable one, a gentleman saloon keeper whose bar — the Stag, on Gravier Street — would become known as a place for sophisticated imbibery. Want a martini? There was none better in the city. Sherry flip? Mint julep? Expertly mixed. But the drink that would make him famous, and keep his name alive, was the Original Ramos Gin Fizz, a snow-white, velvety-smooth concoction that would gain national renown. It would also cement Ramos’ name as a mixological master — and New Orleans as one of the country’s premier cocktail towns.
THE ARTIST: Gabriel Flores
THE INSPIRATION: “Mr. Ramos was no mere vendor of drinks. With the pride of an artist, he demanded a properly appreciative clientele. He scorned the money of those who desecrated his liquid masterpieces by getting noisy on them.” — The Item-Tribune, about Henry Charles Ramos, in a 1928 remembrance