Tonight, Wednesday June 27, promises to be a memorable evening at Grand Prize Bar on Banks. First, Justin Turner, chef and owner of food truck Bernie's Burger Bus, will make his debut in the Grand Prize kitchen. Second, Grand Prize's regular Wednesday night Commercial Free cocktail event will feature regular bartenders Alex Gregg and Billy Boyd allying with Peter Jahnke and a host of other bartenders to commemorate the one year anniversary of Jahnke preparing 100 Ramos Gin Fizzes with a Ramos marathon of their own. Jahnke recently announced his departure as butcher from Chris Shepherd's Underbelly to move to California. It all starts tonight at 7 p.m.
Given that he's associated with burgers, diners might be skeptical about Turner's menu that includes the following dishes: Blackened Gulf Shrimp Crepes, Mustard Crusted Grouper, Duck Breast over Foie Gras Bread Pudding and Hazel Nut Laced Beignets. Yet, anyone who's eaten at Bernie's and appreciated the attention to detail that manifests itself in items such as homemade ketchup and pickles might also be intrigued. Furthermore, recall that before he set off on his own, Turner spent seven years working for former Houston Rocket Shane Battier as his family's personal chef.
Clearly, Turner has more chops than just making burgers and is reportedly excited about the opportunity to show off. As Joshua Martinez, owner of food truck The Modular and organizer of the new service at Grand Prize, told Eater "Justin wants to spank everybody."
After one orders food downstairs, he or she should walk upstairs to check out tonight's Commercial Free Ramos Gin Fizz marathon. The Ramos Gin Fizz is a historic New Orleans cocktail that combines gin, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, orange blossom water, cream, and egg whites to create a rich, creamy cocktail. The problem, as Gregg explains, is that in order to emulsify both egg and cream, a bartender has to shake the drink vigorously for almost 10 minutes. "You're basically forming a meringue in the shaker," Gregg notes.
While no one is attempting to break Jahnke's effort of shaking 100 by himself, which Gregg says "is probably some type of record," the evening's goal is to recreate a vision Gregg had. He recalls an old story from the 1930s when a New Orleans bar staff of 30 shaker boys could not keep up with demand for the Ramos during Mardi Gras. Gregg wants to see a line of people lined up in a row all preparing the classic drink. Their goal is to prepare at least 150 cocktails over the course of the evening. While that seems like a lot of people, Gregg says he only needs 75 people to order two each, which seems reasonable.
To encourage consumption, the drink will only cost $10, which is half the price one would spend at Anvil to try one. Gregg explains the logic "[The Ramos] is really tasty. Is any drink worth $20? Yes, I would gladly pay $20 for one but not another $20 for a second." Tonight, anyone can order that second drink in good conscience.
Come for the blackened shrimp crepes. Stay for a Ramos Gin Fizz. It's going to be an awesome night.
· Peter Jahnke's Ramos Gin Fizz Marathon Turns One [Commercial Free Cocktail]
· Food Truck Chefs Get Chance to Shine at Grand Prize [-EHOU-]
Peter Jahnke marks off 100 Ramos Gin Fizzes[Sarah Crowl Keck]