At first the thought completely grossed me out. Raw egg white in a cocktail? Disgusting. But then I started thinking about it. I eat raw eggs. In homemade mayo, garlicky aioli, meringue buttercream...and I've never had a problem with any of those. I also eat raw fish. Hell, I was scarfing down the sushi last night like no one's business.
Over the holidays, when we were in Portland, I was faced with a dilemma involving egg whites in a cocktail. Now, let me set the context here. We arrived in Portland just before Christmas during the Arctic Storm of the Century. "The Snownami!" my brother proclaimed. And lest you think I jest, we were all holed up together--my entire family including 3 very happy snow-romping dogs and 2 very pissed off cats--at my parent’s small but cozy house for 4 full days, unable to really drive much of anywhere. So by the fourth day, just after Christmas, when we'd all decided we could probably use a little stretching room, my husband and I whisked ourselves away to the Pearl District for a much-needed date night. After a good hour salivating over the hundreds of cookbooks at Powell's, we nipped across the street for happy hour at Ten01, a restaurant I'd heard made a damn good cocktail.
So there we were, at the bar and in need of a cocktail. After a few libations piqued my interest, and I found myself being indecisive, I asked the bartender what he'd suggest. "Oh, definitely the Celeraic, it's really good and interesting." Hrm. But what about the egg white? I'm not so sure of that. Is it slimy? I could just imagine it slithering down my throat. Blech. He assured me it wasn't like that. Based on their reputation, I decided to trust him. Every eye at the bar was on him when he was making my Celeraic, a bit of gin, some lemon, pineapple juice, the suspicious egg white, all topped off and finished with a spritz of bitters...
When he handed me the frothy chilled cocktail, served in a big martini glass, I was intrigued. This is not what I expected. It smelled like heaven. Tangy, lemony, herbal, with a big mound of thick froth on top. It was amazing. Incredible. One of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. I was completely sold.
When we returned to the Bay Area, I'd already made the decision to make another, much more well known, eggy cocktail for our New Orleans–themed New Year’s Eve party: The Ramos Gin Fizz. Now, the Celeraic as it turns out, is a bit of a riff on a Ramos Gin Fizz (a very classic cocktail invented in the 1880s in New Orleans), sharing the gin, of course, as well as the citrus, simple syrup and egg white.
In any case, here are my interpretations of these cocktails, for use when you get tired of going to the gym and dieting and trying to keep up with all those new year's resolutions.
An Interpretation of the Ten01 Celeraic
2 ounces gin
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
1 egg white
A splash of simple syrup
A spritz of celery root bitters (good luck finding these!)
Add all the ingredients except bitters to a shaker, without ice, and shake until your arms want to give out (at least a few minutes). Add ice and continue to shake until you want to cry (or another few minutes). Strain into a cocktail glass and spritz with the bitters.
An Interpretation of the Ramos Gin Fizz
2 ounces gin (use the best-quality you can afford but nothing too strongly flavored, I used Hendrick’s which worked quite well)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 ounces simple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 large egg white
A few drops of orange flower water
A bit of cream (optional)
Add all the ingredients to a shaker, without ice, and shake until your arms want to give out (at least a few minutes). Add ice and continue to shake until you want to cry (or another few minutes). Strain into a cocktail glass and top with soda water.