Every spring for the last few years I’ve read a Walker Percy novel: The Moviegoer, The Last Gentleman, The Second Coming. It’s become a tradition that I look forward to — and savor. Percy’s third book, Love in the Ruins, published in 1971, created my second favorite warm weather ritual: the novel details the goings-on of a middle-aged psychiatrist, Dr. Thomas More, who golfs, naps, and generally gambols his way through a dystopian suburban Southern microcosm while questioning life, love, and his fellow denizens, all the while mixing and downing copious gin fizzes. This potion quenches his existential inner rumblings and sets him into smooth fits of fantastical wonderment: “…albumen molecules from the gin fizzes,” he notes, “hum like bees in the ventricles of my brain.”
Thomas mentions again and again the effects of the egg white on his brain and body, but egg whites aren’t part of the ingredients in a standard gin fizz. It couldn’t be the Ramos gin fizz, that floral and sticky sweet staple of the New Orleans brunch that’s perhaps the most famous egg-white cocktail; it’s just not something you can drink day in and day out. I asked SAVEUR contributing editor David Wondrich, a cocktail expert, to help me out. A gin fizz, he explained, is a mix of gin, sugar, and lemon juice; what Thomas was describing had to be a silver fizz, which adds an egg white into the mix, creating its distinctive creamy body and heady froth. I made it the night I got my answer: tiny bubbles clinging to the rim of the glass, a thick layer of white foam bubbling on top. Taking a sip, I closed my eyes and let it frost my lips; just like Walker Percy described, I was drinking a silver fizz. Tonight it’s your turn.