Julia's Child by Calvin Marty of Best Intentions Credit: Cory Popp

Celery root, bulbous and brown with wormlike tentacles sprouting off in all directions (OK, they’re technically roots), looks more like an alien character in a Pixar movie than something to eat. It’s the root not of the celery we usually eat but of a close cousin—though it does taste a little like celery. (It’s also known as celeriac, knob celery, and turnip-rooted celery.)

Calvin Marty of Best Intentions had never even eaten the root vegetable before he was challenged by GreenRiver’s Julia Momose to create a cocktail with celery root. He started out by figuring out how to cook it, roasting the ingredient with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Marty also tried pickling it. 

Ultimately he incorporated the celery root into a cocktail by roasting and pureeing the vegetable, then adding the strained puree directly to the drink. Celery root “reminded me of a potato, so I thought of potato vodka, which I really love,” Marty said. “It comes out real creamy and frothy [after being shaken], which must be all the starches in there.” Using vodka as the only spirit meant there was “a little too much potato going on,” though, so he added gin to the mix. Apple bitters imparted a touch of fruitiness; lemon juice, simple syrup, and a dash of Angostura bitters finished off the recipe.

“It’s a clean, crisp, refreshing cocktail,” Marty said of the drink he dubbed the Julia’s Child. “Going simple really lets the celery root flavor shine.”

Who’s next:
Marty has challenged Roger Landes of MFK to make a cocktail using seaweed.

Julia’s Child
1 oz Broker’s gin
1 oz Karlsson’s potato vodka
2 oz celery root puree
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
.75 oz simple syrup
3 dashes apple bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

Add all ingredients to a shaker and shake with ice, then double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a celery leaf.