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Cook the Book: Celery Julep

[Photo: Jessica Leibowitz]

20091116-celerycocktailrecipe.jpgSearching for the perfect Thanksgiving-themed cocktail is somewhat of a challenge. Cranberry, the obvious choice, seems a little too easy and frankly, boring. A pumpkin-flavored concoction crossed my mind, but even the smoothest pumpkin puree is a little too thick for an easy sipping drink. Some ideas crossed my mind that were just plain silly, like a green bean gimlet or a sweet potato-scented Manhattan (garnished with marshmallows, of course.)

My search came to a screeching halt when I came across this recipe for Celery Juleps in Simple Fresh Southern by Matt and Ted Lee. It was as if the Lee Brothers read my mind. Here is a cocktail that incorporated celery and celery seed, two of the primary ingredients in the stuffing I grew up eating, into a fantastic cocktail.

This unlikely combination draws inspiration from the Kentucky Derby classic, the mint julep, and from Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda. As you might imagine, Cel-Ray is a celery-flavored soda popular in Jewish delis, and the perfect foil for a fatty corned beef sandwich.

I decided to do a test run of these juleps last night, and the results would have made any mustachioed mixologist proud. The celery syrup was crisp, refreshing, and not at all too sweet, set off perfectly by the fresh lemon juice and earthy bourbon. Garnished with a leafy rib of celery, I know exactly what I'm going to be serving my Thanksgiving guests as an aperitif.

Win Simple Fresh Southern

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Simple Fresh Southern to give away this week.

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