When it comes to pairing beverages with Jewish deli fare, Dr. Brown's sodas are pretty much the only way to go. For the less adventurous there are black cherry and cream flavors but for die hard deli aficionados, Cel-Ray is it. Bittersweet and tonic-like, celery soda is definitely not for everyone ,but for those who love it the flavors are irreplaceable, especially when there's a corned beef sandwich on the menu.
Cel-Ray is a cult favorite and can be pretty difficult to find outside of Jewish deli territory, but thanks to Andrew Schloss's book Homemade Soda, its unique flavor profile can be replicated at home quite easily.
Schloss's Celrtzer is made with a sugar syrup infused with celery seed and a bit of kosher salt. Once simmered and strained, the syrup can be carbonated with a siphon or mixed with seltzer for a super refreshing, grassy sort of soda that's perfect for mixing. Add a few muddled mint leaves and a splash of white rum and you've got a gorgeous celery mojito.
As always with our Drink the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Homemade Sodas to give away this month.
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons celery seed
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
To make the Celery Seed Syrup: Combine the water, celery seed, sugar, and salt in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and let simmer, uncovered, for 7 to 8 minutes, until reduced to 1/4 cup. Strain out the solids and set the syrup aside to cool. The syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
To mix with seltzer: Pour 1 tablespoon of the Celery Seed Syrup into a tall glass. Add 1 1/3 cups seltzer and stir until blended. Add ice and serve.
To carbonate with a siphon: Combine 4 cups water and one batch Celery Seed Syrup in a 1-quart siphon. Charge with CO2 according to the manufacturer's directions. Siphon charged sodas can be stored in the siphon in a refrigerator for up to 5 days. Dispense as desired into tall glasses filled with ice and serve.