Jewish Champagne

In beverage, food on 02/22/2009 at 4:46 pm

After an afternoon of back-breaking clothes washing the old-fashioned way, a classic beverage is most refreshing. You’d think that by attending a Jewish school and living in the heart of NYC, it’d be easy to imbibe my favorite soda, Dr. Brown’s Cel-ray, but no.  Besides the deepest nooks of the upper east side, I rarely find it anywhere, even at reputable Jewish delis like Sable’s.

Time to make my own then. Originally brewed as a celery tonic in the late 1800s by a physician with a taste for the veg (or so they say), Cel-ray is now known in fanboy circles as Jewish champagne. Spicy, a bit savory, a smidge sweet, it is an adult beverage that washes down pastrami by the pound and chases away the most offending thirst.

simple sugar
celery juice
celery seed or powder
lime juice and slices

Prepare simple sugar by melting sugar and adding water just to cover. If you want a brownish color, cook the sugar till brown and toasty, but Dr. Brown’s is clear, with an ever so slight tinge of green.

Juice celery stalks. Keep both handy in vinegar-type bottles for easy dispensing. (Try making celery seed extract by mixing 2 Tbsp of cracked seed with 4 oz clear, alcohol – vodka or gin would work well). Keep for at least 3 weeks in a jar, shaking vigoriously every couple days or so).

Sprinkle the bottom of the glass with celery seed. Top with sugar and celery juice or 1tsp extract. Fill to brim with seltzer. Stir vigoriously. Decorate with a slice of lime and some juice for that zing.

For a good ol’ time, add gin, vodka or your favorite alcohol to the mix. Celerific!

celery to the rescue

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