You might have seen Matt and Ted Lee on Unique Eats. And you might have seen and heard them talk about celery julep, a drink associated with the American South. Speedy was so roused with the unlikely idea of making a cocktail drink with celery juice. I found it a bit odd but, heck, why not? It never hurts to try something so totally out of our comfort zone.
So, after dinner last night, Speedy took out the food processor, asked for cheesecloth and went about making what would turn out to be one of the best cocktail drinks we’ve ever had since we were old enough to drink alcohol. My mother, whose allowable alcohol intake is limited to an occasional glass of wine, rose from the couch to take a sip and would have gone on drinking if she weren’t worried about the whiskey in the drink. It is so, so good. But a few sips were all she could have. Speedy and I each had two glasses of celery julep.
Based on a recipe from Matt and Ted Lee’s Simple Fresh Southern, as reproduced in Serious Eats.
- 4 stalks celery leaves trimmed off
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon or Tennessee whiskey (Speedy used Jack Daniels)
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- club soda
- celery tops with the leaves to garnish
Cut the celery into small pieces. Put in the food processor with 1 tbsp. of sugar, the salt and celery seeds. Process to a puree.
Fold a cheesecloth into four layers. Place a cheesecloth over a large bowl. Pour the puree into the cheesecloth. Gather the corners of the cheesecloth and press the juice from the puree into the bowl underneath.
Pour the celery juice into a pan. Add the rest of the sugar. Heat gently just until the sugar dissolves.
Fill four glasses with ice cubes. Pour in a ounce of bourbon or whiskey, a tablespoonful of lemon juice and about two tablespoonfuls of the celery syrup into each glass. Stir. Top with club soda. Drop in a celery top for a stirrer and serve.
According to the recipe source, the leftover celery syrup can be kept in the fridge in a covered container for a week.