Mint and Celery Soda

I never gave celery much thought. It was stringy and bland, a sometimes necessary component in soups or potato salad, easily substituted by its smaller and more flavorful cousin, fennel. I didn’t like it dipped in peanut butter. I did like it filled with cream cheese, but only because anything will taste good with enough cream cheese on it.

But that was before trying Chris Tunstall’s homemade celery soda. Now I can’t stop thinking about it.

Chris is the mixology maestro at Wayfare Tavern, and I had the pleasure of meeting him and his tech-savvy other half, Julia, at a food blogger meetup in April. Chris and Julia showed up with three large bottles of pale green liquid, which they poured into cups. Sips were taken, eyebrows raised, and the room was filled with exclamations like, “Wow, this is really good!” It was a hot day, and the crisp drink, slightly sweetened and punctuated by a touch of lemon juice, was all I ever wanted to ingest. I refilled my glass four times.

I grilled Chris about his celery soda-making method, which began by shoving a whole head of celery through a juicer. A juicer that I didn’t have. I moped around the house a bit, contemplating whether a life without fresh celery soda was worth living, when, as luck would have it, my mom waltzed into town, dumped a Champion on our counter, and left. (Not before making me drink a vile concoction of ginger juice, lemon and oregano oil designed to knock out the cold I’ve had for the last week and a half, which made my whole body burn for about 20 minutes. Thanks, Mom. :))

It’s been quite heatwavy here in San Francisco, and I can’t seem to get enough of this soda. I add muddled mint to it, which brings a bit of depth and complexity to the mildly vegetal celery. (I tried juicing the mint with the celery, but it browned immediately, turning the drink a murky pond scum green. Muddling was [literally] the clear winner.) I find the slightly salty celery quite addictive, particularly on hot days; it soothes and cools in the same way as cucumber, which isn’t yet in season here. As a bonus, celery is full of vitamin C and potassium, making this soda exponentially healthier than anything you can buy in the store. It’s an all-around win.

I’ve heard that people who have recently acquired juicers tend to juice everything in sight for about a week, then relegate their juicer to storage. My theory is that these people don’t actually like the taste of what’s coming out of their juicer. They feel that they ought to juice for health reasons, but their heart and tastebuds aren’t in it. To those people I say, make this celery soda – you will fall in love with your juicer all over again.

For those of you who don’t have a juicer, don’t despair! A couple of loverly posts (Reclaiming Provincial’s A Walk in the Weeds [celery, gin and lime cocktail – yum!] and Minimalist Baker’s Apple Carrot Beet Ginger Juice) have recently been written about juicing without one. Just chop up your celery, puree it in a blender or food processor, then strain the crap out of it with a fine sieve or nut milk bag.

If you want to add some hard stuff to this soft drink, go right ahead. We tried it with both gin and tequila. I think the salty bite of tequila (Cazadores) blends better with the celery, but Jay prefers the complex contrast of gin (we used Death’s Door, but I think Hendrick’s would be ideal, as per A Walk in the Weeds, linked above).

I like the soda plain best of all, however; a fact which I find about as shocking as my new found love of celery.

Good libations:

Strawberry Blood Orange Rum Punch
Pink Grapefruit Vieux Mot
Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur

One year ago:

Meyer Lemon Semolina Bars

Mint and Celery Soda

Inspired by Chris Tunstall

Conventional celery is one of the “dirty dozen” most contaminated vegetables, so I especially recommend using the organic stuff here (though if it were up to me, there would only be organically grown produce). I like this drink straight up, but try it with a shot of gin or tequila if you like. Grocery store celery tends to be more mild and watery than farmer’s market celery, which can be dark green and have a sharper flavor. I used the mild stuff here. If using more intense celery, you could try adding more sugar, lemon and sparkling water. Oh, and don’t try to be clever and juice the mint, too – mine oxidized instantly and turned the whole drink a revolting pond-scum green. Muddling is the way to go. If you don’t have a juicer, see instructions in the post above for making juice without one.

Makes 2 large or 4 small drinks

leaves from 4 bushy mint sprigs, rinsed, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
1/4 cup strained lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)
1 pound celery stalks (1 small head, or 1/2 of a very huge head), leaves ok, washed well
ice cubes
2-3 cups sparkling water

In the bowl or pitcher in which you will catch your celery juice, muddle together the mint, sugar and lemon juice until the mint is bruised. Place the pitcher under the spout of your juicer; the lemon will prevent the celery juice from oxidizing.

Juice the celery into the pitcher. Strain the mixture, squeezing the liquid out of the mint leaves. Pour the liquid into ice-filled glasses, top off with sparkling water to taste, and garnish with some fresh mint leaves.

This soda is best served shortly after being made, as the celery juice will eventually oxidize.

27 thoughts on “Mint and Celery Soda”

    1. Thanks for sharing. This drink looks and sounds refreshing. Also, I will try your Mom’s home remedy for my cold 😷.

      Happy Spring.

  1. I totally agree…GORGEOUS! And I, too, am going to make this soon with organic celery, homegrown mint and my neighbor's organic lemons. And I didn't know about the Vitamin C and potassium…definitely a plus! Thanks, Bojon!

  2. Yaaaaaay celery!! This soda sounds so dang delicious, especially with the mint in there to give things even more of a fresh, cooling feel. (The previous downstairs tenants made the mistake of planting mint in the ramshackle raised bed on our lawn [I don't even think they're worthy of being called "beds" because they're so narrow]. Now we have an endless supply of mint growing all along the house and on the lawn. I like the lawn mint, but the fact that I can just barely keep it at bay in the beds throughout the summer drives me nuts. I imagine my poor flowers' roots being strangled to death by the beastly mint, and it upsets me! Omg, total tangent…)

    Making the A Walk in the Weeds cocktail has me on a celery kick, so I anticipate always having a bunch of it in my fridge all summer. Especially if I can make refreshing drinks like this! I occasionally contemplate buying a juicer, but then I look at my kitchen and realize that I should probably wait until I have a bigger place. But I've been growing more and more intrigued by the whole juicing thing, especially now that I'm realizing it's not just something that you need to drink straight, it can be mixed with fizzy water or booze (or both). Aw yeah!

    (P.S. Thanks for the shout-out!!) (:

    1. Beastly mint! I've heard it grows like a weed… but I'm still envious that you have it in your yard! Poor flowers, though! I'm with you on the whole juicing for sodas/cocktails thing – much more intriguing than healthy hippie drinks (but don't tell my mom I said so) (;.

      I read that Kate of Cookie and Kate scored a free high-speed blender because of her blogger status. I bet you could get that deal on a juicer. Jay complained incessantly about our Champion at first, but we found room for it under the counter with a bit of rearranging. I think he changed his tune after a few cocktails, too. ;)

  3. I love your pictures and recipes. I'd like to inform you of a great new website I would like to invite you to come and join us and share your wonderful pictures with us. We are simply foodies and we are not photography snobs, so picture perfection is not important, all we care about is delicious food.

  4. You know I had to try this. I love celery in my smoothies. This got my curiosity worked up about how it would taste as a soda. I do wish i had the juicer as straining it in my very small strainer took a couple of batches but….the results were delicious and refreshing. my first real home made drink. Thank you! also, i substituted half of the sugar with stevia.

  5. I've been madly in love with celery soda ever since I discovered in an NYC deli during a long-ago trip, but sadly, all of my attempts to make it at home have had very disappointing results.
    I'm kind of hoping this recipe will finally get me what I want, especially because I love the idea of pairing celery with mint. It sounds like the perfect refresher for a hot summer day!(Plus it totally justifies buying a juicer, which I've been dying to do for a while.)

    1. Do it! ;) I didn't know celery soda was a thing until I tried Chris's, but it's super easy to make this way, and with great results, IMO. I think you'll be happy with this recipe. Let me know if you give it a go. Also note that you can make this without a juicer (see instructions in the post). Cheers!

  6. Yowza! Now that is a bright green! I love it—why can't foods always naturally be this vibrant? (I'm thinking of Mountain Dew, which creeps me out.)

    I would LOVE to own a juicer. Did you ever see Heidi of 101 Cookbook's monster juicing post? I was, and am, so envious of both of you. (okay, confession, I'm always jealous of your soda siphon! It looks amazing. I must get one soon). Anyway, enough of the 'I want.' I really like celery juice! It tastes so refreshing and wholesome and clean, and yeah, paired with mint, it sounds like the perfect drink to be sipping on during a San Francisco heatwave (I absolutely love them).

    1. I agree – Mountain Dew is seriously creepy! I love Heidi's juicing post, though the model of juicer that I have sadly failed to make nut milk like hers can. So I'm jealous of hers, too! I love my soda siphon, and highly recommend it! Though you can totally make this soda without either. I had never tasted celery juice on its own before making this soda, but I am hooked. I'm glad someone loves the SF heatwaves! I'm from LA, but am now acclimatized to the cool bay weather and get cranky when temperatures rise above 75º. ;) Thanks for your sweet comments, Linda- I'm currently perusing your photo portfolio. Mmm…

  7. Two facts: 1) I do not like celery; 2) I am obsessed with this soda. Also, I once accidentally used lime juice that I had in the fridge, thinking it was lemon juice, and that was also miraculous. I'm not sure which version I prefer. Thanks, as always for the amazing recipes!

    1. Yeah! That's how I feel, too! Lime juice sounds great here – I will definitely try that next time. And it gives me another idea: Celery Mojitos!!!

    1. Thanks, Chastity! You can either add in the fizzy water then, or pour the celery base into ice-filled glasses and top each off with sparkling water and give 'em a stir. I do it that way since I have a soda siphon and the bubbles go away quickly, but with regular sparkling water it's probably easier to mix the whole batch to taste. Let me know how you like it!

  8. Add strawberries for flavor explosion, slap mint for cleaner flavor. Love bubbles since baby, bubbly drinks multi micro burst of flavors. Celery like bleach cleaning inside body. Enjoy!

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