Joy sticks: celery finds itself flavour of the month in creative cocktail circles

Flutted large coupe, £120, by Richard Brendon.
Flutted large coupe, £120, by Richard Brendon.
(Image credit: Lydia Whitmore)

Fat washing, fermenting, foraging and centrifuging have all been making their mark in mixology circles lately, but sometimes it’s a simple ingredient that sneaks in and grabs the headlines.

New York bartenders are currently enamoured with celery. At West Village bar Slowly Shirley, mixologist Jim Kearns has riffed on the classic American celery-based children’s party snack, ants on a log. Called Ants Analog, the cocktail contains celery bitters, a blend of sherries to emulate the raisin content, and Guatemalan rum.

Dante in Greenwich Village makes A Nap in the Meadow with Cocchi Americano (infused with toasted celery seeds), celery juice, lime, white balsamic vinegar, and cucumber and celery bitters.

Meanwhile, the recently opened Hunky Dory in Brooklyn is driven by sustainability and seasonable vegetables. The bar is in the hands of San Francisco mixing maestro (and co-founder) Claire Sprouse, who brings the eatery’s ethos into its drinks. ‘I love having vegetal, herbal flavours in cocktails that come from somewhere other than the usual suspects,’ says Sprouse. ‘Celery has it all going on – aromatics, savouriness and brightness similar to cooling herbs like mint or basil.’

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For cocktail Alligator Arms, she combines celery in syrup form with dry vermouth, lime juice and a soupçon of absinthe. It’s a refresher that Sprouse calls a lighter alternative to the Bloody Mary for low-ABV daytime sipping. 

As originally featured in the May 2019 issue of Wallpaper* (W*242)

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