Make Ahead

Celery Soda

March 11, 2012
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes about 2 cups of syrup
Author Notes

This recipe is inspired by a great soda company from Seattle called Dry Soda. They make not overly sweet sodas with interesting flavors like lavender, juniper, and rhubarb. I decided to see how celery soda might work, and was pleasantly surprised by the result. I've added a bit of lemon, black pepper, and cardamon to enhance and complement the fresh, herbaceous flavor of the celery. This is a grown-up soda that would be perfectly refreshing on a sultry summer day. —hardlikearmour

Test Kitchen Notes

Hardlikearmour has created a very cool way to use celery. This is different than every other soda. It's not overly sweet, rather it's a little spicy with a strong undercurrent of celery. It packs jsut the right amount of spice to be interesting, but still refreshing and light. I liked mine in a dilution of 6:1, but feel free to play with it to find what you like the best. —Stephanie Bourgeois

What You'll Need
  • 7 - 8 large stalks celery (about 3/4 lb) (plus inner stalks for garnish)
  • large lemon
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper corns
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 1 1/4 cups water (12 oz)
  • 1 cup sugar (7 oz)
  • seltzer water (about 2 quarts for the entire batch of syrup)
  1. Clean then thinly slice the celery. It should measure about 3 cups when firmly packed into a liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
  2. Remove the zest in strips from half of the lemon. Lightly crush the pepper corns and cardamom pods. Set aside.
  3. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Once it reaches a boil, add the sliced celery and return it to a boil for about 1 minute. Stir once or twice in the process. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add the lemon zest, pepper, and cardamom to the celery mixture. Stir to combine, then cover the pan and allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. Strain the celery syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a jar or other suitable storage container. Press the celery to extract as much syrup as possible. Feel free to nibble on some of the candied celery - it's surprisingly tasty! (and if you think of any good uses for it, pass them on! I send most of it to the compost heap.)
  6. Juice the lemon, and add 3 tablespoons of the juice to the syrup. Stir to combine. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  7. Mix syrup with seltzer water. A 1 to 4 dilution is a good starting point; adjust to your taste. Serve over ice with a tender inner celery stalk as garnish if desired.
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I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

66 Reviews

Crackers16 August 5, 2019
Candied celery is awesome. A bit like a relish. Going to try on our corndogs later. Thinking of dehydrating some for candy
MSinMS May 28, 2019
Has anyone tried juicing the celery?
Brett June 14, 2019
Juicing it would likely yield a pulp element to it that you may not want. I run some bars and have a celery soda/cocktail on the menu. I've had good luck with making a oleo with it. Essentially just combine the sugar and celery in a bag/bowl overnight or longer. The sugar pulls out the water from the celery. Do that the day before making the above and you should hopefully get a better celery yield.

I take it a step further and vacuum seal it then cook it two hours sous vide at 140F. I also add celery seed to double down on the celery flavor. A good cheat to keeping it green is adding a dash of liquid chlorophyll to the finished product.
Nancy M. March 29, 2019
12 oz. of water is 1 1/2 cups. I'm about to make this so I checked the comments and no one seemed to worry about it. I'm going to split the difference and go with 11 oz., but would appreciate clarification.
Mavis March 29, 2019
I went with 1 1/4 cups--didn't weigh--I don't think it really matters that much. . I added 2 Tb lightly crushed celery seed and a 1 inch piece of sliced ginger--I put all the spices in a loose cheese cloth bag for easy removal. It's time to make more, I garnish it with mint.
sayre March 24, 2019
Loved this. Tried it with gin but the gin overwhelmed it. It was better on its own.
Mavis March 25, 2019
Gin! In my youth the only thing I liked gin in was lemonade. I don't drink anymore but the only thing I can think of that would go with this is in a bloody of some sort.
BoulderGalinTokyo January 23, 2018
Great celery soda. As Mavis suggested, I made a zucchini bread recipe with all the leftover celery (and spices). Next time I would put the spices in a paper tea-leaf bag to remove for the bread. But celery taste was great.
Mavis September 17, 2017
I found a use for the celery----I took a zucchini bread recipe and tweaked it and used the celery instead of zucchini. Added dried chopped pineapple and chopped macadamia nuts, diced crystalized ginger also. Made a Bundt cake and sprinkled powdered sugar on top. For liquid I used cream and pineapple juice. Interesting---hubby really liked it. I prefer using the spices in a cheesecloth bag when making the soda, and I added 2 Tb lightly crushed celery seed to the soda mix.
Rebecca E. April 11, 2016
Has anyone tried tying up the spices in a cheesecloth bag? That method would make them much easier to remove, so we don’t crunch down on a peppercorn or cardamom seed while munching on the celery. Quite unpleasant!

Now, for something that is very pleasant, steep your iced tea over the leftover celery! I make iced tea by steeping tea bags in hot water, then diluting that tea concentrate with water (adding sweetener and/or other flavorings as desired). I was making some tea concentrate while the celery solids were draining, so I had the idea to pour the hot concentrate over the solids. Left that for a while, then poured off some into my glass, added some water, and my eyes lit up! Yum! I’ll do that again!
[email protected] December 18, 2014
About how long does this last in the fridge?
hardlikearmour December 18, 2014
At least a couple of weeks. If it doesn't have mold growing on it, it should be good.
Jenna G. June 15, 2014
This was amazing! I'll definitely be making again.
I added apple cider vinegar to the leftover celery to make an excellent relish. Next time I will remove the peppercorns first, as the relish became too spicy after a few days in the fridge.
sco May 20, 2014
I halved the sugar, lessened the cardamom (because I only had ground), added a pinch of ground ginger and got pretty close to Dr. Brown's, who use HFCS in their soda.
speech529 March 29, 2014
I think the leftover celery would be excellent on any type of green salad as well as chicken or tuna salad. Chop some as a garnish for deviled eggs.
Jack W. December 2, 2013
For leftover candied celery -- would it work to caramelizevit and use in soups, casseroles or sauces for meats?
jcc September 2, 2013
I made this soda yesterday. Love it! I used the spiced candied celery to top a salad made with mozerella, cherry tomato, and fresh basil, then drizzled the leftover lemon juice on top. No additional dressing necessary.
hardlikearmour September 10, 2013
Very clever!
mbr101 March 8, 2013
I just found this... would love to have a class of rIght nOw. Think I'll surprise my hubby w/it this weekend :) He's not mUch on experimenting but I'll try almost anything once... providing it's not meat :P
hardlikearmour March 10, 2013
I love experimenting, and am lucky my husband is quite open to it! Hope you and yours enjoy!
Caroline C. June 12, 2012
I made this over the weekend and I enjoy it after work as an alcohol free refreshment. Lovely .
hardlikearmour June 12, 2012
Thank you for letting me know! I'm glad you enjoy it!
cambridgecook April 2, 2012
Can't believe New Yorkers haven't mentioned Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda, the classic pairing for corned beef or pastrami on rye. Try this recipe with a sandwich. Bet it's great. Gin optional.
hardlikearmour April 2, 2012
Cool FYI! Thanks, cambridgecook. I just looked up the Cel-Ray soda - sounds pretty delicious!
SMSF August 21, 2012 acquired taste, Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray! : )
wssmom March 30, 2012
Brilliant CP (even without the gin LOL)
hardlikearmour March 30, 2012
Thanks, wssmom! I was pretty thrilled to see it with the lovely new photo.
BlueKaleRoad March 29, 2012
The celery syrup is cooling as I write and I've already nibbled on some of the candied celery slices...a nice little appetizer! I'm looking forward to serving it to our guests tomorrow evening.
hardlikearmour March 29, 2012
Yay! Let me know how it goes over.
BlueKaleRoad March 31, 2012
Celery soda was a hit with our guests! I will be making it again soon. Thanks again for a terrific recipe. Have a great weekend!
hardlikearmour March 31, 2012
I'm thrilled to hear that! You made my day.
Ms. T. March 29, 2012 this idea for a hot summer day. Congrats on the CP!
hardlikearmour March 29, 2012
Thanks! I think it's perfect for summer.
BoulderGalinTokyo March 16, 2012
Unbelievable! I just read about celery soda in GUILT by John Lescroart. Sounded good, but never having tried it I had no idea what it tastes like. I googled and Alton Brown has a recipe but its made from celery seeds, and I didn't think that sounded very FRESH. Within 24 hours, I find your tantalizing recipe. Thank you so much!!!!! Fresh celery and pepper, !!!!
hardlikearmour March 16, 2012
Funny! I haven't read that book, and probably should've researched celery soda, but didn't. I'm glad I went with celery stalks instead of seeds. It has plenty of celery flavor without being overpowering IMO.
MacGuffin April 28, 2021
Cel-Ray is wonderful. I've been drinking it for the last 45+ years (taking time out for meals, of course).