12 best Celery cocktails

Words by Simon Difford

Photography by Dan Malpass

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Crunchy succulent celery screams summer and Waldorf salad or even a Waldorf Daiquiri (see below). That distinctive crunch hides the fact that celery is incredibly juicy and when extracted that juice is packed with concentrated flavour. While celery adds crunch to a salad it delivers wonderful vegetal freshness to cocktails.

Celery's flavoursome juice can be extracted by chopping the stalks and muddling the chopped pieces in the base of your shaker prior to adding the other cocktail ingredients. The use of a centrifugal extractor may be more of a faff, particularly cleaning the extractor, but the extracted juice allows more accurate measuring and speeds up making multiple cocktails. However, my favourite way of extracting the flavour is as a celery saccharum which is much quicker and easier than making oleo saccharum.

The crunchy yet juicy celery I've described is Pascal celery and this is by far the most common type. However, chefs will be quick to remind you of Celeriac while distillers, particularly Rutte's Myriam Hendricks, favour thinner stalked Leaf celery (Apium graveolens var. secalinum) cultivated for its aromatic leaves and seeds. The leaves of this celery are great in a salad and they are the star botanical in Rutte's excellent Celery Gin (used in many of the cocktails below) while the seeds contain an essential oil used in the perfume industry. It is these seeds that are ground and mixed with salt to produce the celery salt that's so key to a Bloody Mary.

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Celery Century
With: Rutte Celery Gin, Americano bianco, celery saccharum and lemon juice.
We say: A riff on the classic 20th Century with Celery Gin and celery saccharum replacing white cream de cacao.

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Celery Gimlet
With: Rutte Celery Gin, celery juice, Green Chartreuse, lime juice, lime cordial, Chardonnary wine and celery bitters.
We say: Occupying the ground between the Gimlet and a Shrub with pleasing savoury celery notes adding interest.

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Celery Gimlet #2
With: Fresh celery, salt, Rutte Celery Gin, Green Chartreuse, lime juice, sugar syrup, Chardonnay wine and celery bitters.
We say: Sweet 'n' sour with a dry celery crunch. A cocktail to awaken your senses.

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Celery Sour
With: Rutte Celery Dry Gin, lemon juice, pineapple juice, sugar syrup, celery bitters and egg white.
We say: This aptly named cocktail is beautifully balanced with delicate celery flavours.

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Celery Gin Sour
With: Rutte Celery Gin, genepi, lime juice, celery saccharum, egg white and celery bitters.
We say: Genepi adds a touch of herbal sweetness to what is quite literally a Celery Gin Sour.

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Celery Gringo
With: Rutte Celery Gin, mezcal, manzanilla sherry, celery saccharum, lime juice and saline solution.
A gin sour with faint smoky mezcal, saline and vegetal notes.
We say: A gin sour with faint smoky mezcal, saline and vegetal notes.

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Celery Nome
With: Rutte Celery Gin, fino sherry, celery saccharum and celery bitters.
We say: Spirituous botanical gin are further dried by minerally fino sherry and sweetened with flavoursome celery saccharum. Celery bitters add complexity.

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Celery Wine
With: Rutte Celery Gin, Grüner Veltliner wine, celery saccharum, gentian liqueur and saline solution.
We say:Spiritous, vinous and delicately vegetal.

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Lachlan's Antiscorbutic
With: Rutte Celery Gin, crème de framboise, lime juice, sugar syrup and pickled gherkin brine.
We say: Salty gherkin flavours combine brilliantly with celery gin.

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Greek Celery Cocktail
With: Mastiha, Rutte Celery Gin and celery juice.
We say: Celery and mastiha pair well with celery gin adding botanical complexity.

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Palomino Flor
With: Celery juice, light white rum, Bianco vermouth, fino sherry and elderflower liqueur.
We say: Celery imparts subtle vegetal notes in this unusual aperitivo cocktail.

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Waldorf Daiquiri
With: Fresh celery, aged rum, white crème de cacao, sugar syrup, lemon juice and apple juice.
We say: Walnut, celery and apple are essential elements to both a Waldorf Salad and this tasty Daiquiri.

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The Herbalist
With: Rutte Celery Gin, celery juice, kummel, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Kummel's herbal caraway flavours and botanical gin notes form the backbone of this citrusy celery cocktail.

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