A Walk in the Weeds

A Walk in the Weeds

Of all the things to experience crazy synchronicity over, celery seems one of the more unusual. And celery drinks, at that — stranger still. I mean, the universe could point me in any number of directions, like towards giving up my possessions and traveling the world, or quitting my job and devoting my life to helping the less fortunate. But apparently, at this moment, it really just wants me to put celery in my booze. Who am I to argue with that?

It began with the newest issue of Imbibe and a little piece called Put a Stalk in It, which discussed celery as a versatile ingredient in cocktails, along with three recipes. As I read it, I thought about that one time many years ago when I bought a can of celery soda purely out of curiosity, and took barely two sips before declaring it mega-nasty. My palate has come quite a long way since those days (that was also the time when I couldn’t stand gin — can you even imagine?!), so it occurred to me that it might be time for me to give celery-flavored drinks another go. Then a couple hours later, Alanna sent me an email discussing, amongst other things, celery soda. “Ooo! Weird!” I thought, and I told her all about the celery cocktails. Then the next day, as I was perusing Liqurious, two more cocktails caught my eye, both of which also happened to contain celery. And to top it all off, one of them was photographed by another one of my favorite food gals, Linda. I mean, can we all agree that this is some totally weird celery mojo?

A Walk in the Weeds

I picked up a bunch of celery on Saturday morning, just in case inspiration struck during the weekend. By that afternoon, curiosity had gotten the better of me, and I decided 3:00pm was as fine a time as any to throw together a couple of cocktails. Besides, we’re talking celery juice cocktails, people. Practically a health drink! In addition, all I’d been wanting to do since I got my Mark II on Wednesday was to have an epic photo sesh, and photo editing while sipping on a fine glass of something always proves to be most excellent.

celery juice

And switching gears for a second, can I just say that I LOVE my new camera!! (I don’t want to talk about how I dropped it on Sunday after a strap malfunction that was totally my fault *repeated double facepalm*. Thank god both it and my 28mm wide angle seem to still be working fine. Otherwise, I’d probably still be frozen in my hallway, having a nervous breakdown.) I’ll talk a bit more about the camera once I actually learn more about it (so far I’ve learned that there were a lot of things about full frame sensors that I didn’t quite understand), but I’m really curious if there seems to be any clear difference in photo quality to you, the reader? For me, the most obvious difference lies in the amount of tweaking I do in Lightroom (far less with the MKII). Photos seems crisper and clearer with a lot more subtle detail, and I don’t find myself messing with clarity and the adjustment brush the way I used to with the 60D.

chopping celery

Anyway, moving on. It seems I can’t do a post these days without attempting at least one hands-on photo. I think I really liked the way this one turned out, despite the fact that it showcases the fine shade of translucent my skin happens to be after a VT winter, as well as my secret velociraptor knife grip method (I really should take a class or something). And if you look closely, you can see the scar on my left thumb from my bread knife incident the other week. Um, yeah, moving on from this too……


Back to the booze: This cocktail is simple and awesome. The celery works super well with the gin, bringing a fresh, vegetal taste to the drink. The juniper, citrus, and unique sweetness of agave follow the initial celery flavor, and the whole things finishes on a savory note. It’s delicious, refreshing, and goes down almost dangerously easy.

A Walk in the Weeds

If you don’t have a juicer (which I do not), you can make celery juice quite easily by pureeing chopped celery in a food processor or blender, then squeezing the juice out through a cheesecloth. I was able to get 1 cup of juice from five large stalks of celery. And making the agave syrup is super simple since agave is already liquid, and all you need to do is whisk together equal parts agave and water. If you’re at all curious about this drink, even just a teeny bit, I highly recommend giving it a try. (Also, grab the current issue of Imbibe if you happen upon it at some point, because there are two other great celery cocktails to be found inside. Along with several recipes for homemade soda that I can’t wait to try, amongst other things!)

A Walk in the Weeds

A Walk in the Weeds

(from Imbibe, May/June 2013)

makes: 1 drink

  • 2 oz. Hendricks gin
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. agave syrup (1 part agave : 1 part water)
  • 1 oz. fresh celery juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass and garnish with a sprinkle of salt.

A Walk in the Weeds


  1. says

    First, I have to say, I sort-of love the celery-chopping pic. Funny too, I didn’t notice any of those imperfections you mentioned – what I noticed is “God, she has gorgeous wrists” (totally not in a creepy way, lol!) and “Wow, that light she captured is beautiful”. But everything else – like the imperfections you mentioned – are what makes it real.

    I don’t drink alcohol, otherwise I’d be all over this. I’m intrigued with the celery in there though, and I think I might just try it N/A! Gorgeous.

    • says

      Hehe! You’re too kind. :) When I first started trying out the hands-on shots, it surprised me how much seeing pictures of my own hands bothered me. But I guess that’s probably the curse that comes with the comfort of being behind the lens, and not in front of it. It’s slowly growing on me!

      I think this would still be lovely minus the gin! I am actually a big fan of grapefruit with celery, and I think it might even be better than the combination with lime. Now that I know how easy it is to juice celery up in my food processor, I’d like to try experimenting with a celery and grapefruit soda.

  2. says

    I’m pretty sure weird celery mojo could be the greatest band name ever. And a mark II? Le sigh. I love my t2i, but gosh darn, one day when I can afford that mark…

    Your pictures are crazy gorgeous, as per usual.

    • says

      Yes!! Somebody needs to form a psychedelic rock band under that name, stat.

      That Mark II was a semi-nutty impulse purchase, and I’m still wondering whether or not I was actually at that point where I could technically afford it. :) But it’s here, and it’s awesome, and as long as I don’t manage to drop it…again, it should serve me well! (And hopefully get me some paid photog work, so it can pay for itself.)

  3. says

    Now I am not a lot into cocktail but every time you share one I wish I could just drop by at your place and learn from you! As for the camera, I told you you will love it :) When I moved from Rebel T1 to Mark II I instantly felt the difference in sharpness of the picture quality. I also like how it doesn’t add a lot of noise even if you bump the ISO to extreme which makes night photography quite interesting. And the full frame. I like to give spaces around my food and with this cam it was so much fun. I hardly had to struggle. The only thing I don’t like in this cam is the on/off button!

    • says

      I wish you could drop by and have some cocktails with me! We’d have a great time. :D

      And the camera is sooo amazing. I finally got to take it outside this weekend and snap some nature-y photos. And I can’t wait to do some show photography with it. I would have to do so much work to concert photos from my 60D just to make them look semi decent. Sometimes the grain was so bad, I’d just go with it and make them extra grainy, so I could at least pretend the gritty look was intended. And what a difference that full frame makes! When I realized I wouldn’t have to balance precariously on a chair just to get the shot I was looking for, I was elated. :) That on/off button is definitely a bit wonky, though!

  4. says

    Adding celery juice to a cocktail is an excellent move, for your health of course. It’s practically a trip to the juice bar. I always love adding celery to my green juice concoctions so why wouldn’t I love it with booze?! Also were you by chance talking about the much-fabled Cel-ray soda from Dr. Browns? We were in NY quite a few years ago when I had my first glorious sip of it. Weird and wonderful. Yay celery!

    • says

      That is exactly what I was thinking. Some friends of my run a juice cart that operates out of the mall and the farmers’ market. They’ve talked about looking for a real space, and possibly doing normal juice things by day, and cocktails in the evening. So I also considering this super helpful R&D. ;)

      And yes! It was totally Dr. Browns cel-ray soda that I had. I would really like to try it again, because I’m pretty sure I’d love it now. I’ve also been checking out recipes for homemade celery soda, since that seems like it could be kind of fun. But the straight juice is so dang refreshing, I think I’d choose it over a celery-flavored simple syrup most days.

    • says

      Thank you! My photo studio is my tiny little living room, and it isn’t exactly the easiest place to work in. My light comes from one window that sits at around 1:00–2:00 to my subjects, depending on how I position them. The background is the big black blanket thing, and I shoot on pieces of reclaimed wood that I’ve happened to find at random shops/salvage places.

      I do the majority of my editing in Lightroom, and I’ll usually just play around with the shadows/blacks to add a little drama. (I don’t have to do nearly as much editing now that I’ve switched to the full frame, but I used to play around with the clarity and adjustment brush to add detail then smooth out the sharpness.) And sometimes I’ll have to open some things up in Photoshop and clone stamp backgrounds or boards to make things look more seamless.

      For a really good, helpful read on shooting moody images (from someone far more pro and talented than me!), I recommend checking out this post by Peter Georgakopoulos of Souvlaki For The Soul on GITK. (Peter is my food photography idol, so I was ridiculously excited when he did this post. I read it a million zillion times and learned a lot from it.)

  5. says

    Iiiinteresting. I actually haven’t ever had celery juice… is it salty?? I could imagine that would actually be fantastic and refreshing like you said.

    Also, random question, as long as we are talking about odd ingredients; have you ever made anything (cocktail or otherwise) with dandelion/dandelion bitters? I’ve been reading a lot about spring/summer gardening, and for some reason dandelions have come up several times as being incredibly good for digestion and health in general.

    • says

      It kind of is! When I did this shoot, I actually completely overlooked the sprinkle of salt in the recipe. I realized it as I was almost finished sipping on one of the drinks, after I’d already been marveling at the subtle savory taste that comes through at the end. Adding a little salt amplifies it, though. Which is great, because I love salty cocktails!

      I’ve actually never worked with dandelion, but now you’ve got me curious! I’ve seen dandelion bitters mentioned here and there too, and also dandelion wine. Fentiman’s makes a dandelion & burdock soda that I contemplate buying every time I see it on the shelf, but I always wind up grabbing something else. Next time, I’m getting that.

  6. says

    I have only ever heard of celery based drinks… never tried them… and now you’ve got me curious. As for the photos – wow! I have always thought your photography skills were incredible, but I’m still amazed every time I stop by. I absolutely love the hands-in shot. I try to play around with those myself, but I’m nowhere near where you are in terms of ability. I mean, the framing of that shot, the lighting, everything – I love it. And as for your hands, you have nothing to worry about. I think your grip on the knife adds a bit of tension and interest to the shot that wouldn’t be there otherwise. Basically what I’m saying is, I’m super jealous, and now I want to go out and upgrade my camera (though perhaps I should focus on upgrading my skills as a photographer, first). Let me know when you plan to offer lessons. ;)

    • says

      Thank you, Willow! I’m ever learning how to work with the light in my tiny little living room (and also with my tripod, which I still kind of consider my sworn enemy), and having the new camera definitely opens up a lot more options. (Now I can frame a shot without constantly bumping into the tv or jamming the tripod up against the record cabinet!) And you take gorgeous photos, lady — I think I could learn a thing or two from you! :)

      • says

        Haha, my tripod and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. I hate being tied down to it, but sometimes I rely on it completely. I’m beginning to think a full-frame camera might solve a lot of my problems. I did a lot of research before I bought my current camera several years ago (and I love it!) but all the little things I went “I don’t need that feature, I don’t even know what it does!”, are now things I desperately wish I had. Isn’t that always the case! And I’m flattered you think so – perhaps we need to sit down with some cocktails and talk shop.

        • says

          That would be awesome. :) (I’m actually now going to start obsessing over having a virtual cocktail party!!)

          I am SO bad at doing camera research. At least, I used to be really bad, but I’ve gotten a little bit better now that I understand more. When I first started looking into dslrs, I had no idea what I was looking for. And reading specs and such is sooo unhelpful to me, since my brain just doesn’t seem to process that information. (I’m definitely a hands-on learner.) I was so lucky to have a Canon-using friend that knows far more about this stuff than I do, so I’d basically just shoot him an email now and then and be like, “sooo, what do you think of this?” :)

          • says

            Oh, you’re lucky! When I first started I didn’t really have anyone to answer questions… except the internet, that is. I did a lot of playing around to figure things out, and every once and a while I’d get ambitious and actually read through a bunch of tutorials and such. I feel like I go through phases where I either know more than I can put to use, or I need to learn something to take a step forward. It’s fun to be able to see the progress I’ve made, though!

  7. says

    Wow, Carey. These photos are far crisper than any I’ve seen on your blog before! And I’m so drawn to the infinity of your background in these shots, but I can’t say why. Perhaps it’s due to the spot where the light hits and then fades into deep, dark oblivion. I can’t stop staring into that oblivion. Today I’m nursing an awful hangover (Who drinks too much on a Monday night?! This girl. Not the best idea…), so I can’t fathom consuming gin. But I am intrigued by celery in cocktails. I have fallen madly in love with celery since I started making stocks and soups with it a few years ago. It seems so unassuming, but it adds so much flavor!

    • says

      Yay! I’m glad you see it! It’s so funny showing the MKII photos to non-photographer friends and being SO excited, and they’re just like, “yeah, those look nice, like all your pictures.” As untechnical as it sounds, they just seem to leave me with a different feeling. Clean and true and less fussy. (Although I did have to fuss A LOT with that background [a draped black blanket that turned that pretty blue from the late afternoon sun] in Photoshop to get it to look all blurry and seamless, and not all foldy and obviously blanket-y.) :P

      I always forget how much I love celery until I buy it and wind up consuming it like a beast. I adore the flavor, and I’m pretty sure that if someone just cut up an entire bunch of it into sticks, I would eat most of them without even realizing it. And it’s amazing the things it can bring to a dish when it’s cooked. For a long time, I was just being a total lazy ass and spooning straight tomato puree onto pizza for a sauce base, and maybe sprinkling it with some salt and herbs and calling it sauce. Then one day I decided to give Alton Brown’s pantry friendly version a try, and it totally blew me away. The flavors that seemed to really take things to the next level were the celery and the wine. I’ll never go back.

      Hope you’re feeling better today! ;) I’m running on the slow side after several drinks at food trivia (I knew embarrassingly little) and waking up at around 4:45am. Now, I will drink all the coffee.

  8. says

    Well consider me intrigued! I can’t quite imagine what this tastes like which is normally a sign that I need to make something. We have amassed quite a collection of Hendricks too in recent years and I can imagine that it goes as well with celery as it does with cucumber.

    Your photos are, as ever, gorgeous. They are wonderfully crisp as well but without being too ‘in your face’ which I sometimes find with sharp images. Really beautiful.

    • says

      Yes! That was pretty much the exact feeling that pushed me to make this cocktail once I read about it. I had to know.

      And thanks so much, Kathryn! :) I love how clean things feel with the new camera. So much less fussing with things in Lightroom to try to bring out the details!

  9. says

    Carey, these photos look great! I love the inky black contrasted with the brightness of the drinks, and that is a killer crate! What an awesome find! All around gorgeous! The biggest difference with a full-frame camera is that your lens is shooting at its true focal length, without the magnification that’s a result of the smaller sensor (like the 28mm on your 60D was acting like a 50mm lens). It’s neat, isn’t it? Sometimes when shooting wide-angle, I can get some really awesome natural vignettes. Also celery, yum! So refreshing and, yes, vegetal. This drink looks delicioso. I’m thinking of another cocktail I had lately that incorporated a bit of jalapeno – I think it might’ve been in a syrup or something, and I can’t recommend it enough. Try it with jalapeno! Although how would that pair with gin? I have no clue. Sigh, cocktails, such a delicate art.

    Awwww!! You’re one of my favorite food gals as well. :D

    • says

      Thanks, Linda! :D I LOVE that blue crate. I found that in my antique browsing a few weeks ago. I was looking at some things in this big old cabinet, and it just barely caught my eye sitting down on the very bottom shelf, covered in a bunch of other stuff. I think I made some sort of audible “eep” noise, then practically dove down to the floor to dig it out.

      I can definitely imagine how good celery + jalapeno would be together. And I think I could see it working with gin too. (I feel like I’ve seen some sort of cucumber + jalapeno + gin cocktail combo online or on a menu before, and I bet celery would do a good job of replacing the refreshing taste of the cucumber.) I really want to try it with tequila too, which I find myself drawn to once the weather starts to heat up. :)

      • says

        Celery jalapeno tequila cocktail sounds OMG awesome! Celery and tequila both have that salty/musky thing going on – I bet that would be amazing! That reminds me – just saw a post about strawberry sriracha margaritas (!)

        • says

          Yeah! Definitely want to try it, especially after reading your soda post yesterday too. :) And omg, I bet a strawberry sriracha margarita would be amaaazing. Wow.

  10. says

    LOVE! Such stunning photos. I agree that they look more sharp and crisp, though I mightn’t have noticed on my own. :) Great tip on juicing without a juicer, and thank you for posting this recipe!! Yay, celery cocktails!

    • says

      Thanks, Alanna! :) I remember watching a friend “juice” things with his Blendtec the same way, and being like, “Oh, that’s awesome. Who needs a juicer?!” Even so, I was surprised by how much juice I got out of five celery stalks! Celery/juice cocktails might be a new little fixation of mine now!

  11. says

    Thanks for taking the time to answer all the photography questions – so helpful for a newbie like me! I also battle the tiny living room/little light situation but let’s face it, my real problem is I need to learn and practice more. I just ordered a full frame camera and I’m stoked to try it out.

    Also stoked for this cocktail. At 29 I’m just getting into drinking but my husband is a pro, and I think this drink is right up his alley.

    • says

      Yay!! Congrats on the new cam, Sarah! You’ll love it. (It’s funny, after I got my Mark II, I realized that I’d just given myself a lot less excuses to not be happy with my photos. I can’t complain about noise and sensors, because I’m working with a much better tool! I’m hoping that fact will really push me to improve on a lot of things, because I’m expecting better results from the camera, but really from myself.) :)

  12. says

    I’ve never made a cocktail with celery juice but I also found myself intrigued with it after perusing the recent issue of Imbibe magazine. The use of agave syrup and the sprinkle of salt sound like a great way to bring out the subtle and savory characteristics of the celery. Your photography is beautiful, thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Thanks so much, Todd! The agave and the salt definitely make this drink sing. The junipery gin notes made it a perfect spring drink for me, but I’m also curious what it might be like with tequila, which I crave more often on a hot summer day. :)

  13. says

    SO excited that my friend introduced me to your blog. I must have been living under a rock to have not found you yet. But glad I do now :-)

    You have a beautiful blog and you just gained a loyal follower!

    • says

      Hi Prerna! I just discovered your blog through the Saveur Best Blog Awards, and it gave me that same living under a rock feeling. :D I’m so glad you found me!

  14. says

    I have been seeing celery cocktails lately and am so interested. I love their crisp fresh bite – particularly the tender stalks that like to tuck into the center of the bunch. Next time I get my hands on celery this is happening. Beautiful post.

    • says

      Thank you, Ashley! This drink reawakened my love for celery, which I so often forget about until I impulsively buy a bunch of it. The past few days, it’s been finding its way into nearly everything I eat. And drinking it is equally delicious. Especially now, when the weather is so beautiful and I want to capture the freshness of spring in everything I consume. :)

  15. says

    I love the “colour” celery – but the actual fibrous stalk itself…not so much. (It reminds me of the foul-smelling fad cabbage diet that my mom went on in the late 80’s. It turned her into the antichrist. Thankfully she only made it to day three.) :D

    Having said that, alcohol is a whole other beast. One which I love with reckless abandon (possibly thanks to said cabbage-diet scars?). This looks absolutely divine! Thank you, Hendricks! Your photos, as usual, are stellar. Congrats on the new camera! I’m hoping to someday drop the training wheels and break free from my restricting p&s camera. If only slr’s were not so lofty…

    Also, I need to make an effort to visit more often. Much more. Your writing and photography take me to my “happy place” for a few short moments. :) I’m such a hermit blogger.

    • says

      Aahahaha! I’ve heard talk of that cabbage diet! I can’t even imagine. :) I tried the lemonade diet once. I only made it to day three before I realized I had turned into a completely miserable creature that probably would have murdered someone to get her hands on a bagel.

      Thanks so much, Valerie! I totally hear the hermit blogger thing (especially this week, which has been nothing but non-stop job work insanity). Upgrading from a p&s is definitely a bit of an investment. I totally did the baby steps thing, where I borrowed a friend’s backup Nikon and saved for a while before I finally bought my own lowest-end dslr, then sold that and upgraded to the 60D. Then I threw caution to the wind and bought the new one. I’m totally poor now, but it’s cool. :)

  16. says

    I know we’ve already had this conversation, but I love your new camera SOOOOOO much!!!! I think it just brings a wider palette of colors and light to the table. Your photos have always been beautiful, but this camera allows us to see more of them. I need to be patient and wait for June…but darn it these look so fantastic!

    And celery! I have only had in in bloody marys (maries?) but haven’t had a cocktail with a strong celery element. I am very intrigued! I think I would really like it because we’ve been using celery in every juice we make and I love the clean taste it has. I can only imagine how delicious it would be paired with liquor and fresh lime juice! You always come up with the best-sounding cocktails.

    I think your hand-on photos are great. Your fingers are so long and graceful! I have stubby old Greek woman fingers (thanks dad) so don’t feel self conscious about your beautiful mittens. But ouch, I can see your scar and that looks quite painful! I hope it is healing very quickly. Cuts are on your fingers just plain stink because you can’t NOT rub them on things. Especially when cooking :/

    Also, your tray is awesome and so is your citrus juicer. So many great props!!

    • says

      Thanks, Eva! :) You would totally love this drink. It’s so good!! It makes me want to experiment a lot more with juices (especially veggie juices) in cocktails. The flavor is so much fresher than making some sort of infused simple syrup. I love it!

      I am so happy I finally bought on of those citrus reamers. They work really well, and they definitely make a great prop! (I love leaving all the residual citrus juice and bits on it, then positioning it in a shot so it catches the light.) The day I decided to go get one (from that little kitchen store I pointed out to you on Church St.) just happened to be a day that Johnny wound up being downtown with me. As I was in there staring at the wall of gadgets, he kept asking me, “What are you looking for? What is it called?” I just kept responding, “it’s a citrus juicing thing,” avoiding using the word “reamer.” When I finally found it and grabbed it off the shelf, he peered over my shoulder at it and just burst out laughing, then said (loudly), “Oh! Is that the thing they use for reaming out asses too?!” OMG, my life.

  17. kim says

    I second the tray awesomeness! I’m assuming it’s one of a kind, but if it’s not, you know I’ve got to ask where it’s from! :)

    • says

      Thanks, Kim! It’s a one-of-a-kinder that I found at an antique shop a few weeks back. :) I’ve dreamed of having a teal-y blue tray like that for a while, and I can’t believe I just happened upon one. I was convinced I’d have to paint and abuse one myself!

  18. Lisa says

    Just wanted to comment and say that I absolutely love the tone in your writing. Actually made me laugh out loud. First time ever on your blog, but I’ve now bookmarked it and am looking forward to future posts! Keep up the nice texts, gorgeous photographs and recipes (GOTTA try this cocktail)

    • says

      Thank you so much, Lisa! (Hearing that I’ve made people laugh out loud from a post is definitely my favorite compliment. :D)


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