Since we suddenly had an unlimited supply of selzer, I got to work making some simple syrups and finding some juice concentrates to liven it up. I had moderate success with some spicy ginger syrup, but really hit the jackpot with an adaptation of the Lee Bros. celery syrup (intended for their celery julep). The original recipe calls for celery and celery seeds. I was using up CSA celery, and had two small fennel bulbs as well. I didn't have celery seeds, but fennel seeds were a natural replacement. The techniques from the original recipe were perfect, except that my celery/fennel mix was pretty dry, and I wound up adding a little water just to get it properly juiced.
I'll post my recipe adaptation and link to the original below, but first I just have to mention two more things that have made my soda drinking wonderful this summer. In addition to my syrups, I bought some black cherry concentrate at the health food store, which was wonderful, especially with lime.
Adapted from The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern
- 5 ounces celery
- 5 ounces fennel
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
- 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) seltzer water or club soda (optional)
Chop celery and fennel finely. Put them in the food processor with 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the fennel seeds, and salt, and process until the mixture is a loose puree (I had to add a little ginger-flavored water). Strain the liquid pressing the pulp to extract as much flavor as possible.
Add the celery juice and the remaining sugar to a small saucepan, and warm the mixture over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. Cool, and use as you prefer. I added about two tablespoons syrup to a glass of selzer and then threw in some lemon or lime juice.