Martha Stewart Living (November 2015)
Each year we've had a Fakesgiving, we've kicked off the festivities with a cocktail. Typically, we go for a punch. Our reasoning is this: When guests are arrived, we are typically frantic with last minute cooking. After all, cooking 20 dishes for more than 20 guests is no easy task, and there are only so many things that one can do ahead. Serving a special cocktail is a way to keep everybody happy while the two of us run around like crazy people finishing the meal.
But this year, things were different. We were calm. We were cool. We were collected. And by the time guests arrived, we were largely done with the cooking. A Fakesgiving miracle! (Well, a Fakesgiving miracle made possible by Zach's sister Cassidy, who played sous chef again this year.)
So rather than sweating it out in the kitchen, we were standing in our living room, talking to guests like we didn't have a care in the world.
And we were sipping Sparkling Celery Gimlets.
Let's face it, celery is not a beloved vegetable.
It's a sidekick. A supporting player. And some people view eating it as a punishment -- the fact that you burn more calories chomping on it than you take in by eating it says a lot.
And celery in a drink? It's a tough sell.
But you know what? We really liked these gimlets.They're refreshing, and truly unique. They're packed with lime juice, but that's balanced by a simple syrup, giving the drink a nice sweet-tart balance.
And as a bonus, they're juuuuust green enough to let you convince yourself they're maybe healthy. ("It's like I'm at a trendy juice bar," you think, "but with gin!")
The truth is, though, some of guests didn't care for this drink. They thought it was just too odd.
So if your Thanksgiving is packed with celery lovers? Make the gimlets.
But if you're friends and family are avowed celery haters? Better skip this one.
Prep: 20 minutes | Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Servings: Makes 8 cocktails
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups coarsely chopped celery hearts, leaves removed, plus small stalks with leaves, for serving
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from 3 to 4 limes)
12 ounces gin, chilled
Chilled seltzer and celery seeds (optional), for serving
Bring 1/4 cup water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely, then refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 1 month.
Puree celery and 1/2 cup simple syrup in a blender until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve lined with damp cheesecloth set over a medium bowl.
In a small pitcher, combine celery syrup, lime juice, and gin. Fill tumblers halfway with ice, then pour 3 ounces cocktail base into each. Top off with seltzer, sprinkle with celery seeds, and serve, with celery stalks.