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Doctor Brown's Cel Rey Soda [moved from Not About Food board]

  • m

what is this one about?? soda made from celery?/ never had it. I know it is a NYC deli fave. what does it taste like??

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  1. It's great stuff, a MUST with a good pastrami sandwich (something that's getting harder to find every day).

    If I had to compare it to anything, I think I would describe it as somewhat ginger-ale like in character. I'm not sure why some folks think Cel-Ray is weird..
    I think "Clamato" is far weirder.

    1 Reply
    1. re: The Professor

      Yep, it has a sort of sweet/spicy/astringent character that tastes great and totally cuts the richness of a butter-grilled Reuben. Like Gerurztraminer with Schnitzel.

    2. I tried it once, it tasted like celery soda. Not my favorite, give me Barq's Root Beer or Diet Dr. Pepper instead.

      1. In the fifties and sixties, when the hotels were still thriving, it was declared the National Drink of the Catskills

        1 Reply
        1. re: beevod

          I remember No-Cal being the very popular back in the day.

        2. Love the stuff. Not too sweet, very clean flavor, very refreshing.

          1. It tastes like celery. With water and bubbles. I was disappointed to read the label last time I had a Cel-Ray (at Katz's NYC, natch') and it's now made with HFCS

            1. Cel-Rey is my favorite soda, but it's not as good since they switched to HSFC. Hard to find even here in NY. I sometimes see the cans at fairway and I'll pick up a six or two. (Moxie is number two but it has to be the old recipe special edition packed in a bottle.) I don't drink any soda except these two on very rare occasions, and sometimes sarsparilla or craft root beer. Only have soda once every few months.

              1. I rarely drink any soft drink, but if I'm eating fatty pastrami or corned beef, the only beverage I want is a Cel-Ray (for the same meal, my wife goes for Dr. Brown's Cream soda; Black Cherry is also acceptable).

                1. My drink of choice with a deli sandwich. I prefered it when it was>>>>
                  #1 available in Diet
                  #2 made without HFCS

                  I tend to stock up on Passover production made with cane sugar.

                  Way back when it was made with real celery extracts and questionable health claims were made.
                  I grew up calling it CelRay TONIC, not soda and still do. Tonic as in an elixer to improve your health, not the generic Boston word for soda.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bagelman01

                    Ah yes, Tonic. Remember it well. Call it what you will, I say it;s celery and I say.... Dr Brown's diet black cherry on the other hand. Or Hoffman's cream soda, even more distant past.

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      I agree with your #1. I wish they would bring back the diet version.

                    2. To me it tastes more like celery seed than fresh celery. It's my favorite soda and I only drink diet, so that's saying a lot. I wish some of those specialty bottled water companies would come up with a celery flavored sparkling water alternative.

                      1. I don't like celery but i like cel rey soda...don't ask me why. lol

                        1. I've been drinking Cel-Ray for over 60 years and love it...it's still available in some of the markets in the Bethesda/Rockville area of MD. Unfortunately, they have stopped the producton of the diet version which limits my intake quite drastically.

                          1. Celery sodas were very popular around the turn of the last century, and was often called celery tonic. A lot of the early sodas were sold a "tonics" or medicinal in some way -- someone mentioned Moxie, which was originally advertised as "nerve food." We all know about the coca leaf in early Coca-Cola, although my understanding is that it was more of a flavor component than an intoxicant. But Seven-Up was originally made with lithium.
                            Dr. Brown's continues to make very good soda, HFCS notwithstanding. Their Black Cherry and Cream are still wonderful -- and the diet versions of those two are surprisingly good as well.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Jennlevy

                              You'll see other threads about this, but we stock up on the Passover production which is made with pure cane sugar, NO HFCS

                            2. I just bought some in long neck bottles from amazon.com

                              1. I only tried it for the first time a few years ago, but I really love the taste of Cel-ray; it's very distinct.
                                But we grew up dpping our celery stalks into sugar as one of our favorite snacks, so the thought of sweet celery wasnt a far fetch for me!

                                1. I love Cel-ray sodas....but they taste better when you have them with Pastrami or Hot Dogs. Something about the flavor mixes well with salty, cured meats. Try it and tell me I'm wrong!