Update! I tried this again at Katz’s Deli in NYC and realized this rating was way too low. I’ve boosted it to an 8 out of 10. Check out my trip report.
The final element in my Tom Brady Mocktail is Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda. To see the video of this marvelous concoction’s creation watch the video below:
This is a weird but drinkable spin on a what a soda should taste like. Dr. Brown’s has been making this for a while, and it would seem that its roots go back to the days when sodas were marketed as health drinks. Read this article from Serious Eats for a detailed history of the flavor. Long story short, it’s an old flavor that has stuck around on the east coast with a somewhat cult following.
The smell is very strongly celery. Celery is in the garnish category of vegetables for a lot of people who might not associate it with a strong “taste” on its own, but Dr. Brown’s brings enough of that subtle floral quality out to be immediately recognizable. It’s a base flavor that adds depth to lots of recipes, but here it’s the star.
It reminds me a lot of a Chicago Style Hot Dog. Without a good sprinkle of celery salt a Chicago Dog is incomplete. This is the liquid form of that celery derived condiment. It’s a fully sweetened soda, so it might be difficult to pair with delicate meals, but I could see it working as a pickle alternative for a hearty deli sandwich. So, the flavor is a bit floral, a bit bitter, a bit peppery, but overall refreshing.
While I liked it, it’s not a flavor I would choose over most others. I have no sentimental attachment to it, and I have trouble giving it more than a 6.3 out of 10 on my rating scale.
Purchased at Rocket Fizz in Seattle for $2.20, sampled on 1/29/2017