the grassed word | diy celery cordial + lemongrass-infused gin

If you follow a few cocktail-centric Instagram accounts, you’ve most likely seen several riffs on the classic cocktail, The Last Word, popping up in your feed this week. That’s because Mike Yoshioka, a cocktail enthusiast based in Los Angeles, CA created a global online event that celebrates the beloved cocktail.

The event, aptly named We Have the Last Word, encourages Instagrammers to replicate the original recipe or create an iteration on the classic. It is an event that inspires you to dig deep into your creativity. It truly and deliciously brings cocktail enthusiasts and creators together. The Last Word is one of my favorite cocktails both to make and enjoy, especially over the summer months, so I knew I had to come up with something fun as a contribution.


“What was truly inspiring was how the cocktail community came together. New relationships were formed. People started to bond. They began to inspire one another, sharing information, collaborating on projects, and supporting and encouraging one another. They showed that the world is indeed much smaller when we can come together and unite. Even if it is just over a cocktail.”

— Mike Yoshioka of mmydrinks, via a recent post in Difford’s Guide


The original specs on the cocktail call for equal parts gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and freshly squeezed lime juice. It’s light, refreshing, and a perfectly balanced amalgam of sweet, herbaceous, and acidic notes. I decided to do something creatively challenging for my contribution to this event that celebrates one of my favorite liqueurs, Chartreuse, and bring in some early summer flavors to the mix — celery, lemongrass, and cucumber.

Celery.

In a cocktail.

I know, right? I have used celery bitters, I’ve juiced celery to drink on its own, and I’ve nibbled on the wilted garnish on many a Bloody Mary, but I had never incorporated the vegetable in a cocktail. Its grassy notes actually work perfectly with Chartreuse liqueur, in my case, the yellow version. I chose it over the green version because of its more delicate nature. It’s milder, a little sweeter, and a lower proof than its stronger sibling, green Chartreuse.

Steve and I were driving down to the Hotchkiss City Market the other afternoon, and we were tossing around fun names for a Last Word cocktail. One that made both of us roll over with laughter and got us thinking about using some ingredients that creatively stretched us was The Grassed Word. Usually, when I create a cocktail, I begin with ingredients, and the name kind of evolves. This cocktail came about purely out of naming it first and then seeing how I could incorporate the ingredients.

Challenge accepted.

And the timing of enjoying this cocktail couldn’t have been better. Our vineyard team of five has been planting new grapevines this week. We are already 476 in, and it’s only Tuesday. I can barely see the computer screen, as I type, because the grasses and weeds are blooming like crazy. We’ve been elbows-deep in them the past two days, and it is finally catching up with me. A few sips of this grassy, boozy, green drink is helping me ease the pain.

Just a little.


the grassed word


  • 1 1/2 ounces sliced cucumber, muddled
  • 1 ounce lemongrass-infused gin
  • 1 ounce yellow Chartreuse
  • 1 ounce celery cordial
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • cucumber ribbons, for garnish
  • celery salt, for garnish
  1. In a mixing glass or tin, muddle the cucumber slices well.
  2. Add a handful of ice and pour in the gin, Chartreuse, celery cordial, and lime juice.
  3. Cover and shake until chilled, about 15 seconds.
  4. Double-strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a rolled-up and speared cucumber ribbon and give a quick shake of celery salt over the cucumber.
  • This recipe yields one cocktail.
  • For the cucumber garnish, simply use a vegetable peeler and slice the cucumber lengthwise, roll it up into a rosette shape, and secure it with a cocktail spear.


This cordial experiment went exceptionally well, and it married magically with the yellow Chartreuse, lemongrass-infused gin, cucumber, and lime. All of those green notes might seem like they’d compete with one another, but they really ended up supporting each other within the cocktail.

This celery cordial recipe will be amazing in a G&T or a Tom Collins or even served on its own over ice, topped with tonic. I’m especially excited to make a spirit-free drink with Seedlip’s Garden 108, fresh lime, this celery cordial, and a little seltzer. And maybe with a cucumber slice or two. Sounds like the perfect refresher after mowing the lawn or, in my case, seeding our soon-to-be-lawn, planting new vines, or pruning our Riesling.


celery cordial


  • 2 cups coarsely chopped celery, leaves included
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup gin
  • 1 teaspoon whole celery seed
  1. In a large bowl or saucepan, combine the chopped celery, sugar, water, gin, and celery seed.
  2. Stir well, dissolving as much as the sugar as possible.
  3. Cover and store in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours, tasting along the way for desired potency of celery flavor.
  4. Strain through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer into a clean jar.
  5. Cover with a lid and store in the fridge for up to a month.
  • This recipe yields just under two cups of celery cordial.
  • This is basically a low-proof simple syrup, so it will not store out of refrigeration or last over a month.
  • Play around with the proportions. Next time I make this, I might keep all of the specs the same and increase the amount of gin, amping up the proof a bit.

lemongrass-infused gin


  • 1-2 stalks lemongrass, coarsely chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 cup dry gin {I went with Tanqueray}
  1. If your lemongrass stalks have any dry, crusty leaves on them, simply peel them off and discard.
  2. Combine the lemongrass pieces and gin and place in clean mason jar.
  3. Cover and let the mixture infuse for 24 hours, tasting along the way for desired potency and flavor. You may decide to infuse the mixture even longer, for up to a week, depending upon the intensity of flavor.
  4. Strain into a clean, glass container and cover.
  • This recipe yields 1 cup of infused gin.
  • For the gin, you could also go with Boodles or even Hendrick’s, which exhibits bold cucumber notes.
  • Store the infused gin at room temperature or in the fridge for chilled summery accessibility.
  • If you can’t score fresh lemongrass, I have a CHEAT METHOD!! I live out in the country, and I don’t have access to many obscure vegetables, herbs, and fruits, so I came across a tube of minced lemongrass and used that to infuse my gin. I squeezed out about 2 tablespoons into the gin, and due to its paste-like consistency, I only needed to infuse my gin for about 12 hours. Talk about time-saving.

I’m curious. Have you ever incorporated celery into a cocktail or had one that you’ve enjoyed out at a bar? If you end up making this cordial, let me know what you think! I’m particularly smitten with it and will definitely be making another batch over the summer months.

Wish us well, as we finish planting our remaining vines. It’s backbreaking work, but it is somehow invigorating at the same time. I’ve never slept so well in my life now that I am an actual farmer. #FARMSTRONG is my reality now, and I’m not turning back, despite any complaints I might share in this space. 😉

Cheers to another beautiful week!

Jayme

 

4 thoughts on “the grassed word | diy celery cordial + lemongrass-infused gin

  1. Joan Steese

    FARMSTRONG fits me too, since I grew up with huge vegetable gardens and also apple trees. One of my favorite things to do, even at 80 years old, is to plant and tend to flowers or vegetables. I am looking forward to being at the vineyard in a couple weeks. Mom Steese

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jayme Henderson Post author

      We are so excited that you’ll be staying with us!!! There is so much to show you and be excited about. You are the QUEEN of being #FARMSTRONG. 😜 I love digging in the dirt and just getting my hands dirty. Today, however, is a day that I just need to CRASH. Too much going on and not enough brain space to neither process it nor execute a plan. I’m ready for bed at 6:00 today. Steve is it doing irrigation, and I’m about to prune until the sun sets. Then it’s a shower, a movie, and then SLEEP. Love you!!!!

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  2. Kelsey @ Appeasing a Food Geek

    Good luck and may good weather be with you to plant those vines! I’ve totally experienced how difficult it can be if it’s not great out. Also, this cocktail! I am obsessed with the idea of lemongrass infused gin. Very very into it. And the celery cordial intrigues me. Definitely making sooner rather than later! P.S. I make your snap pea gin cocktail often this time of year. A real gem! 🙂 xo

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jayme Henderson Post author

      The weather and good luck followed us! We finished planting the vines on Friday, and they seem to be taking well. It was super hot, but we downed lemonade like crazy, which saved us. You would love, love, love the lemongrass-infused gin, Kelsey. It is so good with Asian-inspired cuisine. I could see a lemongrass simple syrup with sake happening sometime soon, too. That’s awesome you’ve made the snap pea gin recipe! I just got some sugar snaps and thought of making another round, too. Cheers, lady! XO!

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