This is the soda we imagine ourselves drinking at our Borscht Belt summer lodge, while we chuckle at Jackie Mason jokes and our gawky teenage daughter dances inappropriately with her sexy but ultimately honorable dance instructor.
In case that subtext was too subtle, we're trying to point out that Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray tonic is perhaps the most Jewish-y soda in the world. (Kosher Kola doesn't count, because we just made it up, and the only other contender in this department is Dr. Brown's Black Cherry cola.) Sure, it's a haphazard, wildly stereotypical representation of Jewish culture copped mostly from bastardized visions of the New York deli rather than the authentic cuisine of the Jewish diaspora, but so what?
This soda is spectacular. It's weird, too. (And kosher.) Mellow and on light on the sugar, it has a distinct vegetal undertone (that'd be the extract of celery seed) that makes it 20% weirder than most sodas dare to be, even and especially the ones that brand themselves as “extreme.”
We still prefer our pastrami sandwiches with a side of Dr. Brown's Black Cherry, but Cel-Ray tonic makes a fabulous base for a Pimm's Cup, a combo we were inspired to try after seeing it at Test Kitchen.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5