By Jeanette Hurt

Holiday: Any eating holiday, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day

From childhood to adulthood, our bodies are criticized, critiqued, and judged. We are taught to be at war with ourselves, instead of learning how to celebrate how strong we are, how beautiful we are. So instead of letting the times get us down, let’s drink a toast to liking ourselves even more than we like this cocktail!

Mary Pellettieri improved on a pre-Prohibition-style celery malt tonic recipe from an old recipe published in The Dispensary’s Formula in 1915.

Love Our Bodies Love Our Tonics cocktail

Love Our Bodies, Love Our Tonics

Recipe by Mary Pellettieri, co-founder and president of La Pavia Beverages (Top Note Tonic), Milwaukee

For the Tonic:

1 heart of celery (the tender, middle part of celery), about 4 cups chopped
5 cups filtered water, divided
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup light dried malt extract (available in homebrewing stores and online)
1-1/2 cups turbinado sugar
1/8 cup and 1 TB. lemon juice
1 tsp. Angostura bitters

Combine the celery heart, 3 cups water, and lemon zest in a medium-sized pot and cover, cooking over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir and mash the celery with a potato masher occasionally while cooking. Strain and reserve liquid, about 2 cups.

In another medium-sized pot, add the remaining 2 cups water, malt extract, sugar, and lemon juice, and cook over medium heat, bringing to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Let cool. Stir in Angostura bitters.

To Make the Drink:

2 oz. celery water
1 oz. malt sugar syrup
1 oz. tonic concentrate like Top Note Tonic’s Gentian Root or Bitter Lemon Tonic
3 oz. seltzer or club soda
1-½ oz. gin, preferably an herbal gin with cucumber notes
Glass: highball
Garnish: lemon wheel and/or cucumber wheel

Stir all ingredients in a glass with ice. Serve and garnish with lemon wheel and/or cucumber wheel.


If you would rather use a tonic water rather than a tonic concentrate, use 4 oz. in place of the tonic concentrate and the seltzer or club soda.

If you are pressed for time, you can use Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda, which is a celery-flavored soda. Use 6 oz. soda, plus 1 oz. tonic concentrate and 1 ½ oz. gin if you don’t make your own.

Love Our Bodies Love Our Tonics cocktail recipe

Order your copy of Drink Like a Woman for more cocktail recipes and entertaining tips.