When someone says, Caesar, the first thing that might come to mind is a salad, or possibly an old dead Roman, but if you are in Canada, you will probably think cocktail. If you were to pick an official cocktail for Canada, the Caesar would be it as it is the most popular cocktail in Canada. It could be the savoury quality with nary a drop of added sugar that makes it popular. It could be the multitude of garnishes that adorn this drink; some would even say it is part appetizer. It could be the spices, or the salt, or the overall combination which has an umami quality. If you say it is just a Bloody Mary knockoff, that would be short-sighted. It may be a similar drink, but where the Bloody Mary is quiet and subdued, the Caesar is spicy and fun.
“The Bloody Caesar was invented in 1969 to celebrate the opening a Marco’s, a new restaurant in Calgary, Alberta. Bartender Walter Chell developed the original cocktail after three months of exploring different recipes. He came up with a spicy drink made of Clamato juice, vodka, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and a dash of oregano. It is Canada’s #1 selling cocktail, with more than 250 million sold each year.” The oregano has been replaced by Tabasco in most Caesars.
If you like seafood and Italian cuisine, this is a drink you might very well enjoy. Hell, millions of Canadians enjoy them every week. On any Friday night behind the bar, I make sure there are a few extra bottles of Mott’s Clamato in the fridge, a case in storage and a whole lot of extra Caesar garnishes. The Caesar seems to be the way to start off a weekend meal at a restaurant. Unlike a Bloody Mary, which is considered a brunch drink, the Caesar can be ordered anytime, day or night.
The fun part about the Caesar is that it lends itself to a boatload of garnishes. Celery and a lime wedge are traditional, but since the Caesar has become so popular, every restaurant felt a need to customize the garnish to make their version unique. For example, in some places, you get pickles, olives, peppers, a spicy pickled bean, or pickled asparagus. Any vegetable works well and pickling it seems to up the flavour quotient. Even boiled sea creatures (shrimp) make an appearance in the garnish at certain restaurants. Some drinks look like an appetizer. If you find it in your crisper, you can probably put it in your Caesar. Since the Caesar is not vegetarian (clam in the Clamato juice) meat, like bacon and chicken wings, can often adorn a Caesar.
- 2 oz Vodka
- 6 oz Clamato Juice
- 4+ dashes hot sauce
- 6+ dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- Salt & Pepper
- Celery Salt
- Rim a large glass with celery salt
- In a cocktail shaker tin ¼ full with ice add the vodka, Clamato, hot sauce, Worcestershire and salt and pepper.
- Roll (pour back and forth) the mixture between the tin and mixing glass
- Fill the celery salt rimmed glass with fresh ice and strain the mixed Caesar into the glass
- Garnish with a lime and stalk of celery, plus anything else you can find.
The easiest way to make a great Caesar is to simply mix the ingredients before you put them in the glass. It helps chill the cocktail and provides a uniform flavour. It may take an extra 30 seconds, but it is worth it.
Over-the-top garnishes are appreciated by all and the garnish on the Caesar is edible and often viewed as an appetizer.
Caesars should also always be served in a large glass, a pint glass being perfectly acceptable.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 312
By all accounts, a well made Caesar is a great cocktail. It isn’t tied to any traditional recipe but follows a basic set of requirements, such as Clamato and vodka. Cools bars and restaurants put their mark on Caesar and that is what makes it such a popular drink in Canada.
Writer, author of Fix the Pumps, chemist, beekeper and general do-er-of-things, Darcy can generally be found looking for new and interesting things to do, usually over a cocktail. Currently working on more soda fountain history.
Last modified: November 11, 2018