How to Make the Ultimate Caesar

Nothing says “Canada” more than the Canadian clamato drink known as a “caesar” or “bloody caesar”. Caesars are the oh-so-Canadian cocktail that we’ve all grown to fall in love with.

They’re the ultimate hangover cure, the perfect brunch drink, and have endless amounts of possibilities when it comes to how you drink them, and how you garnish them.

Where did the bloody caesar originate?

Well of course in Canada. Duh! However, the caesar itself was created by a mixologist named Walter at the Calgary Inn to celebrate the 1969 opening of the inn’s new Italian restaurant. The drink was inspired by his favourite Italian dish called spaghetti vongole which is essentially spaghetti with clams. Although there is some controversy on if Walter was really the first to create this recipe (a clamato drink appeared in a Betty Crocker cookbook in the 50s), Walter definitely perfected the cocktail to be what it is today.

Today the caesar drink is said to be one of the most popular cocktails in Canada with 350 million of them being consumed each year. Now the caesar hasn’t gained much love or traction across the border, in places like the United States, they are committed to their much-loved bloody mary (which I’ve also tried and did not enjoy). I know it sounds weird that us Canadians love a drink that has a clam-based liquid as the star ingredient, but you cannot knock this invention until you try it.

Close up of garnishes on a caesar

National Caesar Day

So the reason for this article is because this week we are celebrating a special day and that’s National Caesar Day. This day takes place on May 20th, just in time for the May long weekend in Canada. The day is to celebrate our national pride and joy, and I want to teach you how to make (in my opinion) the best caesar for the occasion. Here’s what you need:

  • Clamato (they make all sorts of flavours now and my favourites are The Works and Spicy)
  • Vodka
  • Horseradish
  • Worchestire Sauce
  • Tabasco
  • Limes
  • Pickles
  • Rimmer (celery salt is the most common but you can get creative!)

How to make a Canadian caesar:

Alright, let’s get started on making the ultimate caesar drink from the comfort of your home. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Slice a piece out of your lime to rim the edge of your glass with
  2. Pour some celery salt or your rimmer of choice onto a plate and rim your glass so it’s nice and coated around the edges
  3. Fill your glass up with ice
  4. Squeeze the lime slice you used to rim your glass into your cup
  5. Add 2oz of vodka (you can make it stronger, or even make it a virgin if you prefer)
  6. Add a splash of the pickle juice from a jar of pickles
  7. Add a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of horseradish (you can also omit this if you aren’t a horseradish fan, or add more if your horseradish isn’t super spicy)
  8. Add your tabasco, now the amount here is dependent on how spicy you like it. If you don’t know, start small with a couple of shakes and increase
  9. Add 3 shakes of worchestire sauce (or more to taste)
  10. Garnish with your favourite toppings. The most common are celery, pickles, and pickled green beans
  11. Enjoy!

Get creative

Now the fun part of a caesar is you can really get creative with them. Restaurants across Canada have taken their own spin on the Canadian cocktail and no two caesars seem to ever be alike. Some ideas if you’re looking to shake things up are:

As mentioned above, you have the most common garnishes, but I’ve seen caesars with everything on it from a full burger, to lobster tails. Here are some additional ideas:

  • Bacon
  • Pepperettes
  • Pickled anything (asparagus, peppers, eggs, veggies, etc.)
  • Sliders
  • Shrimps or scallops
  • Olives
  • Cocktail onions

You’ll find a ton of different variations of what people like in place of vodka. Some people like to add gin, others tequila, and I’ve even some wild ones made with whiskey. I personally don’t like to mess with the traditional caesar because why mess with something that is already so damn good?

So the go-to clamato for this cocktail is definitely Mott’s Clamato products, however, over the years there’s been a few others that have surfaced in the marketplace like Walter’s. Personally I’m a fan of the OG clamato products to mix up my caesars.

If you are too lazy to make a caesar drink from scratch, I LOVE Walker’s One Shot caesar elixir. It was created right here in Ontario and I know if you are a caesar lover you are probably thinking nothing can beat making your own, but if you don’t have all the ingredients, or are traveling to a cottage or something, this One Shot is seriously just as good as the real thing.

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