Is there any cocktail more Canadian than the Caesar? In the US, they drink the tomato juice based Bloody Mary but next to the savoury, umami goodness of Clamato style tomato juice, the Bloody Mary is the just the sad little sister drink. The look on the faces of non-Canadians when you try to explain the wonders of clam fuelled tomato juice is always an adventure but if you can convince them to take a sip, that frown slowly turns upside down and they usually become fast converts. It used to be that you could NOT find a Caesar outside of our borders but, over the last ten years, I have found them on the menu from Chicago to the Mayan Riviera, with crazy garnishes like chicken wings, sugared bacon and tiny hamburgers on skewers.
Now, how do you like your Caesar? With horseradish? Do you like it eye watering spicy or with just a hint of Tabasco? Are you fond of loading up your drink with bacon and shrimp on skewers until your cocktail has been transformed into your actual dinner or are you a “celery only” purist? Do you rim? GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER.
Since we can’t go to our favourite watering hole for Caesar’s this year, why not explore something a little different at home? Let me share some recipes, from the classic Caesar to my Peruvian concoction that replaces vodka with Pisco.
If you don’t want to bother making them yourself, why not order a Caesar kit from the Tex Mex chain, Lone Star? Each kit comes with 1L of their classic caesar mix, using Mott’s Clamato, smoked spice rim, sliced jalapeños, lime wedges, celery sticks and a 200ml bottle of Tito’s vodka, all for $28 (virgin kit is $12) . From May 14 to 18, Lone Star will be pairing weekend long National Caesar Day specials like fajitas and, my favourite Lone Star treat, their house made chips and salsa. You can get the Caesar Special for contactless takeout or for delivery through SkipTheDishes.
If are making your Caesar at home, why not try my Peruvian inspired Pisco Caesar? Nothing is more Canadian than incorporating ingredients from all of the amazing cultures that make Toronto so wonderful. You can find the aji amarillo (distinctive hot yellow pepper paste from Peru) online or at South American stores like Perola Supermarket in Kensington Market and Pisco, a slightly sweet, pale to colourless brandy made from distilled, fermented grape juice, is available at the LCBO. My personal preference for Clam Tomato juice is Walter Craft Caesar. Walter not only tastes better than most other brands but it’s made in Canada with all-natural ingredients and comes in a variety of different flavours like Classic or Mild Spice, Smoky Maple and they even have a vegan version. I use Classic Spice for this drink.
2 oz (1/4 cup)Pisco
6 oz (3/4 cup) Walter’s Craft Caesar Mix (spicy if you want it very spicy and mild if you don’t)
1/4 tsp salsa de aji molido (or more to taste)
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 oz (1 tbsp) pickle juice
Pickle and pickled green bean for garnish
crushed coarse salt to rim
Wet the rim of the glass and press it into the coarse salt that you crush up in a pestle and mortar. I used pink sea salt but use what you have.
Mix the Walter, aji amarillo, lime and pickle juice and pour over ice into a glass. Add in the Pisco, stir well and garnish with a slice of dill pickle and a pickled green bean.
Makes 1 stiff drink
Classic Bloody Caesar
1.5 ounces vodka
4 ounces Clamato Juice
2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
prepared horseradish, to taste
Garnish: cucumber spear and or celery stalk
Coat the rim of a tall glass by running the rim with the cut lime to wet it and the dip the rim into a small plate of celery salt, fill with ice and set aside.
Add the remaining ingredients (not the garnish) into a mixing glass and stir until totally combined
Strain if you don’t like bits of horseradish or pour straight into the glass filled, rimed glass if you are okay with that. Throw in a couple of celery sticks and a cucumber spear and drink up.
Makes 1 drink
On Thursday, May 14 Canadian made favourite, Walter Craft Caesar and Paul Mason, aka Fashion Santa, are teaming up to celebrate National Caesar Day and to raise funds for Canada’s largest food rescue charity, Second Harvest. The organization uses direct delivery and its FoodRescue.ca online donation platform to redistribute nutritious food from donors across Canada to a network of 1,500 non-profits.
Fashion Santa is challenging folks across the nation to change out of their track pants, get dressed up, fashion themselves a Caesar and share their stylish looks and classic Canadian cocktails on social media using the #CaesarSelfie hashtag. For each post shared on social using #CaesarSelfie, Walter Craft Caesar and Fashion Santa will collectively donate $5 to Second Harvest for the first 600 photos shared.
The Super Simple Stay at Home Caesar
1 oz vodka or gin, tequila, etc – really, whatever you have handy
4 oz Walter Craft Caesar Mix (any flavour will do)
and shake or stir
Pour into a Rimmed glass — use lemon or lime along the edge, and dip the glass into the Walter Craft Caesar Rim or celery salt, Montreal Steak Spice or sea salt all work in a pinch (or go without the rim – hey, it’s a new world out there).
Garnish: whatever you’ve got kicking around! Veggie stalks, a cocktail skewer of cheese cubes, charcuterie meat are our favourites to make a snack-and-drink in one!