Hail Caesar: Recipes for Canada’s Cocktail
The iterations of the Caesar cocktail are numerous, a standing challenge to bartenders across the land to come up with concoctions that are more than just a drink. Photo: GMVozd/Getty Images
It’s National Caesar Day! This year, May 14 marks the 51st birthday of the Caesar cocktail, the dearly beloved Canuck twist on a Bloody Mary, which saw Walter Chell, a bartender at the Calgary Inn (now a Westin), tweaking the tomato base with a fresh hit of clam juice, to create the hotel restaurant’s signature cocktail. Yes, the libation, a half-century and counting, is always celebrated on the Thursday before the first long weekend of summer, and its popularity shows no signs of fading. Its iterations are numerous, a standing challenge to bartenders across the land to come up with concoctions that are more than just a drink.
Now, between Clamato juice varieties – take extra spicy or smoky maple, for example, to salts and spices rimming the glass, to being topped with garnishes from bacon and eggs to beef sliders and beyond, the Caesar is more than just a brunch staple or a hangover hair-of-the-dog cure (but, please, don’t mind us if we do anyway).
It’s classic, it’s Canadian and, sometimes, it’s even a meal unto itself. To help us all celebrate National Caesar Day on May 14 and just in time for the first long weekend of the summer, we’ve asked a few experts to share their secret Caesar cocktail recipes. Cheers!
First, get the basics
“Everyone you talk to has a different way of making a Caesar,” say Katherine and John Vellinga, the co-founders of Oakville, Ont.-based Zirkova Vodka. “And everyone’s way is the ‘best way.’ You know what I’m talking about. We all have that relative that rules with a mighty fist over the cocktail station at family get-togethers and claims that no one has ever made a Caesar better than they have. And to be honest, that’s the beauty of it all. The Caesar, much like Canada, is very versatile. It can take on many shapes and forms: spicy, sweet, tart, refreshing. But before we throw in that pickle juice, horseradish, barbecue sauce or top it with a crazy garnish, there’s a base to this ever so popular cocktail.” zirkova.com
Ingredients Celery salt/Caesar rimmer, Zirkova Vodka, Clamato Juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco, salt and pepper
Rim it Rim a glass with celery salt or Caesar rimmer. To do this, wet a plate and then dip the rim of the glass onto the wet plate (lime juice, water, etc.) and then dip the rim of the glass to the celery salt or Caesar rimmer. Then add ice to your glass.
Build the Caesar Add 1 oz Zirkova Together Vodka, 4 oz of Clamato Juice, 4 dashes of Worcestershire, 2 dashes of Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and enjoy!
Make it your own Experiment with different garnishes like Extreme Beans, celery, pickles, jalapenos, pizza slices. Add more hot sauce to increase the heat. The possibilities are endless. And before you know it, you’ll be the one making the Caesars at the next family get-together.
Or pair it with fajitas, another North American favourite, and just order it all in
The bonus National Caesar Day happens each year on the Thursday before the May 24 long weekend (May 14 this year), and what better way to celebrate Canada’s Cocktail than with Lone Star Texas Grill’s new Signature Caesar Cocktail Kits available May 14.
Their signature Caesars has been made into a build-your-own Caesar kit for everyone (of legal drinking age) to enjoy at home. These will be paired with weekend-long National Caesar Day specials, featuring their delicious fajitas and house-made chips and salsa from May 14 to 18 at all 22 of their Ontario locations. lonestartexasgrill.com
Lone Star Signature Caesar Recipe
- Ice (not included in kit)
- House Smoked Spice Rimmer
- Lone Star Classic Caesar Mix – made with Motts Clamato, Worcestershire Sauce, and Lone Star Hot Sauce
- 1 oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- Ground pepper or salt to taste (not included in kit).
- Celery stalk, sliced jalapeno, lime wedge
- Rim a glass with a lime wedge, and dip into the House Smoked-Spice Rimmer.
- Fill glass with ice (ice not included in kit).
- Add 1 oz Tito’s vodka.
- Add 5 oz Lone Star Classic Caesar Mix.
- Garnish with celery stalk, lime wedge and jalapeno slice.
- Add ground pepper or salt to taste (not included in kit).
- Looking to kick it up a notch? Add a bit more spice, hot sauce or additional jalapeno slices.
Don’t stress about it – go for the free pour and do a good deed while you’re at it.
From our friends at Walter Craft Caesar Mix: “On May 14, 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 that tag @fashionsanta and @waltercaesar.
This year, we are gonna keep it simple and celebrate the little victories.
1 oz vodka or (optional) gin, tequila or whatever you have on hand (also, go on and add some more booze, times are tough and we ain’t judging).
4 oz Walter Craft Caesar Mix (any flavour will do)
Rim: lemon or lime, Walter Craft Caesar Rim (celery salt, Montreal Steak Spice or sea salt all work in a pinch (or go no rim – it’s a new world out there)
Garnish: whatever you’ve got kicking around
No vodka? No worries. Try a made-in-Canada spirit instead
1 oz Canadian Whiskey
4 oz Walter Craft Caesar (Classic Spice)
1 oz beef stock
1 dash black pepper bitters (or fresh grated black pepper)
1 bar spoon BBQ sauce
2 dashes hot sauce
1 squeeze lemon
Rim: honey, Walter Craft Caesar Rim, cracked black pepper
garnish: beef jerky, lemon, celery stalk
Rim glass with local honey, Walter Craft Caesar Rim and cracked black pepper. Fill glass full with ice, add your favourite Canadian Whiskey, Walter Craft Caesar Mix (Classic Spice), remaining ingredients, and stir gently. Garnish with locally made beef jerky, fresh lemon wedge and celery stalk.