Caesar


June 16, 2010 (Day 137) — Caesar

Canada.

Our awesome neighbors to the north.

I love ’em.

Now, I’ll bashfully admit that most of my exposure to Canadian culture is through “Corner Gas” and “The Beachcombers” clips on You Tube. But, I have family that lives in Edmonton, so at least I have some sort of tenuous appreciation/relation to our Maple Leaf flag wearing cousins to the north. Okay, I’ll occasionally watch “The Littlest Hobo” clips too. Sue me.

Canada's "Lassie!"

One of my favorite Canucks has already been featured here — so this is also a double shout out to the lovely Dee Brun. A few weeks back she contacted me via the Twitter machine, asking me to help make her the official ambassador of the Caesar cocktail. The contest was sponsored by Mott’s and seemed to be somewhat of a big deal. And yet, I was slightly perturbed. Kerfuzzled. Ferklempt.

The Caesar? I’d never heard of this cocktail.  And for at least a few seconds I became convinced that the Cocktail Deeva herself had switched from booze to straight out pimping salads.

Although, to be honest, that is one damn fine looking salad.

Being the never satisfied cocktail sleuth that I like to imagine myself to be (you should see my top hat and monocle), I had to figure out what this cocktail was. How it be so big and yet I’d never even heard the name before?

Whilst searching, I came across Mott’s Web site pushing to make The Caesar Canada’s official cocktail.

The Caesar was invented by bartender Walter Chell at the Owl’s Nest Bar in the Calgary Inn in Calgary, Alberta in 1969, to accompany the opening of a new restaurant going by the name of Marco’s. In its original form, the Caesar contained tomato juice and mashed clams. Later, with the help of Chell, Mott’s developed and began distributing Clamato (get it? Tomato and clams). From what I’ve read, Chell created the drink to mirror the taste of the restaurants spaghetti with clams.

I was fascinated. I was wary. Clamato? Trust me, I love clams. A lot. But something about the idea of “clam juice” just kind of… sat wrong. I’d heard of it, but I never really got up the guts to try it. But, when I saw how freaking passionate Dee was about them, I figured there had to be something there. And, since I enjoy Bloody Mary’s, why couldn’t I try my hands at a Caesar?

But then I had a concern. How would I be able to track down the necessary ingredients for one of these? For something that is apparently so Canadian-centric, it might be relatively hard for me to track what I needed down. The drink was placed on the back burner. So, while Dee was pushing for nomination and I was occasionally helping out (i.e. Re-Tweeting her posts on Twitter), Mott’s found my blog and their Twitter campaign people sent me a message, asking if I was interested in a Caesar kit. A way to make sure I’m fulfilling what they’re trying to make the official cocktail of an entire country? How could I refuse.

Two days after they offered to send me the fixings, this arrived in my office:

I was psyched! Granted, that wasn’t Clamato, it was Garden Cocktail, but I was already starting to formulate some ideas of how I could do up the drink with the juice and make something similar. Besides, I had heard from one of my friends that I might be able to track down a small bottle of Clamato here in Dodge. I could still make the Caesar! Huzzah!

(THURSDAY UPDATE: What should arrive today but two big jugs of Clamato, straight from my friends at Mott’s! Thanks!)

I was psyched. I was nervous. So, I made…

The Caesar:

• Rim glass first with lime wedge and then with celery salt. Personally, because I wanted something to spice it up a bit more, I rimmed the glass with creole seasoning. Seemed to make sense considering the other ingredients.

• 1 oz vodka

• 2 dashes hot sauce (I used Tabasco)

• 3 dashes salt and pepper, freshly ground

• 4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce

• 4 oz Mott’s Clamato

• Ice

Build in your pint glass (that slick looking one I have is celebrating the Caesar’s 40th anniversary). Garnish with a fresh lime wedge and crisp piece of celery.

Pardon the mess. I didn't have a chance to clean up before I shot the photo.

It certainly looked good. It smelled heavenly. But, how would it taste? Like I said before: Clam juice? Ewwww…

One sip instantly shut me up. I understood why a good number of Canadians are pushing to make this their national beverage. This is one tasty, tasty cocktail. I’ve always kind of thought that savory cocktails tend to get the shaft when it comes to popularity. Most people seem to want to drink something that’s sweet, saccharine and candylike. I’m always pleased when I can have a savory cocktail to add to my repertoire to balance things out. The Caesar is my new one.

You can definitely tell that the Caesar and the Bloody Mary are related — incidentally, the Caesar is sometimes known as the Bloody Caesar. There are quite a few similarities — tomato juice, salt and pepper, etc. But, it’s that clam broth in the Clamato that really makes this drink. It’s not an overpowering fishy flavor. It’s just there, hanging out.

I didn’t feel like I was sucking down yesterday’s water from the fish market.

Can't wait to suck that down!

It really is delicious. There’s just enough fishiness to lend it well to the tomato juice. You add the Worcestershire Sauce, the hot sauce and the salt pepper? Delicious. And with that creole seasoning rim? Freaking delicious. Curious what it might do, I added some of the creole to the drink itself and was further floored. It’s not often I really find cocktails that make me gush. This is one of them. It took something vaguely gross sounding and turned it into one heck of a fine evening drink. Now I’d like to try it the way it was intended — with a seafood pasta dish in marinara sauce.

Perfect.

Cheers!

— Mark

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Comments

  1. I totally encourage you to try it with celery salt and a pickled asparagus spear or pickled green bean. It’s top drawer. And it cures hangovers!

Trackbacks

  1. […] was wrong.  I got lucky, a cocktail blogging friend, Mark, tried it out and insisted it was good.  So, this past weekend,  I bought some Clamato and went […]

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