Why the Canadian Caesar is a better cocktail than the Bloody Mary

There are a few things I learnt on my trip to Canada. One of them is that brunch (bacon and poutine optional) is the most important meal of the day, and the second, that you can’t have it without a Casear. And, no, I don’t mean the salad. This Caesar is, in fact, a Canadian speciality cocktail that puts the popular Bloody Mary to shame.

A photo posted by @waltercaesar on

This gloriously spicy drink is a souped-up version of the tomato cocktail, but with the crucial addition of Clamato juice, an umami-rich mix of clam broth and tomato juice. This may sound slightly odd – and terrifying to seafood avoiders – but it’s one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had.

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Let me explain: This signature drink was originally conceptualised in 1969 in Calgary by Walter Chell, who took inspiration from an Italian pasta dish with clams. It has since become one of the most popular thirst quenchers in Canada – particularly after a heavy night.

The basic preparation of this alcoholic treasure calls for one part vodka, one part clam juice, four parts tomato juice, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, pepper, lime juice, Tabasco, horseradish, celery salt and your choice of garnish.

A photo posted by @waltercaesar on

Speaking of which, any Caesar fan will know that the garnish is as important as the drink itself – if not more. Ranging from pickles, green beans and chillies to a pepperoni stick, bacon, fried chicken, or even a burger, the skewered finishing touches are what take this cocktail from zero to hero.

My only question (wish) is: When will someone step up and make this wondrous beverage in South Africa?

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