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When we first visited Toronto, around 2 1/2 years ago, some friends introduced us to The Caesar drink. This classic Canadian cocktail can be found in every single bar in the city, and they are super popular as part of a lazy Sunday brunch. Similar to a Bloody Mary, but in my opinion, much tastier! If you’ve looked at my Instagram in the last few months, you may have seen I’m a little obsessed with them!Jump to Recipe
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What’s the difference between a Caesar drink and a Bloody Mary?
Before I first tried a Caesar, I just assumed it was going to be the same as a Bloody Mary, I didn’t really want one but our Canadian friends were super excited to introduce us to this Canadian classic. They explained that Caesar’s were made with Clamato juice, not tomato….Clamato? What?! Tomato juice mixed with clam broth?! Canadians are crazy!
The other ingredient that may not be super familiar to non-Canadians are pickled beans and their brine. A small amount of of the brine is added to the cocktail to give it a salty, sharp edge and a couple of the beans are used for garnish (although we will move on to the whole garnish thing in a little while!).
I’ve never been a huge fan of a Bloody Mary, I find them too rich and often the tomato flavour (I know, they are 90% tomato juice!) can be overwhelming. The Clamato juice in the Caesar drink is an revelation! It is thinner than the usual tomato juice and there is more of a salty depth of flavour. I find them much easier to drink than a Bloody Mary, but with all those awesome spices still intact!
What’s the best garnish for a Caesar drink?
Whilst the ingredients for a Caesar drink are not really played with too much, the garnish is where the creativity takes over! I’ve stayed pretty simple with mine (this time around!) as I just wanted the drink to do the talking, but some of the bars in Toronto go all out with the garnish! From bacon, to burgers to an entire roast chicken, the sky is the limit when it comes to the toppings on the caesar drink!
It all starts with that rim, and for me it’s all about celery salt mixed with a little black pepper. You can get a tonne of pre mixed rims, but sometimes it’s good to keep it simple! I went for a simple garnish of lemon and lime slices and a couple of those picked beans that we mentioned earlier for an added bite.
The history of the Caesar drink
The Caesar cocktail was invented in 1969 in Calgary, Alberta a restauranteur Walter Chell. He was the restaurant manager at the Calgary Inn, and tasked with making a signature drink for the opening night of their new Italian restaurant. His inspiration came form the Italian dish, Spaghetti alle vogole, a dish with tomato sauce and clams. Now, over 350 million Caesars are consumed in Canada each year, but the drink remains practically unknown in countries around the world.
Over the years, the humble celery stick garnish has been replaced the pickle brine has been added. Every bartender has their own way of making their Caesar drink extra special
The Caesar Drink
For the rim
- 2 tbsp celery salt
- black pepper
- 1 lemon slice
To make the Caesar
- 6-10 ice cubes
- 2 oz vodka 60ml
- 6-10 drops tabasco sauce depending how spicy you like it
- 5 drops Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp pickle brine
- a good dash of ground black pepper
- clamato juice to fill the glass
For the garnish
- 1 lemon slice
- 1 lime slice
- 2 pickled beans
- On a small plate, mix the celery salt with a couple of pinches of black pepper. Wipe a lemon slice around the top of the rim of a glass. Roll the rim of the glass in the celery salt and black pepper.
- Put the ice cubes in the glass and pour the vodka. Add in the tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, pickle brine and black pepper. Top up with Clamato juice and give it a couple of stirs.
- Add the lemon and lime slices, pickled beans and serve immediately.