All Hail the Caesar
Not everybody loves tomato juice, but I do — and I really enjoy the Caesar.
The Caesar and the Bloody Mary are the perfect drinks during a lunch or a brunch date. Nobody thinks you have a problem if you order a Caesar during lunch. They just think you are eccentric and that you know how to relax. If you were ordering a rum and coke during lunch, they might think otherwise.
In the summer, there is nothing like making a Caesar or a Bloody Mary and taking it easy on a patio.
Either way, growing up in Canada, the Caesar is a solid choice, but I later found out that the nation below us, America, they don’t have the same type of Clamato as we do up here.
Clamato is tomato juice with certain spices and also CLAM BROTH. Yes, clam broth. What a concept. I know, the idea of a fishy seafood liquid doesn’t really sound appetizing in a cocktail, right? If you haven’t tried it, I know it can sound weird, but give it a shot. Anyways, apparently it’s hard to replicate this drink in the states, because there is something special about the Canadian Clamato (I’m guessing, it’s clammier or spicier — one day, I’ll find an American bottle of Clamato and give it a taste). Nevertheless, there is a variation of the drink that literally anyone in the world can make with regular tomato juice. It is called the Bloody Mary.
The Lore of the Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary was invented in 1921 in a bar for expatriates, such as Hemingway.
I think the name Bloody Mary is a wonderful name for a drink. It’s dark and I love it. It’s like drinking the blood of Mary Tudor. And the folklore of Bloody Mary haunted my childhood dreams. My friend, so I thought she was my friend, told me that I would see her materialize in front of me, if I say “bloody mary,” three times in the bathroom mirror while I flicked the lights on and off. I tried it once and didn’t see the ghost of Mary with my own eyes, but my childhood imagination was enough to give me the spooks.
It turns out that this lore is just an optical illusion. The phenomenon was explained by Giovanni Caputo, who writes in a report called “Strange-Face-in-the-Mirror Illusion” where he discussed how staring at a mirror in a dimly lit room can cause hallucinations. Because you are looking in the mirror, your brain ends up making a mistake, a facial recognition that is disassociated from your own reflection.
Even though, I’m confident that there is nothing haunting my bathroom, I won’t be standing in my dark bathroom, uttering “Bloody Mary” anymore. Thinking about Bloody Mary cocktail, still gives me a little visceral double clutch. Which is what a good cocktail name should do.
Want to learn more about the history of the Bloody Mary cocktail? Check out this podcast from Food Stuff: Bloody Marys: Dubious Historically and Hangoverly
The History of the Caesar aka Bloody Caesar
Ginger Beef, Tommy Chong, and the Caesar — next time someone asks you what came out of Calgary, you will have an answer.
Out of those three things mentioned, I can confidently say that the Caesar tops the list. Sorry, Tommy.
The Caesar was invented by a mixologist in Calgary, Alberta, in 1969 to celebrate the opening of a new restaurant in the Calgary Inn (now the Westin Calgary), Marco’s Italian. The cocktail was inspired by the Italian dish, Spaghetti Vongole.
If you come up to Canada, you can now get Caesars that are decked out with garnished that might as well be called a meal. It’s a novelty for sure, but people love cocktail gimmicks, don’t they? Celery, bacon and even a whole sandwich can be stacked on.
In the States, if you order a Caesar, you might even be calling it a Canadian Bloody Mary — if they know what you are actually wanting. God forbid they bring you a salad. >_<
How to Make a Bloody Mary?
Begin by rimming a collins glass with sea salt and pepper. You must do this before you put ice into the glass, otherwise, it becomes a whole thing…
Fill up your shaker tin with ice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and lemon juice. Then top it off with tomato juice. You’d want to chill the drink, but you don’t want to shake it with ice as it’ll cause too much air bubbles to get into the tomato juice — and we don’t want that. So you’d want to roll the drink.
Finally, pour it into the collins glass, and garnish with celery — but literally any leftover vegetable or even a slice of bacon will work. Heck, put your whole lunch on it.
How to Make a Caesar?
Much like the Bloody Mary, you’d want to start off by rimming a collins glass. Rim first, ice after. With Caesar, the recipe calls for celery salt, as opposed to run-of-the-mill sea salt. I’d like to experiment with my rimming salt. Try using steak or chicken BBQ rub. It adds another unique layer of spice to the whole experience.
Then in a shaker tin, mix vodka, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco Sauce, lime juice, and finally the Clamato juice. Roll it to chill the drink — don’t shake as it’ll cause the juice to get bubbly and weird. Strain it into the collins glass and garnish with whatever you have lying around.
There is a very noticeable difference between the two drinks. The Bloody Mary is like a high school band on stage during a community battle of the bands, where as the Caesar actually feels like a complete orchestra. All the flavors are fuller, harmonizing. For you tomato and clam flavour lovers out there in the States, and I know you’re out there, if there is a reason to come up to Canada, it’s for a Caesar— oh and Ketchup chips.
The Caesar for the win!
If you want to add another dimension to your drink, I recommend using a flavoured vodka. Not any flavour vodka, find a Maple Bacon one if you can. It’s delightfully sweet. The bottle that help me make that discovery was was Rogue’s Voodoo Donut Maple Bacon Vodka.
Have you noticed that some cocktail ingredients aren’t available where you are from — looking for substitutes? Let me know in the comments.