It is fitting that Canada’s beloved cocktail, the Caesar, gets its very own day. May 19th, 2016 is official National Caesar Day – a day to indulge in one, or maybe even more, of this iconic cocktail. Sadly, the Caesar is little known outside of Canada; despite concerted marketing efforts, this tangy, briny, and spiced drink remains a treasure of the north, with Parliament declaring the Caesar our national drink.
Despite its relative obscurity outside of the Great White North, we Canadians consume nearly 360 million Caesars each year. As far as iconic cocktails go, it is relatively young, having been invented in 1969 by Calgary Inn bartender Walter Chell. Legend has it that he was attempting to mimic the flavours in the classic Italian dish spaghetti alle vongole, which artfully blends tomato and clam.
On its surface, it is a bit of an odd drink; it’s savoury, with elements of the sea, matched by a salty rim and piquancy from a generous dash of Tabasco or other hot sauce. But together it is endlessly quaffable.
On the market currently there are a myriad of ready-made Caesars and pre- seasoned Caesar mixes, each with its own merit. Caesars with fantastical accouterments grace the pages of menus nation-wide. For this recipe, however, we wanted to keep it simple – true to its roots, with only a slight variation, intended to add some complexity to this popular drink.
Classically, a Caesar is made with vodka, but the dynamic flavour profile of Clamato – simultaneously sweet, salty, and tangy – lends itself well to a spirit with a bit of sweetness. For national pride we used Canadian whisky for the base, rimmed the glass with a blend of celery and specialty sauce, and garnished it with an herbed icicle. Simple, adhering to the classics, but with enough of a twist to make it a talking point.
8 sprigs of fresh savoury
2 cups of water
4 medium sixed Ziploc bags
Place 2 sprigs of savoury in the bottom of a Ziploc bag
Cover with ½ cup of water
Freeze until solid
(Makes 4 icicles)
2 ounces of Canadian whisky
2-4 dashes of Tabasco (more if you like it spicy)
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
4-6 ounces of Clamato juice
1 lime wedge
1 tablespoon of celery salt
1 tablespoon Cyprus Black Lava Salt
On a small plate, combine both of the salts
Rim a glass with the lime juice and dip it into the salt mixture
To the glass add one cube of ice, the whisky, Tabasco, Worchester, and Clamato
Serve garnished with the herbed icicle