In 1969, a Calgarian named Walter Chell created the Bloody Caesar to attract some buzz to his new Italian restaurant at the Calgary Inn, as if the caché of being the 'new Italian place at the old Calgary Inn' wasn't enough. Influenced by spaghetti alle vongole, a popular dish across Italy that's essentially clams, spaghetti, and one of two sauces; the garlic and white wine based al' olio, and rosso, which was presumably the one Chell tasted. His wife had the linguine con gamberi, unlimited breadsticks and a stroke.
Apparently, the name Caesar was a result of Chell's Italian heritage. Here's guessing that he's originally a Chiellini, but didn't want to be confused for a plodding close-cropped Italian footballer with a website catered to 11-year old children. No, destined to emerge as a chic restaurateur, Chell opted for an anglo name, in the blink of an eye, cornering Calgary's lucrative "Italian shithole in an inn" market and cementing his legacy with a regionally lauded cocktail.
Like the more famous Bloody Mary, the Caesar, often named the "Bloody Caesar" because of its similarities to the tomato juice based cocktail, is made with vodka. Unlike the Bloody Mary, the Caesar is made with Clamato juice, a blend of clam and tomato juices that is the main reason the cocktail is found primarily in Canada and other places where people lack better judgement. As a Canadian, I encourage you all to make these for yourselves at home if only to briefly experience the serenity that comes with crisp winter air, a freshly sharpened pair of skates, freedom, and the absence of a counterproductive bipartisan federal party system. The Caesar is the everyman's drink, and the drink for all purposes. You can drink Caesars to get drunk, drink them because you are drunk, and in the morning with a proper English fry-up because you were exceedingly drunk the night before. Seriously, nothing kills a hangover like popping a few Motrins and destroying a super-spicy Caesar with your eggs.
Below, I'll list first the most common way of making it and the necessary ingredients, and a few variations that will have the alcoholic deep within the chasm once inhabited by your soul screaming for mercy.
- Vodka. Like it actually matters what kind. Just don't use some passion fruit infused shit you saw cascading down Rick Ross' moobs in a rap video.
- Clamato juice. Mott's, a Canadian juice company, has this niche market on lock. Tastes a heck of a lot better with vodka then it does on its own, but so does your pride.
- Worcestershire Sauce
- celery salt
HOW TO MAKE A CAESAR:
First things first; halve the lime you bought, cut the half into three wedges, and using one of the wedges wipe the rim of the glass. For Caesars, ideally a high ball glass should be used, as to accomodate all of the ingredients and the likely hood that you'll be exceeding a few of the suggested measurements as well. Dab the wet rim of the glass into a pile of celery salt you've spread out onto a small side plate or dish, as you would with a Bloody Mary and table salt. Now that we have our glass rimmed, we can start making the drink. There are various ways to 'build' a Caesar, but the various ways matter very little once you see how the sausage is made. For the sake of argument, let's do it my way:
Throw a handful of ice cubes in the glass, prior to pouring three or four shakes of Tabasco, three shakes of Worcestshire, a squeeze of lime juice from the previously used lime, and a suggested serving of one and a half to two ounces of Vodka. Now you should have a vaguely disgusting looking mixture at the bottom of the glass amongst a handful of ice cubes. Before we add the Clamato juice, at your own discretion and keeping in mind your preferences, add a heaping teaspoon of horseradish and a few turns of a pepper mill. If you don't own a pepper mill, buy one, you trogodyte. Don't worry, the NSA won't intercept the texts you're sending your wife to pick one up on the way home from Zumba! and assume you're using it to make a roadside explosive. Pour in your Clamato juice, being careful not to exceed the height of the celery salt rim. If need be, use a spoon to gently mix the ingredients together and top it off with a fresh celery stalk. Heck, use two - no celery cap here [takes a bow]. Some people garnish them with a lime. I don't see the point, it only devalues the rim and there's a touch of lime juice in the drink anyways. Drink it either with a straw, or if you want the entire experience, sans straw, as the flavours of the celery salt gently caress your chapped lips. Essentially, that is how you make a Caesar. It's a great drink for a backyard soireè and a steadfast guarantee that you'll be the highlight of the party when you show up with the stuff to make this unusual Canadian concoction.
Now that you've been inundated with both a wealth of knowledge and the tools to make a Caesar, let's have a gander at a few ways to tinker with the recipe, in hopes of finding the drink that will help you blackout at your kid's next backyard birthday party.
The first one should cause little strain; make the above recipe, leaving a few fingers room at the top of the glass, and top with red wine.
I subscribe to the notion that "if it's not good enough to drink with, it's not good enough to cook with" when it comes to reds, bearing in mind that i'll drink just about anything but a Shiraz. No, if anyone orders Shiraz, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Shiraz! Tastes like Montreal Steak Spice ejaculate for crying out loud, like a punch to the face with a boxer's mitt fashioned from a charcuterie spread emulsified in the fat of a dozen leprous pigs. Now a Merlot on the other hand, even some peace of shit VQA from the Niagara Region will do. Not terribly overbearing or spicy to take away from the other flavours, but bold enough that it adds another dimension to the drink. I find this variation to be slightly more thirst quenching, but equally delicious. It's also a great way to finish off that bottle left behind by your neighbours.
If you're the adventurous type, the cocktail's taste profile offers many possibilities in terms of garnishes. The celery stick is the most common, yet most boring of options. Sometimes I like to lose a few buttons on my blouse and put a shrimp on the rim. Better yet, boil a mixture of half water and half distilled white wine vinegar, tossing in a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of sugar and maybe a clove of garlic for fun. Bring the mixture to a boil, and throw in some jalapeño rings and remove from heat. Pack a mason jar with the jalapeños, and cover with the brine mixture, leaving enough room at the top for the following items; a dozen gherkin pickles, a dozen small silverskin onions and a dozen green olives. Refrigerate for 24 hours, and the next day, stab our three last additions with a cocktail sword and garnish the drink with it. Keep the jalapeños for whatever the heck else you want, they're delicious and the sublime flavour is far less abrasive than the non-pickled kind.
Finally, a variation so absurd, yet gratifying, that it is not for the tame of heart. While I can't possibly muster up the will to die necessary to attempt this, it was a staple of a bar in the city renowned for its cocktails. Next time you are doing up a few dozen strips of bacon on your industrial size griddle, let a few get a little extra crispy. Smash the fuck out of them or better yet, use a food processor until you've made tiny bacon pieces fine enough that you could nasally ingest them. Keep the celery salt in the pantry, and rim the glass with your bacon dust. Compose the final draft of your will, collapse into your favourite recliner and call it a day.
Make some for the family this weekend, or at the office to take the edge off, and let me know how it goes.
Boozespin is an attempt at a weekly column. Make sure to check out last week's instalment on Mojitos and feel free to pester cobra, brah! at firstname.lastname@example.org or at open mic night doing Lil' Boosie covers. Any suggestions for a future Boozespin? Can't wait to read about them in the comments :/