We’re just about to kick off Canada Day weekend up here in the great white north, and while those of us in Vancouver are still praying to Environment Canada to bring us some sunshine, the rest of the country will be at the cottage having some drinks and a barbecue.
So, to send you off on this holiday weekend, we bring you a truly Canadian drink – the Caesar. I’ve been told it’s called a Clamdigger in the US, so if you thought I was talking salad, this name might be a little more familiar to you.
Here’s my favourite way to make it, although everyone seems to have their own variation, whether it be the amount of spice or the type of garnish:
- 2 oz. vodka
- 5 oz. Clamato juice
- 4 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- Celery or seasoning salt
- black pepper (fresh ground only please!)
- A wedge of lime
- A pickled green bean or pickled asparagus
Rim the glass with the lime wedge and celery salt and then add lots of ice. Add vodka, Clamato, Tabasco, Worcestershire and stir. Then grind fresh black pepper to taste and garnish with green bean or asparagus.
I’ve seen many variations of Caesar garnishes. Celery is standard, but I like the pickled vegetables best. I also like mine spicy and strong, so there are two shots of vodka and lots of Tabasco and Worcestershire in this recipe. If you’ve never made it before, you can stick with a couple of dashes to start and then tailor it to your taste.
So where exactly does the Caesar come from?
The cocktail, known in the U.S. as a clamdigger, was invented by bartender Walter Chell at the Owl’s Nest Bar in the Westin Hotel in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1969, to accompany the opening of a new restaurant, “Marco’s”. In its original form, it contained tomato juice and mashed clams; Clamato had only just been released (with the assistance of Chell) by the American Mott’s company that very year, and was not yet widely known or available. Link Wikipedia.
I would hazard a guess to say that the caesar might be the closest thing to Canada’s national drink (although Molson’s would like to have you think we all drink Canadian and run around shouting about it), or it is at the very least, a cocktail we can be proud of. It’s tasty, like the martini it inspires great debate about the best way to make it, and it has quite a kick. They’re also a hangover good cure, and if you’re up in Canada for a visit, don’t be surprised if you see a caesar on the Sunday brunch menu. Happy Canada Day!