If you live stateside, the Caesar cocktail might be new to you. But little do you know, our Canadian neighbors have been keeping the absolute best brunch cocktail from us. Rude, I know.
Similar to a bloody mary, instead of tomato juice, a Caesar cocktail is made with Clamato, tomato juice infused with clam broth and spices. It might sound odd, but it adds a delicious briny, umami flavor.
The classic Caesar cocktail is made of a mix of vodka, hot sauce, salt and pepper, Worcestershire, and clamato in a 1-2-3-4-5 mix: 1.5 ounces vodka, 2 dashes hot sauce, 3 dashes salt and pepper, 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce, and 5 ounces Clamato juice. Many people also add horseradish and consider it an essential, although it wasn’t in the original recipe. Don’t forget to garnish with celery salt and wedge of lime on the rim!
The drink was first created in 1969 by a mixologist named Walter Chell who was attempting to come up with a signature drink for a new Italian restaurant at the Calgary Inn. He was aiming to create a cocktail that invoked the flavors of his favorite Italian dish, spaghetti vongole. It took him months to come up with the right proportions.
As Clamato, the premade mix of clam broth and tomato juice, became more widely distributed, the Caesar cocktail grew in popularity, to the point where today it’s estimated that 350 million are consumed every year.
While the classic Caesar cocktail is a standard on most Canadian brunch menus, many restaurants are getting creative. Some are going beyond the classic celery salt and lime garnish and basically turning the drink into a meal! You can find Caesar cocktails garnished with bacon, pickles, crab legs, shrimp, olives and even mini grilled cheese sandwiches! They’re also getting a dose of modern flavor from spicy condiments like horseradish, sriracha, chipotle chilies, and even kimchi. Other mixologists are turning to herbs to add a bite of fresh flavor to their Caesars with cilantro, basil and tarragon.
As far as cocktails go, this one is RD approved. Tomato juice is a great source of potassium and vitamin C and clam juice adds a dose of vitamin B12, an important nutrient for cognitive health. And as opposed to many other popular cocktails, this one is made without any added sugar.
There’s no need to travel to Canada to enjoy a Caesar cocktail! Make this spicy,smoky and tangy recipe (from The Artful Desperado) in your own home.
Blistered Tomato and Habanero Caesar Cocktail (makes 1)
- Handful of cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup clamato (or tomato juice if you can’t find clamato)
- 1 small slice of a habanero
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (like old bay)
- 1 shot vodka or mezcal (mezcal makes it even smokier)
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
Toppings: you can pretty much use anything snacky to put on top of your caesar (some places even put mini burgers on them!). Keep it tasty with some of these suggestions:
- Chorizo sausage slices
- Brined baby peppers
- Mini cucumber slices
- Fresh parsley
- Hungarian peppers
- First, place the cherry tomatoes on a skillet with a bit of oil over high heat. Let the tomatoes blister, and move them around a bit so they get to toast on each side. Once they start to burst and have a nice charred layer, remove them from the heat.
- In a blender place the blistered tomatoes, the slice of habanero pepper (careful! Wash your hands after handling it), lime juice, vinegar, and seasoned salt, blend on high speed for a minute until smooth.
- Pour the tomato mix over a glass with lots of ice, then pour in the vodka or mezcal and gently swirl.
- Top with snacky bits and serve
You can also add some seasoned salt to the rim if you want to, but for this recipe, I added into the mix!
What unique spin on a Caesar cocktail are you most excited to try? Let us know in the comments below!
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