According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, the ‘Caesar’ is considered Canada’s national cocktail. This Canadian beverage has barely made its way to other places in the world, however, Canadians have embraced the cocktail like no other. It is so renowned that it can be found on almost every cocktail list in the country and is also a staple cocktail in the homes of many Canadians.
The original Caesar recipe was created by Walter Chell in Calgary, Alberta in 1969. He was working at the Westin Hotel chain when he was asked to develop a new cocktail to celebrate the opening of an Italian restaurant in the hotel. Walter honed in on his mixology skills and experimented with different concoctions for three months. He tried hard to find a drink that could showcase a blend of both Canadian and Italian cultures. Eventually, Chell settled on a tasty mixture of hand-mashed clams, tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. For good measure, he tossed in a celery stick for a garnish. Walter called the drink a ‘Bloody Caesar’. Created by a Montenegro-born mixologist, the classic Caesar has stood the test of time for over 60 years. Walter Chell named the cocktail after the Italian ruler, Julius Caesar.
Today, coast to coast experimentation and personalization with the classic Caesar cocktail is a great Canadian pastime. For instance, customizing the level of spice and building on the original cocktail blend is a great way to find and create your own style of Caesar. Many Canadians have their own preferred recipes, which they are proud to serve and to share in their own homes and to their guests. Many at-home mixologists also love to use their creativity in the design of the cocktail garnish.
The future of the ‘Caesar’ is a bright one, and with Canadians’ pride for the drink stronger than ever the trend isn’t going anywhere. Take for instance, the new Korean Spiced ‘Hail Caesar’, just recently launched at the LCBO. This ready-to-drink, canned Caesar is infused with Shiitake mushrooms and also adds Korean BBQ spices into the mix. This unique profile offers an international twist to a tried and truly-loved Canadian classic. Packed with sweet, tangy, spicy and smoky flavours, once the liquid hits your lips, you’ll find familiar flavours of tomato and clam, but you’ll also taste remarkable notes of umami and just the right amount of spice and heat. A unique taste profile that will have your palate intrigued and yearning for more!
Served by many in tall highball glasses, some bartenders use jars, beer steins and other fun glassware as vessels to dazzle up the drink. Famously served with brunch gatherings, the mimosa can likely be considered its brunch rival, but to many a Caesar can taste like a meal, especially if the garnishes offer the promise of something worthy of being on a food menu! In many cases, establishments can go all out with their garnishes and serve Caesars with toppings like olives, celery, hot peppers, bacon, and even lobster tails, mini burgers or small slices of pizza.
Canadians around the world have found unique ways to express their cocktail style with their Caesars, whether at home or dining out; with the new Hail Caesar ready-to-drink cocktail, Canadians now have a new flavour-packed Caesar recipe to serve and share over the summer months. While the barbecue is hot, the drinks are cold and any Canadian won’t say no to a Hail Caesar!