The Expert Corner: National Caesar Day
May 15, 2024

What do a Roman emperor, a salad, and a cocktail all have in common? Their name of course! A staple on any bar menu in Canada is the spicy, savoury Caesar. With summer around the corner the Caesar has been given a national day to celebrate, May 16th. This nationally beloved drink traces its origins back to Calgary, 1969. A restaurant manager by the name of Walter Chell was tasked with creating the signature drink for the Calgary Inn’s restaurant bar. Inspired by his Italian background Walter made the drink with clamato juice, tabasco, Worcestershire, a pinch of horseradish, and vodka of course. Rim the glass with celery salt, and garnish with lime and voila the Caesar was born. Or was it?

There are competing claims for the invention of the Caesar. A couple cocktail bars in 1950’s New York City have vouched for the title. Each with slight variations on the recipe and under a different name. And who could forget the Caesar’s sister Bloody Mary; a similar drink that uses tomato juice rather than clamato. Despite this murky history one thing that is clear is that the Caesar has been wholeheartedly adopted by the Canadian public. Many of us stick to the classic recipe, though it seems every year the variations or the over-the-top garnishes grow increasingly wilder. Care for a burger atop your drink? Or would you prefer a whole pizza? If meal-sized garnishes don’t excite you there are other ways to spice up your beverage.

Opting for a flavoured vodka is an easy way to switch things up. The Tofino Distillery jalapeno vodka is a great choice for a bit of added heat in your caesar. Created by infusion real jalapeno peppers are soaked with Tofino Distillery’s smooth, small batch, organic vodka. This process creates an authentic flavour with light heat and subtle earthiness.

If going up on the scoville scale doesn’t entice your taste buds, there is a patio friendly fresh alternative out there. Try mixing it up with beer. Yes, beer. By substituting the vodka in the cocktail with half a can of Corona, you’ll have made the mighty “Baesar”. Rumoured to be a hangover cure the Corona adds a lightness to what can be a hearty and salty cocktail.
Whether you stick to classic or choose to jazz things up, on May 16th the Caesar reigns supreme!

Written by our Expert: Laura from Mid Island Liquor — Hammond Bay location.