The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Hail, Caesar! Become a master mixer of Canada's national cocktail

  • Print

TORONTO - All hail Caesar this Canada Day — or at least, the cocktail. A backyard party or barbecue on July 1 is a perfect opportunity to celebrate what's been called Canada's national cocktail while toasting the country's birthday.

To help with the fun, Clint Pattemore has created more than 50 unique recipes for the clamato juice cocktail. His cookbook "Caesars: The Essential Guide to Your Favourite Cocktail" (Appetite by Random House) includes 20 recipes from Calgary chefs Connie DeSousa and John Jackson that were inspired by the flavour and texture combinations of the drinks.

Although the traditional recipe — vodka, hot and Worcestershire sauces, salt, pepper, clamato juice, a celery salt rim and lime wedge and celery stalk garnish — is sacred to many aficionados and is the base for every cocktail in the book, Pattemore wants people to be adventurous.

"There's variations on the classic using horseradish or pickle brine," he says. "There's some in there that really push the boundaries like a Red Curry and Coconut Caesar (with Indian food), or like a Thai mango with sriracha, which is really popular right now."

He's grouped the recipes into seasonal suggestions. In summer, try Cucumber-Infused Caesar, Strawberry Daiquiri Caesar and Peachy-Keen Caesar. Heading into fall, the Oktoberfest Caesar includes sauerkraut while the Thanksgiving Caesar has apple cider and whisky. In winter, there are punches. There's even a nod to hockey, with Lord Stanley's Caesar and one named for commentator Don Cherry, with grape juice for his nickname Grapes and Canadian pilsner for his dog Blue.

"My whole thing is that recipes are guidelines and I encourage everybody who gets this book to take the recipes in there and make them their own. There's lots of tips and variations and ways to play around. ...

"Cooking is really popular and people are starting to branch out and not necessarily follow the recipe and kind of get creative on their own. So I think it only makes sense that cocktails would follow the same way and everybody in Canada knows the caesar so they're more likely to play around with the caesar than they're probably more likely to play around with the mojito or a manhattan or any of those other classic drinks."

If you make a mistake, simply drink it and tweak the recipe the next time you concoct it.

All the drinks can be made alcohol-free.

Pattemore, also chief mixing officer for Mott's Clamato, suggests two ways to approach a gathering. Mix up a punch bowl full of the classic recipe, minus alcohol, then let guests add their own liquor and garnishes.

Or set up a do-it-yourself caesar bar. The host provides a selection of juices including clamato, hot sauce, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and garnishes. Guests can bring an ingredient to try, such as a juice, vegetable, fruit or garnish.

It's no coincidence that the chefs who created the food recipes are from Calgary, where the iconic drink was reportedly mixed for the first time in 1969 by Walter Schell, manager at the Owl's Nest Bar in what was then the Calgary Inn and is now the Westin Calgary, to celebrate the opening of the hotel's new Italian restaurant. DeSousa, a finalist and a judge on "Top Chef Canada," and Jackson are co-owners and chefs of Charcut Roast House in Calgary.

Pattemore has suggested cocktails that complement their food. He also ties the flavour of his suggested garnishes back into each drink.

He drapes a poached lobster tail over the edge of a glass of a caesar with lobster broth and threads jerk chicken on a skewer to complement the jerk sauce in a Jamaican Jerk Caesar.

"If you're serving chicken wings, why not put some of that hot sauce you put on the wings in the caesar and serve the chicken wings as a garnish? There's lots of opportunities to tie it back into the food, for sure."

During his travels around the country, he's noticed "bigger and better" garnishes on caesars, with the ultimate, perhaps, being the $60 Checkmate Caesar at the Vancouver establishment Score. It has the usual vodka and clamato. But it ditched the celery garnish in favour of a whole roast chicken, a cheeseburger, a pulled pork slider, a mac and cheese hot dog, onion rings and chicken wings. It even comes with dessert: a brownie topped with whipped cream.

"It fed four of us," he says with a laugh.

When rimming a glass, Pattemore uses citrus — lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit. "You never want to use water. Water doesn't have any sugar content or anything in there to stick to the glass; it just runs down."

To mix, stirring is easiest, whether it's with a spoon or celery stalk. He also likes rolling, which means pouring the drink from one glass to another, back and forth.

He doesn't recommend shaking. "When you shake cocktails you infuse air into the mixture, which then creates bubbles and effervescence. If you've ever had a properly made whisky sour, it has that nice thick foam on top. When it comes to presentation I don't know if anybody wants to be drinking caesars with foam on top."

In his quest to create new recipes he's experimented with an extensive list of ingredients and flavours, including lychee, Szechuan and green tea. But he advises drawing the line at milky or creamy ingredients.

"I would never use coconut milk or coconut cream in a caesar. I tried it and it did not look tasty at all. ... It turns almost like a Pepto-Bismol colour and separates. Coffee is another ingredient that I've tried to put into a caesar and still haven't found a way to make it work."

Follow @lois_abraham on Twitter.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Gord Steeves targets traffic cameras

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100615 - Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 The Mane Attraction - Lions are back at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Xerxes a 3-year-old male African Lion rests in the shade of a tree in his new enclosure at the old Giant Panda building.  MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think volunteers dragging the Red River is a good idea?

View Results

Ads by Google