It’s as Canadian as maple syrup. The Caesar is Canada’s national cocktail. Created in a hotel bar in Calgary in 1969, it’s been the only-in-Canada favorite game night, summer patio, and ‘hair of the dog’ Sunday brunch cocktail. Caesars even prompted an exclusively Canadian cocktail mix: Clamato juice, a combination of clam and tomato juice, which you can find on the shelves of almost every market in the country.
The country’s 35 million residents consume an estimated 350 million Caesars every year, with variations and a cornucopia of local and inventive garnishes that ratchet up competition between bars across the country.
Feel like a taste of Canada? Well, book a trip to one of these standout Caesar cocktail destinations from coast to coast… or enjoy the recipes these bars, restaurants and hotels have been kind enough to share.
Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host, BestTrip TV
The Birthplace: Westin Hotel – Calgary, Alberta
Today’s Westin in Canada’s oil country capital was the Calgary Inn in 1969. Bar manager Walter Chell was assigned the creative task of devising a signature cocktail for the opening of the hotel’s new Italian restaurant. He called on his own Italian roots and favorite dish, spaghetti with clams, mashing clams and blending them with tomato juice, adding spice, topping the beverage with a celery stalk, a ‘crown’ for a cocktail to be named after ancient Roman emperors.
The Caesar is still on the bar menu at the Westin’s Liquid Lounge in Calgary, and although its recipe is true to Walter Chell’s original recipe, they make it unique using local vodka from Eau Claire Distillery.
The Original Caesar Recipe1 lime wedge1 T celery salt or as neededice cubes as needed1 oz vodka1 dash Worcestershire sauce, or to taste1 dash hot pepper sauce (such as Tobasco), or to taste8 oz tomato and clam juice cocktail (such as Mott’s Clamato or Walter Chell Caesar mix)1 celery stick Wet the rim of a cocktail glass with the lime wedge; set aside for garnish. Place celery salt in a small dish, and press the rim of the glass into the salt to coat. Add ice to the glass.
Pour vodka, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce over the ice; top with tomato-clam juice. Garnish with lime wedge and celery stick.
Pro Tip: Double down on local flavor, pairing the Liquid Lounge’s Caesar with the hotel’s western-themed Bison Nachos.
The First Caesar Bar: 1858 Caesar Bar – Collingwood, Ontario
Two hours north of Toronto, mountains meet the shore of the vast Georgian Bay on the Great Lakes. The town of Collingwood is the gateway to the four-season Blue Mountainsresort area, where skiing and snowboarding in the winter meet hiking and biking in the summer, and a host of marine activities in this historic Great Lakes shipping and ship building destination. Collingwood’s beaux-art Federal Building downtown is one attraction. Another is the first Caesar Bar in North America.
1858 Caesar Bar features a huge menu of Caesars from traditional to outrageous, and you can even build your own custom Caesar cocktail. They all uniquely contain Walkers OneShot Caesar Additive, the Caesar seasoning that was the inspiration for the bar. They shared the recipe for their all-Canadian flavored Caesar:
1858 Caesar Bar – Canadian Maple BBQ Caesar
Start – Rim a 16oz to 20oz Glass with Walkers OneShot ‘Bold and Savory Rimmer’Use Lemon or Lime Juice on a Tea Plate or Bowl to Wet your glass for the Rimmer to stick to the glass Rim your glassAdd lots of ICE, THIS is important for a Great Caesar.. Yes ICE! Fill the glass full of ICEAdd Saddleback Whisky – Maple Bacon Whisky Add Mott’s Clamato Original – Or your favorite Clam Juice And now here comes the Magic – Add about 1oz of Walkers OneShot Premium HandCrafted Caesar Additive – Choose your desired Heat Level from Mild to HotGarnish with a piece of Maple Canadian Bacon Finish – The Best Part – ENJOY this True ALL Canadian Caesar
Pro Tip: It’s easy to make your own Maple Bacon – Get some BBQ Sauce and add some pure Canadian Maple syrup to the BBQ sauce. Stir it up, and brush onto the cooked piece of bacon.
The Liberty Distillery – Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada’s West Coast cruise port is famously nestled between the sea and the mountains. Vancouver’s Granville Island neighborhood has been transformed from factories and sawmills to a famous shopping and foodie destination. There you’ll find the century-old Saloon Bar of the Liberty Distillery.
The Liberty Distillery’s award-winning, light and citrus-y Bloody Caesar (pictured, top) highlights their organic, local grain craft distilled spirits.
Bloody Caesar In a Collins Glass, build:1oz. Truth Vodka½ oz. Fresh Lemon Juice3 Drops Tabasco5 Drops WorcestershireClamato Juice or Tomato JuiceGround PepperGrated HorseradishSpicy Bean and Olive on a pickLime Wedge Rim glass with celery salt. Fill with ice, spirit, lemon juice, tabasco and Worcester. Top with clamato juice and garnish with an olive/bean skewer, freshly grated horseradish, ground pepper and a lime wedge. Pro Tip: instead of driving, practice safe cocktailing and at the same time enjoy an iconic Vancouver trip: take one of the adorable mini-tugboat ferries over to Granville Island to indulge in Caesars and the famous food scene.
Peake’s Quay Restaurant and Bar – Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Canada’s smallest and only island province is one of Canada’s east coast provinces. PEI is famous for red sand beaches, lighthouses, Anne of Green Gables, and church lobster suppers.
Historic capital Charlottetown, with its Victorian buildings, is the birthplace of Canadian Confederation, and home to Peake’s Quay Restaurant and Bar, overlooking the historic Charlottetown waterfront. They serve a classic Caesar, but with a local twist:
Peake’s Quay Classic CaesarRim a collins glass with Celery SaltIce1 oz VodkaLea and Perrins Worcestershire sauceSplash of. Lime JuiceMaritime Madness Bacon Blaze Zesty Bacon Hot Sauce (made in Montague, Prince Edward Island)Topped with Motts Original Clamato JuiceSalt and PepperTopped with Salt & PepperGarnished with a Spicy Bean and Lemon and Lime. Pro Tip: Peake’s Quay is open during the summer season, when it hosts some of the best of the Canadian maritime’s famous music. Check out their Summer Concert Series schedule to make sure you’re sipping a Caesar and tapping your toes to ‘down East’ coast music.
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