38-years-old and Never Kissed a Girl.

The Caesar; the quintessential Canadian cocktail.

The Caesar; the quintessential Canadian cocktail.

As I sit here writing this article and enjoying the last days of summer, I’m thinking of things that are distinctly Canadian. A few come to mind – long weekends at the cottage, The Tragically Hip, maple syrup, and the Caesar.

There’s no question that Canadians are lovers of the savoury Caesar cocktail. As a nation, we consume three hundred million Caesars a year, which roughly means 10 per man, woman and child. This quintessential Canadian cocktail was born nearly 40 years ago when a man named Walter Chell was saddled with inventing a signature house cocktail for an Italian restaurant being built in the Weston Hotel in Calgary.

If you were asked to develop a signature drink for your restaurant, where would you start? Probably just like he did, with something you knew. He took the popular Bloody Mary and gave it a distinctly Canadian twist. He hand mashed clams and mixed them with tomato juice, Lea and Perrins and Tabasco, salt and pepper. He decided on the name Caesar to pay tribute to the great Roman emperor and to keep within the theme of the Italian restaurant. It’s unclear what inspired him to add clams to tomato juice, but the lesson here is that when creating a signature custom cocktail for your establishment you don’t have to reinvent the (lime) wheel.

Start with a popular cocktail that you already serve and try adding or substituting one or more of the ingredients. Try switching the addition of bar lime in a cosmopolitan with hand squeezed fresh lime juice. Using a splash of egg white (now available in handy cartons) in your whisky and amaretto sours will add a meringue-like topping to your drinks when you shake them,giving your guests the benefit of both visual appeal and texture to their drinks. The most important element here is the willingness to try new things. Chell may have tried dozens of other variations before finding something great.

In celebration of the 38th anniversary of the Bloody Caesar, I am offering some variations of the original recipe. By simply changing one or more elements, you can change the impression your cocktail has on your clientele. Although there is truly no messing with perfection, these offerings might just tempt your fancy.

At the same time, I’d like to issue a challenge. BartenderOne and FoodService News would like to hear about your cocktail creations. If you have a cocktail that you are proud of, submit the recipe in writing along with a digital image of your drink to info@bartenderone.com. Your drink may be featured in an upcoming column of Raising the Bar. All submissions will also be entered in the Menu Make-over competition for a complete staff retraining and menu make-over by BartenderOne.

Until next time, keep Raising the Bar, because if you don’t, someone else will!

L&P British Blitz
Rim a highball glass with coarse salt
Add ice, 4 dashes L&P, 2 dashes Tabasco, salt & pepper
Pour 1 1/2oz Beefeater Lime Gin and 5oz Heinz tomato juice
Garnish with a lime and celery

BucaMeisterWorcester Shot
Use a bar spoon (or a cherry) to slow pour equal, layered parts into a shot glass (in this order):
8 Dashes L&P

This entry was posted in Mixology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.