According to the Cookin' Canuck, aka Dara Michalski, there are 350 million Caesar cocktails consumed in Canada each year. That's out of a total population of 34 million. Dara speculates the reason for this lopsided statistic is that "either we’re filling up the mountain water holes with Caesars (which might explain some of those drunken moose stories) or we think these cocktails are pretty darn tasty."
Wikipedia authoritatively states that "it was invented in Calgary, Alberta, in 1969 by restaurateur Walter Chell to celebrate the opening of a new Italian restaurant in the city. It quickly became a popular mixed drink, but remains virtually unknown outside Canada."
My new favorite "Hott" sauce.
Its primary ingredient is Clamato (Wikipedia charmingly refers to the name as a "portmanteau"…classy!), a combination of clam juice, spices and tomato juice made by the Mott's company. Dara reports that in 2009 there was a push to make the Caesar the national drink of Canada. Ultimately unsuccessful, before the dust had settled the drive spawned a boycott of Mott's, an American company rumored to be behind the attempt. Quel scandale!
Thinner than tomato juice, it makes a much lighter, less tomatoe-y drink than a traditional Bloody Mary—and the clam flavor is almost undetectable, so don't let that part put you off. Dave, who's been intrigued by Bloody Marys and is bent on perfecting his own recipe eventually, made our Caesars without the celery salt rim and used a locally produced hot red sauce from NW Elixirs called Hott Sauce. A deeply chile-flavored sauce, lighter on the vinegar than Tabasco, it's starting to find its way into several sauces and dishes where I'd normally use Tabasco or Sriracha. (More on that later.)
Our neighbors to the north have also maintained the tradition of condiments in their version, for which I thank them, since I find it, like olives in a martini, one of the delights of the drink. Definitely worth raising a glass to!
The Caesar CocktailAdapted from Dara Michalski's recipe at Cookin' Canuck
Makes 2 cocktails
2 Tbsp. celery salt
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
2 oz. vodka
6 oz. Clamato juice
Several dashes of Worcestershire sauce for each
Several dashes of Tabasco sauce for each
2 long ribs of celery
2 pimento-stuffed olives (optional)
Spread the celery salt onto a small plate. Rub the rim of one 12-ounce glass with a lime wedge. Turn the glass upside down and dip the rim of the glass into the celery salt. Repeat with remaining glass. Fill each glass with ice cubes. Divide the vodka equally between the 2 glasses. Pour Clamato juice into each glass. Season each Caesar with several dashes of Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, to desired spiciness. Stir each cocktail with a stir stick. Garnish with celery sticks, olives and remaining lime wedges. Serve.