Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

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

The cover of

Enlarge Image

The cover of "Caesars: The Essential Guide to Your Favourite Cocktail," by Clint Pattemore is shown in a handout photo.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO/ Ryan Szulc

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.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.


Make text: Larger | Smaller

Election 2014
Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media