The Caesar, beloved Canadian cocktail since 1969, has gone from being a bonus a.m. treat to an absolute brunch necessity! And the best part is: everyone has their own take.
The classic recipe for vodka; Clamato; hot sauce; Worcestershire sauce; pepper; and lime with a celery salt rimmer and celery stalk garnish--has evolved big time! More widely known variations add pickle juice and/or horseradish, while more adventuresome bartenders add fresh seafood like shrimp, crab or lobster; barbecue sauce; or even topped with Dorito chips.
After some exhausting research ;), we have collected an elite list of the best Caesars in Toronto. Find out what makes their recipes so irresistible AND hear tips from the masters to step-up your homemade Caesar game. Cheers!
1. Hunters Landing
$16 each. Available 11a.m. to 3p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Their secret: A deadly combination of garnish and hooch. A double shot of Absolut vodka topped up with Clamato and garnished with a slice of pizza, a lobster tail, bacon, cheese and veg is a perfect way "to Cure last night's party or start today's."
Master tips: "Let your imagination run wild! Fresh horseradish really gives it a good bite. A personal favourite of mine is to make it muddy with extra Worcestershire. Pickled anything is fantastic for a couple reasons: it goes well with the tang of the Clamato and the brine from pickling is really good for digestion (why do you think the Russians eat so many pickles with their vodka? It helps/eliminates the hangover ;)). Throw in chicken wings, pizza, grilled cheese, mini sliders... The greasier the better!" --Alana DeCoste, Bar Manager
2. Rodney's Oyster House
Eddie O’Keefe for Rodney’s Oyster House
$12.50 each. Available Monday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. to close.
Their secret: They believe in using a tomato-clam mix with actual clam (Walters), and Canadian Iceberg vodka. Because Walters is thicker than Clamato. You get a texture that sits a little more in the bloody Mary direction and makes a satisfying mouthful. Fresh horseradish, the same used with their raw oysters, gives a sweet bite. They make their own special hot sauce too called ‘Back From Hell.' It's a Grenadian scotch bonnet recipe that gives great heat with real flavour too (not just that burning taste). And finally, they garnish with a 16-20 gauge wild Texas White shrimp, citrus, and a twist of black pepper to finish.
Master tips: "I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to go. For me, it’s 'first the ice, then the spice, makes a Caesar very, very nice.' Don’t neglect the citrus, and make sure you stir it well, to really integrate the ingredients."
3. Rose & Sons
$13 each. Available all day, every day.
Their secret: Walter's Caesar mix, a delectable duck salt rim, a pickle and kabanosy sausage.
Master tip: Use pickled vegetables; they compliment a spicy caesar.
4. Barque Smokehouse
$10 each. Always available when the doors are open at both Barque Smokehouse as well as Barque Butcher Bar.
Their secret: A delicious candied smoked bacon rim made in-house and a smoked olive and pickled vegetable garnish.
Master tips: "Caesar’s can be very unique - focus on using your favourite seasonings and garnishes to personalize your Caesar. We find that using fresh citrus and horseradish gives us the best results."
5. The Federal
Their secret: Topped with Cool Ranch Doritos
$9 each (great value!). Available all day, every day.
Master Tip: Dill pickle juice!
6. Cherry Street Bar B Que
$13.25 each. Available all day, every day--as long as there are ribs ;).
Their secret: Their BBQ Caesar includes hints of their house made BBQ sauce as well as a mouth-watering smoked side rib garnish. Yum!
"1. Quality ingredients. Best vodka. Lemon instead of lime to rim the glass as lemon works better with seafood.
2. "Spice the ice" start with ice, signature ingredients, then booze, then Clamato.
3. Experiment with different bitters and hot sauces to develop your own personal and unique flavour profile."
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