Hail, Cae­sar! Cana­di­ans love this Cal­gary cock­tail

Book in­cludes more than 50 vari­a­tions

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - LAURA BREHAUT

It’s savoury, sweet, salty, sour and bit­ter all at once and all in a glass. The Cae­sar’s unique flavour pro­file has made it one of Canada’s favourite cock­tails since the 1970s. Orig­i­na­tor Wal­ter Chell, restau­rant man­ager of the Owl’s Nest bar in the for­mer Cal­gary Inn (now The Westin Cal­gary), set out to cre­ate a liq­uid ver­sion of spaghetti alle von­gole in rosso (spaghetti with clams and tomato) in 1969.

The re­sult was the Bloody Cae­sar, con­sist­ing of vodka, clam nec­tar, tomato juice, lime, Worces­ter­shire sauce and cel­ery salt.

Con­cur­rently, the DuffyMott Com­pany cre­ated Mott’s Clam­ato juice in the United States, which was in­tro­duced to the Cana­dian mar­ket that same year. Buy­ing the juice was a lot eas­ier than sourc­ing clam nec­tar, and the cock­tail took off across Canada.

To­day, Clam­ato is the sin­gle in­gre­di­ent that makes a Cae­sar a Cae­sar. Clint Pat­te­more, chief mix­ing of­fi­cer for Mott’s Clam­ato, has cre­ated more than 50 vari­a­tions of the cock­tail, which he shares in his book Cae­sars: The Es­sen­tial Guide to Your Favourite Cock­tail (Ap­petite by Ran­dom House, 2014).

Food recipes from chefs Con­nie DeSousa and John Jack­son of Cal­gary’s CHARCUT Roast House are also in­cluded, which is par­tic­u­larly fit­ting as DeSousa and Jack­son worked to­gether at the Owl’s Nest early in their ca­reers.

Tequila, gin, rye whisky, rum, beer and Pimm’s No. 1 Cup are among the al­co­holic in­gre­di­ents Pat­te­more uses in his Cae­sar vari­a­tions, in ad­di­tion to the tra­di­tional vodka.

“Depend­ing on when and where and what I’m drink­ing it with, a clas­sic is a clas­sic for a rea­son,” Pat­te­more says in an in­ter­view. “(But) I love pickle juice in my Cae­sar, horse­rad­ish is al­ways good. I like muddy Cae­sars with lots of Worces­ter­shire. I also like to drink Cae­sars with­out vodka. So say gin or tequila, you’re start­ing with a base layer of flavour, which you can build on top. Gin has that botan­i­cal flavour, which works re­ally well and tequila has that spicy, black-pep­per taste.”

As for the en­dur­ing ap­peal of the Cae­sar, Pat­te­more thinks the rea­son is three­fold: Na­tional pride, it’s easy to make and it’s an in­di­vid­ual drink.

“I cre­ated these recipes to be more of an in­spi­ra­tion to the home bar­tender so they can see it, make it at home and ad­just it to what­ever they want,” Pat­te­more says. “If you don’t like it spicy, you don’t have to add all the hot sauce. If you want to change things around, I of­fer lots of tips and vari­a­tions in the book. I think all of the recipes are pretty easy to make; you can find all the in­gre­di­ents at any ma­jor gro­cery store.”

Many people are par­tial to spe­cific ra­tios, rim­mers, sea­son­ing and gar­nishes when it comes to Cae­sars, but they can also work for a crowd. Pat­te­more rec­om­mends en­ter­tain­ing with Cae­sars by set­ting up a do-it-yourself Cae­sar bar, with glass­ware, ice, a va­ri­ety of rim­mers (e.g. cel­ery salt, Mon­treal steak spice), a se­lec­tion of hot sauces, Clam­ato, Worces­ter­shire sauce and gar­nishes.

“Cut up veg­gies, cheeses, pick­les — kind of like an over-the-top char­cu­terie board — that makes the per­fect gar­nish for a Cae­sar these days,” he says.

Al­ter­na­tively, batch your Cae­sars, but leave the al­co­hol out.

Cae­sars make great vir­gin drinks and adding al­co­hol separately will al­low you to de­ter­mine who gets al­co­hol and how much.

“And of course lots and lots of ice; keep your Cae­sars cold. More ice in your glass means a stronger drink that doesn’t di­lute as much be­cause it stays colder longer,” Pat­te­more adds.

The Clas­sic Bloody Cae­sar

This recipe is where it all be­gan. Thank you, Wal­ter Chell!

Glass High­ball Cel­ery salt or Mott’s Clam­ato Rim­mer

What 1 oz (30 mL) vodka 2 dashes hot sauce 4 dashes Worces­ter­shire sauce 3 grinds fresh cracked salt and pep­per 4 oz (120 mL) Mott’s Clam­ato Cock­tail Gar­nish Cel­ery stalk Lime wedge How Rim a high­ball glass with cit­rus and rim­mer.

Fill the glass to the top with ice.

Add the in­gre­di­ents in the or­der listed.

Stir well to mix the cock­tail, and gar­nish.

Cu­cum­ber-In­fused

Cae­sar

Noth­ing adds cool­ness and fresh­ness to a cock­tail like cu­cum­ber.

The veg­etable makes a great coun­ter­point to the savoury na­ture of the Cae­sar.

It’s es­sen­tial to mud­dle the cu­cum­ber slices right in the mix­ing glass, as you would with lime if mak­ing a Mo­jito.

It takes a bit more ef­fort, but it’s well worth it. Glass High­ball

Rim Fresh cracked salt and black pep­per Cu­cum­ber slice Fresh cracked salt and black pep­per How In a mix­ing glass, mud­dle ev­ery­thing but the gin and Mott’s Clam­ato Cock­tail.

Add the gin and Mott’s Clam­ato Cock­tail, and stir well to mix and spread the flavours around.

Rim a high­ball glass and fill to the top with ice.

Strain the mix­ture into the high­ball glass, and gar­nish.

Note: Add fresh basil, dill, or even mint to the mud­dle of in­gre­di­ents for some her­bi­ness.

If you can find a cu­cum­ber-in­fused gin to use, even bet­ter, as it will lend an­other layer of cu­cum­ber flavour.

Sum­mer Melon & Mar­i­nated Feta Skew­ers with Mint

Serves: 6 This fun party favourite com­bines sweet, re­fresh­ing, juicy wa­ter­melon per­fectly with salty feta cheese.

Cherry toma­toes or bell pep­pers make a great ad­di­tion or al­ter­na­tive to

1 or­ange 3 sprigs fresh thyme 3 sprigs fresh oregano

2½ cups (625 mL) olive oil ¼ cup (60 mL) white wine vine­gar 1 bay leaf Salt and black pep­per 1 small seed­less wa­ter­melon, about 1 lb (500 g) 3 Per­sian cu­cum­bers (or other thin-skinned cu­cum­bers) ¼ bunch fresh mint 12 6-inch (15-cm) bam­boo skew­ers

Cut the feta into ½-inch (1-cm) cubes and place in a non-re­ac­tive container. Us­ing a veg­etable peeler, peel the rind off one lemon and the or­ange.

Layer the cit­rus rind, thyme and oregano in among the cheese cubes. Pour 2 cups (500 mL) olive oil over the cheese, mak­ing sure the cheese is com­pletely sub­merged.

Cover and re­frig­er­ate for 4 hours.

Us­ing a veg­etable peeler, re­move the rind from the re­main­ing lemon in rib­bons.

In a small pot, bring the vine­gar, lemon rind, and bay leaf to a sim­mer. Re­move from.the heat and strain out the rind and bay leaf.

Let the vine­gar cool, then whisk in the re­main­ing olive oil, and salt and pep­per to taste.

Us­ing a ser­rated knife, cut the rind off the wa­ter­melon: Cut the ends off first, then stand the wa­ter­melon up on one end and re­move the rest of the rind, start­ing form the top down to the bot­tom. Cut the wa­ter­melon and cu­cum­bers into ½-inch (1-cm) cubes and place them in sep­a­rate large bowls.

Pick 24 mint leaves and place them in a sep­a­rate bowl.

Onto each piece of bam­boo, skewer the in­gre­di­ents in the fol­low­ing or­der: Wa­ter­melon, mint, cu­cum­ber, feta, mint, and wa­ter­melon, push­ing them to near the bot­tom of the skewer but leav­ing 1 inch (2.5 cm) han­dle space.

Whisk the dress­ing to re-emul­sify it and pour enough over the skew­ers to lightly coat. Serve im­me­di­ately.

Note: Both the mar­i­nated cheese and the dress­ing can be stored in the re­frig­er­a­tor for up to one week. The skew­ers can be made up to 6 hours in ad­vance and stored, cov­ered, in the re­frig­er­a­tor. Pour the dress­ing over top right be­fore serv­ing.

Pho­tos: Ap­petite by Ran­dom House

Rim There’s noth­ing like a cu­cum­ber when it comes to adding cool­ness to a clas­sic Cae­sar. What 4 slices cu­cum­ber 2 dashes Tabasco pep­per sauce 3 grinds fresh cracked salt and black pep­per 1 oz (30 mL) gin 4 oz (120 mL) Mott’s Clam­ato Cock­tail Gar­nish

Mott’s Clam­ato is the sin­gle most iden­ti­fi­able in­gre­di­ent in the clas­sic Cae­sar.

Sum­mer Melon & Mar­i­nated Feta Skew­ers with Mint are a great taste com­pan­ion to the Cae­sar.

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