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Verses from my Kitchen: The Pickle: The Bloody Caesar Reinvented

June 28, 2011

The Pickle: The Bloody Caesar Reinvented

Behind the wood. Saturday night. There's a stillness in the air that rushes over the bar and finds a home within me. Briefly. You can feel the wave of tension weaving its way towards the men in black-matching uniforms, warning us of something to come. The calm before the storm is at its breaking point. Three.. Two.. the doors open to a chorus of noise and commotion. The next six hours are a blur of activity with barely a second to catch your breath. Welcome to life behind the bar. 

This was my old life before my new life. I spent years working in the restaurant industry and years behind the bar. It became my home for the better part of ten years and in that time I probably mixed over a million drinks. A million different times listening to someone step up and ask for something to take their pain away or celebrate an occasion with. I saw it all and I heard even more.  

Aside from beer, the Bloody Caesar was probably the most popular cocktail around. Particularly in the summer. Especially in this country. I probably rimmed, poured and garnished tens of thousands of this cocktail in my old career and every single time it took my breath away.

Back in 1969 the bloody Caesar got it's start and was invented in Calgary by Walter Chell. It was created to celebrate the grand opening of an Italian eatery in the city. It was made up of vodka, Clamato juice, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, and is typically served in a celery salt-rimmed glass with celery and lime.

The mystifying thing is how immensely popular this cocktail is in our country yet relatively unknown outside of our borders. They claim that over 350 million Caesars are consumed in Canada every single year. Really. And that's with 30 plus million residents. You do the math. We're not just a country of beer drinkers after all.

Mixologists today are often an extension of the kitchen. Long gone are the days of standard classics being made exactly how they were decades previously. There will always be an exception to that rule, but it's not unusual to see fresh herbs and infused-alcohol making its way into a cocktail at your local bar and restaurant these days. That's the case with the Bloody Caesar as well. At least that was the case when I made it. 

The standard variety is still being served at many places but more and more people are taking liberties with the original recipe and putting their spin on the classic. That's what I've done here. Sometimes you assume a drink or dish is perfect the way it is and then realize just how amazing it can be if you tweak it to fit your palette and preference.

A little while ago I was contacted by Mott's Clamato and asked if I would create my own version of this iconic cocktail for their site. I agreed immediately because it was a fit for me. I've made this drink so many times before that I was already experimenting with some of my own ideas and concepts, this just gave me a push into finalizing my favourite version. Hopefully you'll give this recipe a shot and fall in love with the bloody Caesar all over again.

Also, Mott's is kind enough to be offering a giveaway to one of my Canadian-based readers. One full Caesar's kit so you too can create you own version over the upcoming Canada Day long weekend.
Picture it, you and a tall glass of heaven as you let the sun wash over you with no plans on the horizon. Sounds good, no?

To be eligible to win is rather simple. Just leave a comment below and I'll pick a winner randomly by 5pm on Wednesday June 29th. I know the deadline is so close but I want to get this out to you as quickly as possible.

"The Pickle" aka My Bloody Caesar

The Goods:
  • pickled carrots and green beans, about 4 each
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 4 cups Clamato juice
  • 2 tbsp. pickle brine
  • 2 tbsp. fresh grated horseradish
  • 2 tsp. A1 steak sauce
  • sea salt and cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon thyme, plus 8 sprigs for garnish
  • 1 pickle, cut into 4 wedges
  • 2 cups vodka
  • ice
  • 1/2 lemon for rim
  • 2 tsp. each of celery salt/ground black pepper/chili powder
  1. Squeeze lemon halves into a large pitcher. Add pickle brine, A1 sauce, salt & pepper, horseradish, thyme, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Stir until combined. Add in ice, vodka and Clamato juice and stir to mix.
  2. Rub cut lemon half around outside edges of cocktail glasses. Mix celery salt,ground black pepper and chili powder on a plate and roll outside of glass around the mixture for the rim. (The rim mixture is not supposed to be in your cocktail, just on the outside of the rim)
  3. Fill the glasses with ice and pour the drink over top. Garnish with a pickle wedge, pickled vegetables and a couple sprigs of fresh thyme.
  4. Serves 4.

** Mott's Canada generously covered the cost of the alcohol and Mott's Clamato juice for this post but my story and views are strictly my own. I roll the way I roll.

** The giveaway is for the Caesar Kit, as seen below, but does not include alcohol. Simply leave a comment below for an entry into the giveaway. Receive a second entry by following me on twitter @MikeVFMK.


At June 28, 2011 at 9:07 PM , Anonymous tami said...

I've been waiting for your post about this you started teasing us about it on Twitter. Bloody Marys are my absolute favorite drink - I consider myself quite the expert :) This looks AMAZING and I love your photo of this. Thank you so much for sharing :)

- t*

At June 28, 2011 at 9:18 PM , Blogger Kimmy Bingham said...

I love a good bloody caesar. A good friend of mine would whip one of these up at every party of hers I went to. When my husband and I were dating and I kept traveling to Vancouver, a bloody caesar was a must on Sunday mornings at brunch. Thanks for sharing!

At June 28, 2011 at 9:32 PM , Anonymous Broderick said...

Beautiful photo, this makes me so thirsty...

At June 28, 2011 at 9:38 PM , Anonymous MikeVFMK said...

Thanks Tami! This has been my favourite drink since I was of age and I have it all the time! Thanks again!

Kimmy, you know how we do! I figured with a Canadian husband that you've had your share! Good to know!

Thanks Broderick! That's the point, right? :)

At June 29, 2011 at 12:17 AM , Blogger edmontonjb said...

That is quite a drink you've mixed up there! Especially love the garnish. I can't wait to give it a try - countdown to the weekend has begun!

At June 29, 2011 at 12:19 AM , Blogger edmontonjb said...

I'm your newest twitter follower (@edmontonjb)

At June 29, 2011 at 1:06 AM , Blogger Rumana Rawat said...

Such a wonderful drink..

At June 29, 2011 at 8:04 AM , Anonymous Kristin @ The Pastry Affair said...

This drink looks like a little piece of heaven. I love Bloody Mary's, but I've never tried (or even heard of) a Bloody Caeser. Your photographs have completely sold me on the idea. Love the rimming of the glasses!

At June 29, 2011 at 12:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant wait to try this recipe! I pickle carrots and beans (among other things) and am happy to have another use for them. (besides eatting out of the jar with my head stuck in the fridge lol)
Wonderfully written blog
Tara Skewes

At June 29, 2011 at 1:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mike...I just wanted to say that my husband Jay is still so smitten by the pickle juice that was added to his Caesar at the cottage. I accidently threw out some pickle brine last week he was apparently saving for his next Caesar to mix up. NOW, I know better! Keep up the good work! Brigitte

At June 29, 2011 at 2:26 PM , Blogger SweetSavoryPlanet said...

Here in the US it is definitely the Bloody Mary that takes center stage. The Bloody Ceasar looks intriguing and since I just made pickles it sounds like a plan!

At June 29, 2011 at 2:36 PM , Blogger Bonnie Brown said...

you version sounds very yummy!! I will have to try for sure!
Please enter me in the draw for the motts stuff!

At June 29, 2011 at 2:57 PM , Blogger michy182 said...

This looks amazing! I have been dying to try my new Belvedere bloody mary vodka and this seems like the perfect complement! Thanks for sharing!

At June 29, 2011 at 5:18 PM , Blogger kstar said...

That looks sooo delicious! I am gonna make these for this weekend :)

At June 29, 2011 at 5:24 PM , Anonymous Niki said...

I love Gin in my ceasars and highly recomend it if you haven't tried it yet!

At June 29, 2011 at 7:23 PM , Blogger The Culinary Lens said...

This would be a great drink special anytime but I would love to serve this on the Ides of March..

Great photography and garnishes

At June 29, 2011 at 8:06 PM , Blogger Torviewtoronto said...

deliciously done looks wonderful would love to enter the giveaway
toronto, ontario

At June 29, 2011 at 10:09 PM , Anonymous Bard Judith said...

Love Clamato, love the creativity of this drink. I haven't had Clamato in a year as it's not sold here in South Korea - but I fly out to Canada for my summer vacation in four days' time and you can bet I'll be asking the flight attendants for a can! Will be trying this recipe this summer when I can get all the ingredients.

At June 29, 2011 at 10:39 PM , Anonymous AJ said...

In the Northwest States we call that a clamdigger. Been my favorite summertime drink for years. I take mine with a pickle and green olives - delicious!

At June 30, 2011 at 12:15 AM , Blogger All That's Left Are The Crumbs said...

I haven't heard of this drink before but it sounds delicious and your photos are certainly enticing.

At June 30, 2011 at 7:49 AM , Blogger A Thought For Food said...

I go back and forth on the Bloody Mary... probably because there are so many bad ones out there. But gosh darn it... when it's good, it's good. And this not only looks delicious, but it is such a wonderful take on the classic.

At June 30, 2011 at 11:48 AM , Anonymous Michelle said...

Mmmmm Clamato. Mmmmmm Bloody Ceasar.

At June 30, 2011 at 12:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog is inspiring. I love the beautiful words you use to describe everything.

At July 1, 2011 at 8:18 AM , Blogger Carolyn said...

I love Caesars and haven't had one in years because no one knows what they are down here!!! Last time I had one was my post-wedding brunch, I believe. All the yanks at my out-of-towner brunch fell in love with them too!

At July 10, 2011 at 1:06 PM , Anonymous Jean Marks said...

I love "Your Bloody Ceasar's"...the best!!!!
Hope you had a great birthday :) Jean

At September 30, 2011 at 10:26 AM , Blogger shayma said...

it is always lovely to stumble upon a food blogger in Canada- we dont seem to be too many, or so i thought. x shayma


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