Conquering Caesar: Canada’s cocktail

As in a nutshell’s resident nightlife correspondent, I feel as though that automatically makes me our Caesar expert as well. List off all the “hangover cures” you want – Advil, Gatorade, Big Mac, four litres of water, shower, quick run, slap in the face – while all are tried, tested and true, nothing does it for me like a cold and delicious Caesar. Extra spicy, of course.

In the good ol’ days when all the nuts lived in one place, after any big night out you could bet your first born that we’d be slothed around a brunch table, Caesar’s in one hand, head in the other.

So, it seemed a little too perfect when we were contacted by Mott’s Clamato to meet with Caesar expert Clint Pattemore to unlock the secret behind Ottawa’s best Caeser.

Over a delicious lunch at Murray Street restaurant we were treated to great food and two rounds of spectacular cocktails (yes, I returned to work afterwards. Sadly). What makes their Caesar the talk of the town? Homemade clamato juice, garlic, chipotle peppers and a secret ingredient – savoury spice. Not to mention it came with a celery stick topped with cheese whiz (!!!!!). If you’re into the traditional taste this one may not be your favourite but it’s smoky undertones definitely makes it a drink to remember.

Created in 1969, in Calgary by a man by the name of Walter Chell, the Caesar has now officially been named “Canada’s cocktail”. Right up there with poutine, smoked meat and Tim Horton’s, it’s true that whenever I’ve been away from the homeland I catch myself wanting, needing and craving the taste of that familiar and perfect combination. Not to mention, that irresistible spicy bean.

When asked why the Caesar has managed to climb it’s way to Canadian glory, Clint had what I consider to be the perfect response – it’s versatile. People can customize it to fit their particular taste. How true.

Bad balance.

And given our nation’s tendency to accommodate, how Canadian.

For Clint, whose job is basically to travel around the country promoting the drink –  (ummm, hello. Are you hiring?) he says the perfect mix is all about balance. No ingredient should overpower the rest – even spice.

He particularly liked it when I asked him if he’s a “mild or wild” kind of guy. Didn’t realize the nuts coined that term, but if Canada’s Caesar EXPERT had never heard it, I guess we did. Copyright.

Looking out for my Toronto home girls I asked what he considers to be Toronto’s best Caesar. Looks like Kaylee and Jess will have to try out a little place called Finn’s of Temple. Their wide variety of Caesar options means almost anyone could find something to suit their style. And get this, they have a VEGAN one. Somewhere Jess is doing a summersault.

Kate likes hers with pickle juice. And a side of hand.

For me personally, I consider Fresco’s Bistro Italiano on Elgin to have Ottawa’s best. But, as a spice lover their horseradish addition is what has me sold. 10fourteen also has a Caesar that will allow you to finish it off in about 5 seconds flat. Secret ingredient there? Fresh cucumber juice. Holy hannah, delicious. But, if you’re looking for the real deal hangover Caesar, head to Lieutenants Pump. $10 for a mason jar, complete with 3 shots of alcohol? … “We’ll all have one, thanks.”

However, aside from all the Caesar talk, perhaps the biggest lesson I learned amid lots of laughs with Mr. Pattemore, was his fun fact about tequila. Clearly doing his research on the nutshell girls (we love the stuff), he filled me in that tequila made with 100 per cent Agave is actually the healthiest thing you can drink.

Really not helping me cut down on the partying with tips like that, Clint.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have a date with Canada’s favourite cocktail and some good friends. Happy drinking.

One Comment

  1. Kevin Kitts says:

    Et tu, Brute?
    Well, it is certainly fortunate that ‘in a nutshell’ has a resident nightlife correspondent.
    One would imagine that this particular journalistic qualification is extremely rare.
    The one major question that I have is why didn’t he name it…………………..The Chell!
    The Caesar is versatile but, then again, so are we Canadians as a whole.
    In the two photos that she is in, Munchkin/Walton looks rather strange.
    Can we assume that she has entered the enchanted world of Munchkinland during both photo shoots?
    Holy CN Tower, Batman! There is a VEGAN Caesar!
    OMG! Humans can drink Caesars in five seconds flat and consume mason jars full of Caesars!
    Who knew.

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