Lately I’ve been on a tear to create the perfect Caesar. What brought this on is questionable but what I do know is that this has become a very amusing project. I would like to share all I’ve learned with you.
The Caesar cocktail was invented in Calgary in 1969 and mainly consists of clam juice, tomato juice, vodka, and spices. I know, it sounds gross – but it’s AWESOME!! I greatly prefer it to the Bloody Mary which is almost identical except it’s lacking the clam.
Basic Ingredients: Vodka or gin, Clamato juice, worcestershire sauce, tabasco, salt and pepper, celery, lemon or lime. And use a tall glass – ’cause we’re making doubles.
Step one: Rim the glass. Wet the rim with a wedge of lemon or lime and then cover it in salt and pepper. Yes, you can rim the glass with pepper and celery salt – but why stop there when you can use steak seasoning salt? I’ve been using Red Robin signature blend seasoning which has “20 unique spices & ingredients”, but I think about 19 of them are salt. Anyway it’s great for rimming with a little extra black pepper cracked into the mix.
Step two: Booze. A traditional Caesar requires vodka, which I love. But my perfect caesar is made with Gin. Pour 2 oz of gin over three ice cubes. You can also try tequila – I haven’t tried this (and I never will because tequila turns people insane) BUT I have heard from several sources that tequila caesars are rad. You can also substitute the hard alcohol for beer to create a Red Eye; however, an important lesson I learned along the way is that a caesar with beer in it is gross. It seems to be a crowd pleaser for the boys – but I find it disgusting. It probably didn’t help that I used an IPA instead of a Pale Ale. I’m thinking if I would have done it properly it would have been similar to a Michelada.
Step three: Spices. I know it’s weird but lots of the flavoring that goes into a Caesar are products intended to season meat. I add in 3 dashes of worcestershire, 3 dashes of hot sauce, then I put in a small spoonful of olive brine, and a little freshly ground black pepper.
Step four: Clamato. Pour in about 6oz of Clamato. Leave a couple inches of space. Clamato is Mott’s thoughtful way of premixing the perfect proportions of tomato and clam juice for you. I prefer the extra spicy Clamato. At first I was put off by the sodium level in Mott’s Clamato but no name versions are the same. And even if you were to add your own tomato and clam juice the sodium would still be high. Calms are just damn salty and it doesn’t matter if you buy clam juice, or make your own clam stock the result will always be a salt fest.
Step five: Garnish. I am a huge fan of lots of garnish. Part of the reason I love Caesars is because you can basically get a salad with your drink. First I put in my tall celery stalk – preferably a young stalk served with the leaves on. Then I add 2 olives. I like pitted green ones – lately I’ve been using garlic stuffed olives. To keep the olives from getting lost in the bottom of the tall glass I have been skewering them with a toothpick and then attaching the pick to the celery. And finally a wedge of lemon or lime on the side. I fill the last inch of the glass with water (to help reduce the thickness of the clamato). And give it a quick stir. Now it should be perfect.
Miscellaneous and additional info: What did I learn right away after almost poking out my eye with a celery stalk? One needs a STRAW to drink a Caesar. YES. I bought metal ones because I loathe single use plastics.
I still have some tweaking to do. I’m interested to try adding muddled basil (which is supposed to be wonderous miracle combined with gin), and instead of celery perhaps a slice of cucumber, or a sliver of daikon (japanese radish). Haven’t tried it yet – but I’ll let you know if it’s gross. I’d also like to try a vegan version … but i’m thinking it might be uber gross.
There you go. That is all I have learned during the course of making The Perfect Caesar. Happy drinking!
Alternate option: The Tropical Caesar
This is really amazing it’s vodka and all the spices and PINEAPPLE juice instead of the Clamato. SO GOOD. Seriously. Spicy pineapple. yuuuuuuum! Or half calmato, half pineapple juice. Perfection!