Canada’s Bloody Caesar is a delicious brunch drink whether you sip the tasty tipple in the Great White North or elsewhere. It’s also the most famous vodka cocktail crafted with Clamato juice.
Beloved in its home country of Canada, the Bloody Caesar flies under the radar in the US and around the world. In fact, many Americans have never heard of the classic Canadian cocktail or consider the Bloody Caesar to be weird since it’s crafted with Clamato juice.
We’re not like most Americans.
We have a sweet spot for Canada’s Bloody Caesar just like we have sweet spots for the country’s maple syrup, peameal bacon, poutine and smoked meat. Plus, we often have Clamato on hand since we use the clam-spiked tomato juice to make Mexican shrimp cocktails at home.
What Is the Bloody Caesar?
The Bloody Ceasar is essentially a Bloody Mary that’s crafted with Clamato (clam-tomato) juice instead of tomato juice. The cocktail’s other key ingredients include vodka, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and celery salt.
The savory cocktail is wildly popular in Canada where Canucks sip Bloody Ceasars both at home and at bars. Some even imbibe the savory cocktail as a hangover cure. And, while it’s not the country’s official drink, Canadians celebrate the libation on National Caesar Day each year on May 24th.
History of the Bloody Caesar
Not surprisingly, the Bloody Caesar has Canadian roots. However, the cocktail wasn’t invented in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver as you might expect.
Instead, Calgary gets credit for being the city where Walter Chell concocted the first Bloody Caesar with an unusual roster of ingredients. Legend has it that Chell channeled his Italian heritage, drawing inspiration from Spaghetti alla Vongole, a classic Italian dish that’s topped with tomatoes and clams.
Order a Bloody Caesar at Calgary’s Westin Hotel. This is the spot where Chell invented the drink in 1969. Back then, the hotel was known as the Calgary Inn.
Bloody Caesar Ingredients
Despite its obscure status in the US, you don’t need a lot of special ingredients to craft a Bloody Caesar cocktail at home. Our recipe calls for the following items:
While you can get creative with most of these ingredients, Clamato juice, vodka and celery salt are non-negotiable. Together, they combine to create the drink’s unique melange of flavors.
As its name suggests, Clamato is a juice made with both tomato juice and clam broth. Its other ingredients include corn syrup, salt and a mix of spices.
Clamato is produced by Mott’s, a company more famous in America for its apple juice. However, to be clear, there are no apples in Clamato, just a pleasant dose of seafood-tinged umami.
You can buy Clamato from Amazon if you can’t find the savory juice at your local market.
Any vodka will work in this Bloody Caesar recipe. We typically use Absolut Vodka since that’s the vodka that has a permanent spot in our liquor cabinet. The Swedish vodka has an ABV of 40%.
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While we usually associate celery with crudités, stews and stocks, celery salt is different. Its mix of salt and celery seeds brings earthy undertones to every sip of the Bloody Caesar.
To us, even though this unique spice powder is of the earth, its salty, herby flavors almost taste like something from the sea. It’s a fantastic Clamato foil.
While Clamato, vodka and celery salt are non-negotiable when it comes to Bloody Caesar cocktails, additional ingredients add to the drink’s potent punch.
We include Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce in our Bloody Caesar recipe as well as horseradish. Feel free to follow our lead or experiment with your favorite hot sauces and condiments.
How to Craft a Bloody Caesar Cocktail
Once you gather the ingredients and tools, the first step is to create a celery salt rim on your glass. Start by rubbing a lime wedge around the top of the glass and then dip the glass on to a plate topped with celery salt. Swirl the glass in a circle until the rim is fully coated.
Fill the celery salt-rimmed glass half way with ice.
Measure the vodka and Clamato using a jigger or angled measuring cup. We like to use a Japanese jigger since it give us accurate measurements and minimizes spillage.
Pour the vodka and Clamato directly into the celery salt-rimmed glass.
Add dashes of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco.
Optionally add a teaspoon of horseradish for an extra kick of flavor. We prefer our horseradish to be nose-clearing hot but you do you.
Gently stir. Be careful not to disturb the celery salt rim.
Garnish with a celery rib.
Feel free to ramp up this classic Bloody Caesar recipe. Options include using your favorite hot sauce brand instead of Tabasco and adding garnishes like bacon strips, okra, olives and pickles.
Bloody Caesar Drink Variations
If you’re like us, you’ll love this classic Bloody Caesar recipe. However, we’ll understand if you want to make the Canadian drink your own. Here are some ideas if you’re feeling experimental:
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Bloody Caesar FAQs
The Bloody Caesar is popular Canadian cocktail crafted with vodka, Clamato, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and celery salt.
The Bloody Caesar was invented in Calgary, Canada.
Vodka, Clamato, Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce, Horseradish (optional), Celery Salt (for rim), Lime Wedge (for rim), Celery Stalk (garnish) and Ice Cubes
The Bloody Caesar is stirred, not shaken.
The Bloody Mary and Bloody are similar vodka cocktails with one key difference. While the Bloody Mary is crafted with tomato juice, the Bloody Caesar is instead crafted with Clamato juice.
Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.
Bloody Caesar Recipe
Bloody Caesar Recipe
- Run a lime wedge around the rim of a high ball glass and then dip the glass into celery salt, swirling the glass until the rim is well coated.
- Fill the glass half way with ice cubes.
- Pour vodka and Clamato juice into the glass.
- Add dashes of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.
- Optionally add horseradish.
- Mix with bar spoon.
- Garnish with a celery rib.
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About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.
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Original Publication Date: October 29, 2023