Bartender’s Drinks: The Mighty Ceasar

Like the historical figure it is named after, the Ceasar continues to reign supreme as one of the most infamous cocktails of all time. Whether you are recovering from the night before, looking for a tasty treat or a rockin hearty night cap this timeless classic can satisfy.

Born in 1969 in Calgary, Alberta by restaurateur Walter Chell to celebrate the opening of a new Italian restaurant in the city, this cocktail is 100% Canadian. Who knew right? One of the most popular mixed drinks in the nation, Canadians consume over 350 million of these bad boys a year. That’s a lot of hangover recovery folks!

With numerous variations, the classic comes with Vodka and Clamato juice, spiced with tabasco, worchestire, rimmed with celery salt and then garnished with a stick of celery. Simple changes to this recipe include spicy or not, extra worcestershire and switching out the Vodka for Tequila or Gin and this is just the beginning. There are so many delicious variations and creative twists we could write a novel but let me share with you some of the best I have had.

Browns Socialhouse in North Vancouver, B.C. adds a wonderful amount of Horseradish to give their Ceasar an extra special spicy deliciousness. Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar in Ottawa, Ontario, which unfortunately closed in 2014, used bacon-infused vodka they made in house for their Cesars and man were they delicious. Also, a really simple treat some of my friends have loved for years, pickle juice and spicy green beans. In bartending there is always something cool and new to try and the Ceasar is no exception to that rule. In today’s market, everyone is trying to make their mark and add a unique twist to this classic cocktail but any great Ceasar lover will tell you, often the good old classic created by Walter Chell will more than do.

Wherever you work, and whatever their spin, take the time to learn how to make the classic perfect. People will keep coming back time and time again, trust me. Find the right balance between Worcestershire and tabasco, a little salt and pepper and you can wow anyone. Once you master that then you can start to branch out and add your own little flair and nuances.

Remember, a classic is a classic for a reason and while it can be fun to change it up and try something new, sometimes it doesn’t need to be altered to impress.


Jennie has worked in the bar and restaurant industry for 9 years. She has been a host, expeditor, bartender, server and manager. She still works in the industry today part-time as a server at Milestones. Find her on Twitter @jenniedleaver