Bloody Caesar

Step into the world of savory cocktails and meet the Bloody Caesar drink. A Canadian twist on the classic Bloody Mary, this beloved cocktail brings together bold flavors and a dash of intrigue with tomato juice, clam juice and vodka. This drink is a must-try for cocktail enthusiasts and brunch lovers.

A close up of a Bloody Caesar drink.

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Canadian Caesar cocktail recipe

There’s nothing like a Bloody Mary to start the weekend! But how about a Bloody Caesar? Or rather, just a Caesar, as they call it in Canada.

The Canadian Caesar is a unique spin on the ‘Mary, made with vodka and a version of Bloody Mary mix known as Clamato juice.

It’s a combination of clam juice and tomato juice, which gives the cocktail a hint of seafood flavor and a lot of complexity.

Let’s get to know this unique Canadian cocktail, where it comes from and how to make it at home!

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A glass of Bloody Caesar with a lemon, celery and a slice of lemon.

Why you’ll love this recipe

There are a lot of reasons to try a Caesar cocktail:

  • Bloody Mary fans will find Clamato juice adds a deeper flavor than the regular Bloody Mary mix.
  • Fully customizable, the Caesar has tons of variations and fun garnishes.
  • It’s a delicious drink for brunch, game day or anytime you desire a hangover cure.

You should also enjoy one on National Caesar Day in Canada, which takes place the Thursday before Victoria Day in May. It’s the unofficial start to summer, just before a long weekend. 

It is perhaps the most popular cocktail in Canada, so be sure to try one if you visit. 

What is a Caesar drink?

The Canadian Caesar is a savory tomato juice cocktail with lots of flavor thanks to the addition of salty clam nectar, sour lime juice and spicy Worcestershire sauce.

It is often served with hot sauce such as Tabasco sauce, though it’s not in the original recipe.

The drink is typically garnished with flavored salt, lemon wedges and a celery stick but today gets as many crazy garnishes as the Bloody Mary.

A group of Bloody Caesars with lemons and celery.

History of the Caesar cocktail

The drink was invented in 1969 to celebrate the grand opening of Marco’s Italian Restaurant at the Calgary Inn (now Westin Calgary).

Inspired by the dish Spaghetti Vongole, the food and beverage manager Walter Chell spent three months creating the drink. He crushed clams to make “clam nectar” and later said his secret ingredient was a dash of oregano.

Chell named it for the Roman Emperor. An English customer tasted the drink at his bar and proclaimed, “Walter, that’s a damn good bloody Caesar.” From then on, Chell called it a Bloody Caesar.

Mott’s Clamato juice — a mixture of tomato juice and clam broth — entered the scene in 1969. Stocked in grocery stores and restaurants across Canada, Clamato is considered to be the key ingredient of the Caesar mix.

The popularity has only grown since then. In 2010, Canada Dry Mott’s petitioned Canadian parliament “to officially name the Caesar Canada’s National Cocktail.”

According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, Canadians imbibe more than 400 million Caesars each year.

a hand holding a boston-style cocktail shaker.

Tools & glassware

To make a Caesar, you will need a cocktail shaker and a strainer. You could also serve Bloody Caesar mix in a pitcher — ideal for a Bloody Mary bar at a party.

Caesars are usually served in highball glasses. You’ll also want to prepare some ice cubes.

You may want to pierce your garnishes with a bamboo skewer or cocktail pick to make them stand out.

a carafe of homemade Bloody Mary mix with a kitchen towel and a plate of Bloody Mary rim salt

Ingredients

Here’s what you will need to make a Caesar at home:

  • Vodka
  • Clamato juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • Celery salt
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

You can feel free to tweak the recipe to your liking. You can skip the hot sauce, add horseradish or play with the garnishes.

Typically the drink is garnished with celery sticks and lemon wedges, but you can use other traditional Bloody Mary garnishes like olives, cherry tomatoes,

A close up of a Bloody Caesar drink next to a pitcher.

Bloody Caesar variations

In addition to all the ways you can enjoy a Bloody Mary (more on this below), the Caesar has a bunch of its own variations. With any of them, there is one constant: Clamato juice.

  • Red Eye: Similar to a Michelada, this one uses Clamato but replaces the vodka with Canadian beer. This one is sometimes called the Saskatchewan Caesar.
  • Clam Eye: This one is based on the Red Eye, but gets a dash of hot sauce.
  • Crown Royal Caesar: This version is made with Canadian whisky, usually Crown Royal. This one is similar to the Bloody Derby, which is a Bloody Mary made with bourbon.
  • Virgin Caesar: A non-alcoholic version can be made without the vodka or with a zero-proof spirit such as Ritual gin alternative.
A person pouring vodka into a glass of ice.
A person pouring liquid into a glass of Bloody Caesar.

How to make a Canadian Caesar

In this 2009 article from the CBC, Len Fragomeni, the founder of the Toronto Institute of Bartending and the dean of Mott’s Clamato Caesar School, said the best way to prepare the drink is by a method known as “rolling,” which differs from shaking and stirring.

Rolling is when you use two glasses. You add all the ingredients to one glass and pour the liquid back and forth between the two glasses to combine the ingredients.

However, a cocktail shaker works just as well. Here’s how to make the Bloody Caesar recipe with a shaker:

  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add vodka, clamato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt, sea salt and black pepper.
  2. Shake well and pour into the prepared glass. Embellish with your favorite garnishes.

Bloody Caesar garnishes

Traditionally the Caesar gets a garnish of a celery stalk and lemon wedge

Another common one is with a flavored salt like Bloody Mary rim salt. To do this, pour some of the salt on a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the edge of a highball glass, and roll the rim of the glass in the salt to coat the rim. Then, add ice cubes to the glass and pour in the shaken drink.

But you can take things to a non-traditional level! It’s not unusual to see Caesars garnished with bacon, cheese, pickles, olives and, yes, even burgers, boneless chicken wings and whole slices of pizza.

The clam juice in the Clamato mix helps lend the drink to seafood garnishes, such as:

Tips & tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:

  • Make your own Clamato juice to add even more clam flavor. (Recipe coming soon!)
  • Always use fresh ingredients for the best-tasting Caesar.
  • You can make a shortcut by adding some clam juice to your favorite Bloody Mary mix brand.
  • Go nuts with garnishes. They’re more than a snack — they’re also a feast for the eyes and nose too.
A close up of a Bloody Caesar drink.

What to serve with Bloody Caesars

Like Bloody Marys, Bloody Caesars are great with breakfast and brunch foods. Enjoy them with eggs benedict (made with Canadian bacon, of course) or eggs and peameal bacon.

You could also enjoy them with classic bar food. Canadian poutine is a must, but you could also go for spinach artichoke dip, white bean dip or beer cheese dip.

Bloody Mary variations

The Caesar is closely related to the Bloody Mary, a vodka cocktail made with Bloody Mary mix but without the clam juice.

But when you make the drink with other spirits, it winds up with a different name.

  • Bloody Derby: Bourbon is the star of this sweet-and-salty spin. If you use Irish whiskey, it’s a Bloody Molly. You could also easily make the Caesar with Canadian whisky.
  • Red Snapper: Also known as the Bloody Bulldog, this one calls for gin in lieu of vodka.
  • Bloody Maria: This version can be made with tequila or smoky mezcal. This one is often made into a spicy Bloody Mary, too.
  • Cubanita: This version is a rum Bloody Mary. This one would be great spicy, too!
  • Michelada: This one is like a Mexican Bloody Mary with beer. It doesn’t usually contain Bloody Mary mix — it uses a simple combo of tomato juice, lime juice, hot sauce and Mexican lager. But you can absolutely use a mix if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Bloody Bull: Add a splash of beef broth to your cocktail.
  • Virgin Mary: You can use zero-proof alcohol or a little bit of olive juice or pickle brine to make a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary. It can also just be a glass of Bloody Mary mix — it’s pretty good on its own.
A Bloody Caesar cocktail with a lemon and celery garnish.

FAQ

What’s the difference between a Bloody Mary and a Canadian Caesar?

The Bloody Mary and the Bloody Caesar are very similar cocktails, but with one big difference. While both are made with vodka and have a tomato juice base, the Caesar’s base also has clam juice mixed in. The clam juice-infused tomato base is called Clamato juice. A Bloody Mary made with Clamato (instead of Bloody Mary mix) is technically a Bloody Caesar.

What is Clamato juice?

Clamato juice is a combination of tomato juice and clam juice. This clam-tomato juice mixture is popular in Canada, where it is a key ingredient in the Bloody Caesar cocktail.

More Canadian drink recipes

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A Bloody Caesar cocktail with a lemon and celery garnish.

Bloody Caesar Cocktail

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Indulge in the ultimate savory sensation with a Bloody Caesar cocktail. It's a harmonious blend of vodka and Clamato juice that's sure to elevate your brunch experience.
4.98 from 42 votes
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ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 4 ounces clamato juice
  • ½ ounce lemon juice fresh
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 to 4 dashes hot sauce to taste
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • celery stick for garnish
  • lemon wedge for garnish

instructions

  • To a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt, sea salt and black pepper.
  • Shake well and pour into a highball glass filled with ice.
  • Embellish with a celery stick, lemon wedge and your favorite garnishes.

notes

Always use fresh ingredients for the best-tasting Caesar.
You can also prepare the drink by “rolling,” which is different than shaking or stirring a drink. Rolling is when you use two glasses. You add all the ingredients to one glass, then pour the liquid back and forth between the two to combine the ingredients. However, a cocktail shaker works just as well.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 cocktail

amount per serving:

Serving: 8ounces Calories: 158kcal Carbohydrates: 7g Protein: 1g Fat: 0.1g Saturated Fat: 0.03g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g Sodium: 2385mg Potassium: 317mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 5g Vitamin A: 535IU Vitamin C: 27mg Calcium: 21mg Iron: 1mg
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