There are few things as quintessentially Canadian as the classic Caesar. Worcestershire, horseradish and clamato juice, spiked with vodka, garnished with something pickled and served in a glass rimmed with a salty spice mixture… What’s not to love? Though not always understood and certainly underappreciated outside of the true north, there’s something about a Caesar that hits a little differently. Maybe it’s because it’s perfectly acceptable to order one alongside the first meal of the day, or perhaps it’s the refreshing tang of salty brine that just can’t be replicated sans clamato (Bloody Mary who?). Whatever the reason, there’s no denying it’s Canada’s most treasured beverage.
The co-founders of small batch, all natural and proudly Canadian Walter Caesar agree, delivering their ode to the over 50-year-old beverage with Caesar Country, a book detailing the art and science behind Canada’s favourite drink. Beyond a compelling collection of recipes, including contributions from some of Canada’s top bartenders and chefs, Caesar Country shares stories of travels across Canada as well as the history, evolution, and innovators behind the boozy red delight.
O&B recently teamed up with Walter to throw the ultimate Canadian comfort food brunch celebrating the debut book, complete with a fully loaded Caesar-inspired menu. Fittingly hosted at Sap, a hub for Canadian comfort food, guests were treated to canapés and a two-course brunch (with accompanying Caesars of course!) starring Walter craft Caesar mix as the key ingredient. From aïoli to ketchup, oysters and chili, Walter classic mix was incorporated into every delicious bite. The result was the ultimate Caesar-lover’s brunch and a culinary celebration of everything spicy, briney, pickled and delicious.
Looking to up your Caesar game at home? Our friends at Walter Caesar have graciously shared a recipe featured in Caesar Country for readers to recreate whenever the mood strikes. Nodding to Calgary — the birthplace of the Caesar — in this version, the classic bevvie is complemented by maple syrup’s sweet notes. Enjoy!
glassware: 1 pint glass
1 tbsp flaked sea salt
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
1 tbsp maple syrup
2oz (60 ml) black pepper-infused vodka
6oz (180 ml) Caesar mix, mild
¾ tsp BBQ sauce
½ tsp maple syrup
½ tsp lime juice
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 strip maple-glazed pepper bacon
1 lime wedge
Maple-glazed Pepper Bacon
makes 10 to 12 slices
1lb (450g) thick-cut smoked bacon
2 tbsp Canadian maple syrup
cracked black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Place two oven-safe metal baking racks on top of two aluminum foil-lined baking trays and lay the bacon strips out on a single layer.
- Cook the bacon until the slices just start to brown, bubble, and curl (about 15 to 20 minutes), and then carefully remove the trays from the oven.
- Brush the top of each piece of bacon with maple syrup and season with a few turns of cracked black pepper to taste. Return the trays to the oven until the bacon is nice and crispy, 5 to 15 minutes. (You want the bacon to be crisp enough to stand up in a glass.) Oven temperatures and bacon thicknesses vary, so keep a close eye on the bacon in the last few minutes of cooking.
- Remove the bacon slices from the racks when still warm to prevent sticking. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking tray in a single layer. Let cool to room temperature before using as a garnish. Store extra (there probably won’t be any) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.