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Clamato & The Caesar


Fat Guy
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Have you heard of the Caesar? It's the Canadian equivalent of the Bloody Mary, but it's made with something called Clamato juice. Yes, it's a combination of clam juice and tomato juice. Sound gross, but it's actually excellent -- and the ideal match for oysters because the brininess gets picked up by the clam juice. I had it at a famous Vancouver seafood place called Joe Fortes (sort of their equivalent of the Grand Central Oyster Bar, but more of a scene, and named for Vancouver's first lifeguard).

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Wow. I had always thought that Caesars came first and that Bloody Marys were just wimped out versions. Clamato is usually spicy as well so Bloody Caesars are often quite jacked up on Tabasco as well Lea & Perrins. Serve with tender celery staks and greens, a twist or two of black pepper.

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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  • 1 month later...

Know the Caesar? I LOVE the Caesar. As a Canadian expat in London, I pine for Caesars in spite of the perfectly serviceable Bloody Marys on offer. The BM's are very nice, but they lack a few key characteristics:

1. A Caesar is mellower. That horrible-sounding 'clam juice' manifests as a smooth, slightly brine-y background note that supports the cocktail's spices beautifully.

2. Caesars have a lighter texture than Bloody Marys due to the clam juice. You can drink a Caesar before brunch without feeling like you've just devoured your first course.

3. You can make a Caesar very, very spicy indeed. It's okay. In fact, it's preferred.

The only downside of Caesars is that you can't just spring them on your guests. (I'm a firm believer in the 'just try it before you say you don't like it' school of eating.) You always have to ask about shellfish allergies first, and of course as soon as people find out what the 'Cl' in 'Clamato' stands for, they start running before you've even started mixing.

Wimps.  ;-)

By the way, if there's anyone out there you can point me in the direction of a Clamato supplier in London, I'd be deeply grateful!

Miss J

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  • 4 months later...

So all this time I've been drinking "Caesars"?

Last night I served bloodies as appetizers before a dinner party.  Here's our procedure, and I am told I make the best damn bloody anywhere, and you can , too, if you're well stocked with spicy condiments:

1]  Rub glass [we often use British pub pint glasses :wink: ]rim with lime and roll rim in a plate of Lawry's Seasoned Salt, to coat thoroughly.

2]  Fill glass 2/3 full with ice and measure in a jigger of vodka--I actually make mine slightly weak.

3]  Here's where it gets fun.  I put all the condiments out and let guests mix their own.  Last night I put out Ecuadorian aji sauce, prepared horseradish, Worcestershire, Tate Farm cherry chipotle dipping sauce, and two miscellaneous bottles of fiery hot sauce [we have an extensive collection with names like "Road to hell" and "Ass-Burner."].

4]  Squeeze in a lime quarter and spear jalapeno- or garlic-stuffed olives on swizzle sticks [i like the Santa Barbara Olive Co olives best].

5]  Fill glass with Clamato and swizzle.  

6]  Drink.  Repeat.  Drink.  Repeat.

Miss J, good point about alerting drinkers with shellfish allergies--never occured to me.  But once I described the recipe to some ardent vegetarians, who shrieked, "Clamato?  Does it have CLAMS in it?"

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  • 1 month later...

The Canadians claim that some guy named Walter Chell invented the Caesar in Calgary.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Actually, now an expat Canadian living in Seattle... I've never ever had a bloody mary, only and always Caesars (well, aside from Martinis, and then there's always the cocktails). Actually used to just chug lots and lots of Clamato as a kid.

One of the times we went to McCormick & Schmick's in Seattle, the bartender did an excellent job of making a Caesar. Kudos to her. If you're ever in Seattle and want to drop by somewhere for a bite during Happy Hour, I recommend McCormick & Schmick's restaurants.

I figure that Clamato's Canadian in origin, but of course, the only other place I've seen it outside of Canada is the US (not that I've looked anywhere else ;)

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Someone recently put up a Billboard advertising Clamato in San Francisco, and the picture on the board looks like it's a Ceasar. I'd heard of the stuff for years, but never thought about trying it.

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I have been making Bloody Marys with Clamato for years. Never knew it had a name.

I make mine individually according to the guest's preference on heat etc.

(BTW my wife is allergic to clams, if she had one of these she would be sick all night, so I second the idea of alerting people to the presence of shell fish in their drink)

I put some ice in a glass

add vodka, Lea & Perrins, Tabasco and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Top off with Clamato, then sprinkle with Jane's Crazy Mixed up Salt.

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Jane's Crazy Mixed up Salt.

C, do you think Jane got rich off her salt? Haven't thought about it since I was a kid and we put it on deviled eggs. My mom used to put it in everything, but those were the 70s....

I used it on a lot of things as well. Its been a few years though now that I have become sodium aware(doesn't go well with blood pressure pills)

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  • 1 year later...

I dredged this thread up from the depths because I just discovered what (to me) is the best Caesar/Bloody Mary/Snapper type drink -- a gin base with Clamato. What was mentioned above is definitely true -- Clamato has a much lighter mouthfeel than regular tomato juice (or V8 which is even thicker). And for me, it goes with gin perfectly.

So, here's what I've been making:

Big shot of gin

Shake of Worchestershire

Shake of "Hot Lime" hot sauce

Shake of celery salt

Grind or two of pepper

Tiny bit of horseradish

Squeeze of lemon

Fill with Clamato

It's probably good with vodka too, but I generally have gin on hand, and rarely have vodka, so I haven't tried it yet.

And, since to my knowledge, the Caesar moniker applies to the clam element, and the Snapper name refers to the gin, I call this a Snappy Caesar. But I could be wrong about the Snapper part.

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Does anyone have a recipe for Clamato itself or know a source for the authentic canadian variety in NYC?

My gf went to McGill in Montreal and loves Caesars but we cannot find spicy clamato anywhere in NYC.

-MJR

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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Do you mean this stuff? I thought Clamato could be found in most grocery stores, no?

I don't think it's that common in parts of the USA. We have relatives in Rochester who make special trips across the border in the summer just to stock up on Clamato juice.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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