Where do you like to go for your favourite Caesar? Is there a bar or restaurant that really shines in your town or city?
Born from an Italian restaurant in Calgary in 1969, the Caesar cocktail exploded across the country, and eventually became our national cocktail. From coast to coast the uniquely Canadian Caesar is beloved everywhere within our borders. If you’re ever planning a cross-country road trip, you’re sure to be able to find a delicious Caesar in just about any bar in any province. That said, there are few places that do Caesars just a little bit better than others.
Here’s a round up of the best Caesars to be found across our great land, starting with the east coast:
Atlantic Canada is known for its lively spirit and unparalleled seafood, so the high quality of the Caesars in our eastern provinces is hardly surprising.
St. John's, Newfoundland - The Merchant Tavern
Newfoundland is known for its seafood, so you’re going to get a remarkably fresh taste of that with the Caesar at The Merchant Tavern. Their Caesar only looks traditional at first, until you notice the fresh Eel Lake oyster sitting on top of it! Now that’s a taste of the sea!
Halifax, Nova Scotia - Durty Nelly’s
One of the main reasons why Durty Nelly’s is on this list is because of the insane variety of Caesars on offer at their establishment. There are so many that you probably won’t be able to get through them all in one night, although we suspect many have tried.
The rivalry between Toronto and Montreal is legendary, and so is the quality of the cocktails. Whether you speak english or français, I think we can all agree that the Caesar is something Canadian that transcends hockey and cultural rivalries.
Montreal, Quebec - L’Gros Luxe
Have you ever thought, “Well, I have time for a drink or a bite to eat, but not for both.” That isn’t a problem for those who go to L’Gros Luxe for a Caesar. You think bacon is a garnish? Pffbt! How about a hamburger and fries? Or onion rings? Or a grilled cheese sandwich? Who needs a plate for your meal when you can have it on top of a delicious Caesar?
Toronto, Ontario - The Drake Hotel
Look, as much fun as having a feast as a garnish on top of your Caesar can be, sometimes you just want simplicity and perfection. That’s what you’ll find at The Drake Hotel in Toronto. They use fresh horseradish and a secret hot sauce to give it an extra kick that will have you reaching for a glass of water… and then immediately reaching back for this superb Caesar.
The Canadian Prairies might be notoriously flat, but there is nothing flat about the flavour of these Caesars! The middle of our country mixes up some delicious Caesar cocktails, and here are three of the best.
Winnipeg, Manitoba - State & Main Bar
One of the nominees of this year’s “Best Caesar in Town” competition held by Mott’s Clamato Juice, the Caesar at the State & Main Kitchen and Bar is called the “Julius Caesar”. Although it has all of the usual ingredients, this version includes the additions of a bit of honey, a tablespoon of garlic powder, and a touch of parmesan cheese… but we’re not done yet! This Caesar has extensive garnishes, including a romaine leaf, bacon strip, chicken finger, parmesan cheese stick, breadstick, and lemon wedge. That’s basically a meal in a glass!
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Lucky Bastard Distillery
Dill pickles make for fantastic garnishes to go along with a Caesar. At the Lucky Bastard Distillery, they go the extra mile and use their handcrafted dill pickle vodka! Whoa! Not only that, you will get a delicious rim of bacon to give it that extra smokey, salty, goodness.
Calgary, Alberta - The Westin Calgary
And here is where it all started. Calgary is where the inventor of the Caesar, Walter Chell, first created the original recipe for his famous drink. Although it was called the Calgary Inn at the time, it’s now called the Westin Calgary and here you can get a completely traditional Caesar, just the way that Mr. Chell made his.
THE WEST COAST
If you’re enjoying the Pacific Ocean, you will definitely want to stop into these bars and check out these delicious variations on the Caesar. Any further west and you’d be heading to Hawaii, where there are tragically no Caesar cocktails. (It is nice and warm, though.)
Vancouver, BC - Timber
At Timber, you will find an entire section of the menu dedicated to the Caesar, with five different variations of the cocktail. You can get a classic version, an extra spicy version, or even one that uses maple whiskey! Instead of using the traditional Mott’s Clamato juice as a mixer, they use a clam/tomato juice by a Canadian company called Walter Craft Caesar Mix.
Victoria, BC - Jam Cafe
What to do after a Saturday night out partying in Victoria? Go to the Jam Cafe for a delicious breakfast or brunch! If you believe that a Caesar is the best hangover cure, you’re going to want to try Jam Cafe’s Bacon Bourbon Caesar, with its incredible sugar-cured bacon garnish!