Fifty years ago, history was made when an unassuming gentleman working in the Calgary Inn created a cocktail that has gone on to define our Canadian identity. Walter Chell found inspiration in his favourite dish of spaghetti and clams when he created this new cocktail by mixing similar ingredients into his drink. Thus was born The Caesar! More than a drink, but a cultural icon and totally embedded in our nation’s social customs — and our pride.
Today is National Caesar Day and to help celebrate, Canadian comedy legend and award-winning actor Dan Aykroyd of Ghostbusters fame has created a cocktail especially for this occasion. “I wanted Canadians to celebrate National Caesar Day with a recipe worthy of a 50th anniversary,” said Aykroyd, who’s been spreading the good word across the nation in a firetruck, visiting everyone from crossing guards to hockey coaches, caregivers to farmers and more. “After much trial and error, I was ready to gather a Caesar-tasting panel to sample my Golden Caesar. I called upon bona-fide Canadians Colin Mochrie from Whose Line is it Anyway?, Yannick Bisson from Murdoch Mysteries, (who also turns 50 on National Caesar Day) and the Caesar Heiress herself, Joan Chell, whose Dad invented the Caesar. And we all agreed — this recipe was the one!”
The Golden Caesar is made with red chilis, chipotle hot sauce, Cabernet Sauvignon, Canadian-made Crystal Head vodka, and the essential ingredient: Mott’s Clamato. It’s finished with a gold dust rim, rosemary dipped in golden powder, and a sparkler for some festive flair. Aykroyd is unveiling the recipe for National Caesar Day, an annual celebration that falls on the Thursday before the May long weekend — widely acknowledged as the unofficial kick-off to summer and patio season. Now in its fifth year, the 2019 celebrations will be particularly special as Canadians mark the milestone 50th anniversary.
Akroyd says “if you’re Canadian, you have a Caesar story.” A special commemorative book on stories based on the Caesar was recently printed. The Caesar. 50 Years. 50 Stories: Celebrating a Half-Century of Canada’s National Cocktail, featured heartfelt stories from Canadians across the nation.
Here’s my story — I created a special chicken wing sauce based on Aykroyd’s famous Caesar!
So raise a toast and enjoy your Caesar. You can’t get more Canadian than this!
For ideas on how to celebrate National Caesar Day and a list of venues celebrating across the country, please visit MottsClamato.com/nationalcaesarday. For a copy of the book, visit Caesarstore.ca.
According to award-winning celebrity chef, TV personality and cookbook author Robert Rainford, the National Caesar is the perfect drink to enjoy with any grilled dishes, and pairs well with beef tenderloin or bacon-wrapped chicken. Vegetable choices include green and yellow bean salad with a tangy vinaigrette.
CAESAR DAY FUN-FACTS:
- In 2009, the Caesar was officially declared “Canada’s official cocktail” by Parliament.
- If you ask for a Caesar in the U.S., odds are you may get a salad instead
- Over 400 million Mott’s Clamato Caesars are consumed by Canadians annually.
Dan Aykroyd’s Golden Caesar
Mott’s Clamato Rimmer mixed with edible gold powder (optional)
1/2 inch strip red chili pepper (mild or medium)
1.5 oz. Crystal Head Vodka
1.25 oz. Cabernet Sauvignon (Canadian brand)
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
4 dashes Tabasco Chipotle sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
5 oz. Mott’s Clamato Original
Rim glass with Mott’s Clamato Rimmer mixed with edible gold powder. Muddle red chili piece in bottom of glass. Add vodka, wine, lemon juice, and sauces. Fill glass with ice. Top with Mott’s Clamato Original and stir. Garnish with fresh rosemary and string bean (Matt & Steve’s Extreme Bean suggested). Skewer a small sparkler into a wedge of lemon and place on side of glass. Light sparkler outside before serving.
National Caesar Day Wings
I was so inspired by Dan Aykroyd’s Golden Caesar, I thought — we should eat this drink!
- 1 large fresh chili pepper, minced
- 1 tsp. (5 mL) cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. (5 mL) EACH salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) Crystal Head Vodka
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) Cabernet Sauvignon (Canadian brand)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 10 dashes Tabasco Chipotle sauce
- 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 4 cups (1 L) Mott’s Clamato Original
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) dried rosemary
- 2 tsp. (10 mL) cumin
- 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) EACH balsamic vinegar, honey and ketchup
- 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) EACH butter and olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) flour
- 1 lb. (500 g) meaty chicken wings
Blend all ingredients except butter, olive oil and flour. Divide in half. Place chicken wings in a large zipped plastic bag. Pour half of liquids into bag and seal. Place in fridge 4 hours, or overnight.
In a medium-size frypan, heat butter and olive oil. Sprinkle flour and mix into a roux. Carefully pour remainder of liquid and bring to a boil, drop heat and simmer until mixture reduces by half and thickens. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Remove chicken wings from fridge and drain away liquids. Place on a parchment-covered pan in single file. Brush thickened sauce over chicken wings until well coated. Cover with foil and bake in oven for one hour. Remove foil and continue to bake for 15 more minutes, turning wings periodically. Liquid should be reduced. Bring heat up to low broil, and broil wings additional 10 minutes. They should be nice and sticky. Remove from heat and enjoy.