Clamato, Canada, Caesar Cocktail
January 1, 2004 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Hangover Heaven By The Sea: In 1969, Canadian Montenegran Walter Chell invented the Caesar Cocktail as the perfect reflection of (and introduction to) Italian food, by mixing tomato juice, clam juice and oregano with Brazilian lime juice and Russian vodka. Canada, Montenegro, Italy, Russia, Brazil, California: is this the perfect multi-ethnic hangover-buster or what? [More inside.]
posted by MiguelCardoso (27 comments total)
A few months later, in distant California, Clamato was invented. The inevitable happened. Like gin and tonic, it was a marriage made in heaven and soon became the Canadian cocktail par excellence. Although often derided as a seafood-inflected Bloody Mary, it's a lovely all-day drink in its own right and it remains a mystery why it's never been as popular elsewhere.

N.B. Before Mott's Canadian-made Clamato became available in Portugal, it was made with real clam and tomato juice (rather than the 1% dry clam powder and watered 25% tomato puree confessed to on the label), with a sprinkling of dried oregano and basil. Funnily enough, these all-natural Caesars were never as good as the ones made with industrial Clamato. Go figure. Have they sneaked some E in there as well? After all, Canadians are often much brighter than we think. *giggle* Now I'm even beginning to wonder what their website's recipe for Caldo Verde, Portugal's most traditional soup, tastes like...

Happy New Year! My first resolution is to drink a great deal more of these.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:10 AM on January 1, 2004

hmmm, this would go well with a lard omlet.

why Brazilian lime juice?

I think this is good stuff.

Key lime, Brazilian?

the myth exposed here in:
'The Citrus Trail'
also some
International citrtis Links
posted by clavdivs at 9:29 AM on January 1, 2004

the Britney connection
posted by clavdivs at 9:42 AM on January 1, 2004

For the full multi-ethnic flavour, add the English connection (Lea and Perrin's Worcestershire sauce), the Jewish connection (Gold's horseradish sauce) and, of course, the Tennessee connection (Tabasco sauce). Even though these should be added in minute quantities, much less than what a Bloody Mary would require. If at all - controversy abounds and purists hate anything that obscures the essential, delicate clam flavour. (And don't even think of smuggling in some Thai nam plaa fish sauce to make up for it. I did it once and it still comes back to me in the darkest night).
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:43 AM on January 1, 2004

ok, now i'm hungover AND gagging...thanks a lot! ; >
posted by amberglow at 9:45 AM on January 1, 2004

But, amberglow, it's the gagging that cures!

Are you having me on, clavdivs? Because, if you are, I'm delighted. Where is owillis these days, anyway? :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:47 AM on January 1, 2004

Clam juice?

posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:10 AM on January 1, 2004

Clam juice?

But it is really, really, very delicious, especially as 'Clamato'.

For the full multi-ethnic flavour, add the English connection (Lea and Perrin's Worcestershire sauce), the Jewish connection (Gold's horseradish sauce) and, of course, the Tennessee connection (Tabasco sauce).

I am quite fond of ground horseradish, but the same amount of fresh wasabi, is excellent but too pricey and hard to find; well worth it if cost is no object. The inexpensive tube kind is good too. It lights the drink up like a Christmas tree.

If you like a little more fiesty refreshment, try spicy V8, fresh ground black pepper, and a gererous sprinkling of Old Bay, plus, of course, the Tabasco horseradish, and Worchesteshire sauce.

As an alternate to a celery stalk, try a Harry & David pickled hot and spicy bean, which does not seem to be on their website yet, but it's is in my drink, as I happen to have got up and made one during the course of this post, and am enjoying it immensely.

I was just thinking of making a New Year's resolution very similar to MiguelCardoso's.
posted by hama7 at 1:05 PM on January 1, 2004

A dash of Worcestershire sauce, and a lot of tabasco - that's how I like mine. My dad like to add a bit of pickle juice. He used to moonlight as a bartender when he was in the military and makes the best caesars I've had.

Seriously, you all that are gagging and shuddering should try them. But get it made by someone who knows how - it's very easy, as Miguel points out, to screw it up and get a less than completely appetizing result.

And yes, caesars are the ultimate hangover drink. Trust me on this.
posted by alex_reno at 1:09 PM on January 1, 2004

I had quit smoking for three months, and to celebrate me and a bunch of folks were drinking Caesars out of pint glasses, with three ounces of vodka per drink.
My recipe:
  1. celery salt on the rim
  2. fill up glass with ice
  3. toss in a pinch of celery salt, regular salt, and pepper
  4. a dash or two (or to taste) each of worcester and tabasco
  5. vodka
  6. clamato
  7. spicy bean or celery stalk or anything else that is handy
  8. repeat
Needless to say, I resumed smoking that evening. I finally quit for good about 15 years later.

Adding horseradish seems like a good idea. I'll give it a try.

For those squeamish types out there who think that Clamato is disgusting, I ask you to try it before you hate it. It's surprisingly delicious.
posted by ashbury at 1:30 PM on January 1, 2004

I think you have to be Portuguese to make Caldo Verde properly.

My Newfie girlfriend keeps trying, but can't seem to make any of the traditional Portuguese dishes. Probably doesn't help that I keep saying things like "this doesn't taste like my mother's Caldo Verde."

Thanks for the Clamato Caldo Verde link, though, Miguel, I'll give her that.
posted by MiG at 2:29 PM on January 1, 2004

Hey MiG! Viva!

Newfies are great cooks but even they can't get round the fact that, whatever recipes say, the Galician cabbage required is not, but not at all similar to Swiss kale.

Caldo Verde is actually the easiest soup in the world to make. You need very fresh, finely sliced couve galega (only a machine or a very old cook with a very sharp knife will do); old, waxy potatoes (boiled with their peel and only after peeled and mashed); a good extra-virgin Portuguese olive oil and - if you like - a bit of chouriço or salpicão and a slice of broa.

Boil and mash the potatoes. In the water they cooked in, add the very finely shredded cabbage and olive oil for no more than two minutes, simmering rather than boiling. Cover and leave for another five minutes. In each bowl, put a sliced of chouriço. Pour the hot Caldo Verde onto the sausage. Have a side plate with the broa (whole corn bread).

Bear in mind, as you well know, that neither the chouriço or broa are necessary. Caldo Verde is an instant soup consisting of couve galega, potato puree and olive oil.

Here's an American recipe which comes close. The best strategy, however, is to grow the couve galega yourself - it's ideal for cold climates - and take it from there.

P.S. I've sent you a separate e-mail with more intimate details. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:02 PM on January 1, 2004

the Tennessee connection (Tabasco sauce)

If by "Tennessee" you mean "Louisiana", then yes.
The home of world-famous TABASCO® Sauce, Avery Island lies about 140 miles west of New Orleans. It's one of five salt dome islands rising above the flat Louisiana Gulf coast.

posted by jewishbuddha at 3:09 PM on January 1, 2004

ashbury has obviously been copying my family recipe.

One of the banes of my wandering existence has been the absence of clamato from shelves around the world, and the corresponding absence of Caesars. Deeply saddening.

To make it worse, it's almost impossible here in Korea to even buy bog-standard tomato juice that hasn't been sweeted until it's reminiscent of red OJ, making it totally unsuitable for delicious cocktailery. Oh, woe. Woe and mourning.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:16 PM on January 1, 2004

Avery Island is an excellent place to add to anyone's travel itinerary (looks pointedly at Miguel). Beautiful swampy gardens. And Tabasco.

The Caesar Cocktail sounds utterly repulsive, but I'd try it once.
posted by rushmc at 3:23 PM on January 1, 2004

jewishbuddha and rushmc: I'm so embarrassed. You're quite right. I must have been thinking of... Jack Daniel's sipping sour mash? Can you forgive me?

Tabasco, to me, is the supreme example of a universal condiment, available everywhere in the world at a ridiculously low price and yet properly matured in oak barrels by the same outstanding McIlhenny family. Here in Portugal the green variety is almost as popular as the red.

Louisiana it is. Tennessee is just, playwrights and Jack Daniel's apart, a cute name, right? :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:29 PM on January 1, 2004

Tennessee is just, playwrights and Jack Daniel's apart, a cute name, right?

There's more to Tennessee, but there's also more about good old Tennessee Whiskey.
posted by hama7 at 5:30 PM on January 1, 2004

posted by clavdivs at 8:30 PM on January 1, 2004

I wondered if and when you were going to discover my hometown's greatest non-cowboy-related export, Miguel. Good stuff!

And for my money, a generous dash of Tobasco (or the spicy Clamato) and a little Worcestershire are essential, as is a rim encrusted with celery salt.

and I'm ashamed to admit I always thought it was Caesar's Steakhouse and not the Westin that was the birthplace of the Caesar.
posted by arto at 10:48 PM on January 1, 2004

How does one juice a clam anyway?
posted by bifter at 4:20 AM on January 2, 2004

Bifter: when clams open, i.e. die, usually steamed, they release their delicious water. It takes about a minute over a hot flame. This broth is the basis for many fine dishes. Same goes for mussels.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:52 AM on January 2, 2004

For God's sake man, have you never heard of a rhetorical question? ;-)

I may be British, but I can tell a whelk from a gooseneck barnacle... :-p
posted by bifter at 6:23 AM on January 2, 2004

How dare you talk this way to a man who was brought up on jellied eels, whelks and skate and chips, not to mention push-the-penny machines and anti-orthodontic rock, from England's direst piers? :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:26 AM on January 2, 2004

Hehe! It's true as well! I lived in Southend for 10 years and have balked in disgust at more plates of boiled cockles with malt vinegar than I care to remember.

I love fitting caricatures to a tee!
posted by bifter at 8:00 AM on January 2, 2004

Southend! I've been to Southend and had cockles there - I loved 'em to bits. Southend in the winter - beautiful. The mussels were good too. I was 12 or thereabouts and I distinctly remember thinking that the Irish Molly Malone thing I learnt at school ("singing cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh") wasn't as Irish as all that.

I must mention, at this stage, (*cue John Major voice, lipless mouth*) this is my four-hundredth post to MetaFilter, besting even Steve Den Beste and only 477 posts away from Matt himself. Have you no respect?

I was toying with the idea of posting a question on AskMe to trap you, same as you trapped me. I wonder whether you would have fallen, bifter...

Something along the lines of:

"An English friend of mine has invited me to dinner, to feast on something called "whelks" which he's just brought back from his hometown of Bournemouth. I've googled and all I've got is this disgusting-looking sea-shell. Does anyone know what they are and what they taste like?"
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:15 AM on January 2, 2004

Well, as any real foodie would have known, the thing to eat in Southend is winkles (don't forget your pin!)

Mussels? Feh - tourist! ;-)

I think my reply to your askme thread would have gone something like this:

"Well, as any true foodie would have known, the thing to eat in Bournemouth is winkles (don't forget your pin!)

Whelks? Feh - tourist!"

In other words, yes, you would have had me stitched up like a kipper... trolled me like a Portugeuse fishing fleet in British territorial waters... etc [insert favourite piscine-pun here]

PS happy 400th post!
posted by bifter at 9:21 AM on January 2, 2004

it is the new year
and i have resolved to be nice and well....
I remember, yet have tried to find the thread in which multiculturalism became the topic. I prattled off some things just in my sight or what was for dinner, hoping to give a micro counter example to this supposed american product/image hegemony or what have you.
Holgate responded with something totally british like

"Thanks clavdivs, that makes me think about the History of the Lemon "

now that is funny. well he is gone, i'm still (here) and have posted at least part of the history and distribution of the Lime.
who can replace Owilla the Hut
like replacing Quonset the Hut
or Miguelock The Hut or Troutis the Hut or Hama the Hut or
Chin the Hut

(names used with affection and as an example of Hut status conferred upon said perceived members is totally my own deluded idea and have no bearing on any future plans, plots, machinations involving money, or other wise construed gifts for said non bribe zones contained upon outer metazone felix proper)
posted by clavdivs at 12:43 PM on January 4, 2004

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