Bloody Caesar.

I made a Bloody Caesar. For the uninitiated, that’s essentially a Bloody Mary, but with Clamato replacing tomato juice. (Don’t run.)

I’ve been inching my way towards this for years. While on a business trip in Toronto (in 2005, I think), some colleagues who became fast friends introduced me to the Caesar. At that point, I had no idea that it was such a thing in Canada. Boy, did I see the proof. Everyone at that bar seemed to be drinking them, and even if I played it safe with a Bloody Mary, I had to admit that their cocktails looked good. Maybe I’d been too hard on Clamato?

Actually, I’d been way too hard on Clamato. If you don’t know, Clamato is tomato juice with a hint of clam, but I have to stress the “hint” part. Clam broth is near the bottom of the ingredients list, and really, you’d never guess “clams” on a blind taste test. Clamato is also loaded with corn syrup, so if anything, it tastes more like a V8 Splash. It’s much sweeter, more watery and way less acidic than tomato juice, and while I wouldn’t say that I prefer it, there’s nothing at all gross about it.

And it does make for a much different cocktail than a Bloody Mary. It’s smoother, lighter, and I can see how those crazy Canucks drink it so often. (I love a good Bloody Mary, but they’re far too heavy to drink at the start of a long night out. It’s like getting to the bar and kicking things off with tomato soup.)

Like its less-clammy cousin, there are a thousand ways to make a Caesar. A thousand and one if you count the bastardized version that I came up with. Aside from vodka and Clamato, there’s Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, spices and some lemon juice. (You’d more traditionally use limes, but we had none left. Fortunately, every kitchen has a lemon in it somewhere, no matter how much you’re convinced that yours doesn’t.)

I rimmed the glass with a seasoned salt-and-pepper mix, though celery salt would’ve been more appropriate. The good thing with a cocktail like this is that you can write off all the mistakes as clever “variations.”

It’s taken me a while, but I’m finally ready to stop treating Clamato like a monstrosity deserving of scorn. It’s completely fine, and from what I see, it mixes well with lots of stuff: Vodka, tequila, even beer. There are no cultural taboos at play. If you’re looking for something new to try, I wholehearted recommend this vodka-slash-tomato-slash-clam mutant drink. After all, nothing that calls for celery garnish is ever all bad.

44 Responses to Bloody Caesar.

  1. Put a splash of red wine on top of a regular Caesar.

    You’re welcome.

  2. I came prepared for those misgivings!

    *grabs Clamato bottle*

    The only clammy thing in it is “dried clam broth,” which I’d imagine are not unlike bouillon cubes. And practically everything else is in it in much larger quantities, to the point where the clam thing seems more like a novelty than an actual flavor agent. Clamato is much more like “tomato juice mixed with syrup and spices” than “tomato juice mixed with clams.” Trust me!

  3. @Zorbs: That sounds…good!!

  4. Unf, now I want it to be summertime so I can drink Caesars a plenty. They taste better on bar patios for some reason.

  5. I’d love to try this but I am really not a fan of tomato juice outside of a tomato. Yeah, I drank meat-infused alcohol and its tomato juice that throws me off. That and I doubt I’d find clamato anywhere nearby.

  6. @Matt.

    I’ve noticed that while your articles have increased in their quality, diversity and enjoy-ability for the new site, the number of comments you receive just don’t seem to match what you got at the old site.

    Perhaps you should throw a big obnoxious ‘we moved’ sign on the front page of the old site. You should also send FARK a couple of cases of beer so that they’ll highlight more of your work.

    Just a couple of random suggestions I though I’d throw in the hat.

  7. I enjoy Clamato straight from the bottle! it is good stuff! I also enjoy the occasional Chelada!…..Mexican, you may ask? no sir, I am as white as can be!! I just enjoy savory flavors, and Clamato fits that bill! I will admit it needs to be as cold as your ex girlfriends heart to really enjoy and consider refreshing! @Matt,try a pinch of Horse radish in your next bloody! thank me later.

  8. When I lived in N Idaho we used to drink “red beers” to recover from the night before. It’s clamato mixed with bud light. Sounds terrible until you try one. Also, after a few your fingers turn into sausages from the sodium.

  9. FARK! Now there’s a name I’ve not heard in a while. And, in visiting FARK for the first time in years, I learn the sad news that apparently the CEO of the Tabasco company has died, making the Bloody Caesar an almost spookily fitting tribute!

  10. @Shawn: Thanks! But I’m fine with it. It’s not really a numbers thing, just a comments thing. It’s better for that to happen organically. (To this end, upgrading the comments interface pretty soon since the current setup is kinda obsolete.)

    @Bill: I used to be appalled by the beer/tomato and beer/Clamato mixes, but you’re right, they ain’t bad.

    @ZombieRot: I do add horseradish to my Bloody Marys — wasn’t sure if they’d translate well into the Caesar.

  11. I don’t drink, not because I’m opposed to it or anything, but because I have an addictive personality and I don’t want to become an alcoholic. That being said, I’ve thought about trying various drinks at one point or another, but you can bet your bottom dollar that if I ever do, it won’t be a drink that includes tomato juice or anything in that vein. *shudder*

    Also, more power to you, Matt, but the seasoned-salt-and-pepper around the rim just makes it look even more shudder-worthy.

  12. Oooh, that looks so good. I’ve been a huge fan of Bloody Caesars for years now, but I haven’t taken the time to put any together in a while. Now that it’s getting towards patio weather, though… And those photos are making me thirstier. Guess I should start getting ready for another trip to the liquor store.

  13. That first photo is so attractive. Such a nice shade of red, and I like the seasoned salt/pepper on the rim. If I ever get over my dislike of vodka, I’m so trying one of these.

  14. “dried clam broth”.
    Christ, I almost feel like I’m in the Velda Sneer thread again.

    I’m open to trying pretty much anything food/drink-wise, but I do suspect this one wouldn’t be cracking my favorite mixed drinks list anytime soon. A well-made Bloody Mary is alright in my book, so I can’t see myself actually hating it’s Caesar variant, but the whole “dried clam broth and corn syrup” factor does seem a bit off-putting. Not the clams in general, just the weirdness of Clamato itself. Maybe if I happened to make some sort of clam dish and reserved some of the broth for Caesars I could end up with something that sounded more like I’d want to shout its praises from the rooftops. Mostly, I’m just a dick about using mixes for drinks, as it seems like they invariably turn out a bit too sweet or artificial-tasting for me no matter what the mix happens to be.

    “FARK! Now there’s a name I’ve not heard in a while”cai
    Yeah, I remember back in the day when I was just a casual X-E’er occasionally lurking in the background that around half of the time, Fark was the way I found out if cool stuff was going on over there. Used to waste all sorts of time over at that place in the pre-TotalFark days when things were a lot smaller and the comments sections weren’t so much of a giant clusterfuck. I think I was user #8,000-something, and according to Wikipedia, they’ve got over half a million registered users now (holy shit), so I guess it’s no wonder that it stopped feeling so “community” like for me a long time ago. That—and the overall tone of the place seeming to to shift a bit to the right over the years—led to me rarely even remembering that the place still exists.

  15. As a Canadian who used to be a bartender for years, I find it hard to believe that this drink hasn’t migrated south more. It’s so mainstream here. It’s like they don’t even try to market them in the US.

  16. It seems a more appropriate garnish would be an opened steam clam on the side of the glass. Pull the meat out, drop it in, and you’ll have a chewy treat when you finish your drink.

  17. Matt, I’m dying to come over and refinish that picnic table.

  18. …or deck, whatever.

  19. “… upgrading the comments interface pretty soon since the current setup is kinda obsolete.”Matt

    And increasingly buggy. Sure, it’s been occasionally doing the disappearing comments trick off-and-on for a while now, but it seems like it’s gone crazy with it in the past few days. Cache-clearing fixes it only temporarily; it’ll usually go right back to playing hide-the-post on the next page refresh. Did anything change here recently (i.e. within the span of the past three articles) that could be a potential culprit? And for that matter, is anyone else experiencing this issue as frequently?

  20. Yes, the comments here disappear and reappear every time I come. I thought it was just me.

  21. Yeah, the comments do wacky stuff constantly for me this past week. If I shift-refresh the page, it usually fixes it for a minute, but it’s pretty messed up. It also doesn’t save my name/email/website anymore, so I have to type it in every time. Database problems?

  22. I thought you guys were nuts re: the loading issue but it’s happening to me too now. I’ve added it to Cliff’s fix-it list so hopefully he can figure out why. (My guess would be a plug-in, but there really aren’t any that would cause such a thing.)

  23. And it’s not only comments, but occasionally entire articles now. I had to make my way back here from the facebook link, as this one had dropped off and the most recent thing showing up on the homepage was the sardine tin.

  24. So annoying! I will get to the bottom of it. Fortunately, whatever that is, it’s fixable.

    I’m also looking at a slightly modified design which should roll out at the same time. It’s not much different (you might not even notice immediately) but I think it helps a lot.

  25. At the risk of being unnecessarily repetitive, I’ve had the exact same problems everyone else has mentioned. Big chunks of comments disappear, as well as the most recent post in its entirety. Clearing the cache will bring it back sometimes, but only temporarily. The last week has been worse than ever, but so far tonight, everything seems to be loading. Although, since I haven’t looked at the site all weekend, if I am missing comments right now, I’d really have no way of knowing it.

    In other news, I just got in from spending the weekend in Charleston for a family reunion. It was absolutely fantastic. It mostly took place in a banquet hall at a ritzy country club and was full of relatives who flew in from California, Florida, and Michigan. I got to meet my Aunt Hannalore from Germany and she was cool as hell. I have a standing invitation to visit my other aunt in Berlin now any time I want, that is if I can ever get the time off from work and can actually save enough money to go out there.

    My great uncle Thomas, who I met for the first time ever, put together an amazing family tree book that got passed out to some of the eldest members of the family, which included a page devoted to each person in the family. My cousin Bergen works for the company that printed it and it’s so fancy that it actually costs $100 a pop, so they couldn’t afford to give one to everyone. I didn’t get one, but my dad did, so I can’t wait to read his. Bergen said the rest of us can always get one later if we don’t mind coughing up the $100.

  26. It’s almost assuredly due to a plugin or something, though I need Cliff (coder extraordinaire) to lend his expertise.

    Glad you had fun! I thought reunions only happened in TV movies!

  27. I’m with Teddy Ray. Nice idea, but I prefer my clams either in soup or steamed or Casino and my tomatoes sliced or in soup. And I don’t drink, either. I tried in college. My head didn’t like it.

  28. I can’t dock you points because nobody brings up Clams Casino anymore and I’m glad to be reminded of them.

  29. Don’t let your guard down, Clamato bud light is vomitous poison. You’ve been warned.

  30. I must say the first shot of the Bloody Caesar against the weather beaten deck makes for a really nice picture. That being said I wouldn’t touch Clamato with a ten-meter cattle prod. :)

  31. I have always despised Clamato because I have never been a fan of too much from the sea. I have no basis for not liking it, since I have never tried it. In the past few years, I have found myself willing to try things I didn’t like before, or things I thought I wouldn’t like. And now I find myself actually thinking I would like to give the above a whirl. Maybe this happens to all soon-to-be 34 year olds. :)

    The comments only come up wacky, when I want to go back a page(to read older comments). It hasn’t happened in the past few days though. The weird thing is that for the “Leave a Reply” section, has “Name” and “*Email*” right next to each other and “Website” below.

  32. Also clams casino is just an awesome sounding name for anything. The name has mesmerized me for decades. I’m sure if I knew exactly what it was, I probably wouldn’t like it, but it just sounds very cool.

  33. A couple years ago (actually more like 5 or 6), Budweiser put out a tall boy that was Bud with clamato juice. I saw it at my local convenience store and my curiosity was peaked. Perhaps my more mature and refined tastes would enjoy it now, but at the time it tasted like hangover vomit aftertaste. And it was no normal can, it was a tall boy. I could only finish about half of it before I poured the rest down the drain. It was, however, less gross than Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr Pepper.

  34. They used to sell a thing called a “Red Eye” in Canada. A mix of Clamato and Molson. You can still order the beer/Clamato mix at bars, of course. And it’s good if the beer is good.

    In the U.S., you can get it in cans as a Chelada, with Budweiser or Bud Light. I prefer it with a darker, more solid beer, personally. But it’s good.

  35. In regards to the comment disappearing, next time it happens can you check the URL?

    What I’ve noticed when it’s happened to me is because I’ve been redirected to either an individual comment or to a certain point in the thread and none after – the URL then either reflects the comment number or shows an array.

  36. Greek from a Brit — I can dig it.

  37. @Matt Hmm, “Next time the site gives you an ‘uh oh’ look at the big white bar at the tippity-top of the screen”, better?

  38. Yes! Thank you. :) I actually didn’t even know that you could be directed to a specific comment.

    I’m just hoping it’s not the related posts plug-in. I like that one. :(

  39. Typically it’s usually a template error causing the conflict, a missing line or something. I know the template ‘Mystique’ had a bug with the Related Posts plugin down to doing things in the wrong order.

  40. Could be it. It’s possible that I mangled a line at some point. I have noticed that it’s happened on the main page too, which would make the likely culprits one of the sidebar widgets. I’ll kill them in a little bit and see if it fixes it. Problem is, it’s hard to know, since the issue isn’t constant.

  41. I will try this. As God is my witness I will try this!

  42. That honestly looks more like gold glitter.

  43. @Matt

    Just to add to the discussion about the site problems, I check this site everyday, usually several times a day. Until today, the last article I saw was the Gremlins one. Imagine my shock when there were five articles that suddenly showed up.

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