The Canadian bloody mary: A Caesar for all seasons

Canada has given us the delights of maple syrup and Nanaimo bars, which is why we can forgive them for a certain floppy fringed teen pop star. It’s safe to say the northern nation has great taste in sweet treats, but how do they fare on the alcoholic beverage front? One of their most popular local drinks is the spicy Canadian Bloody Mary, also known as the Caesar (with more of a bite than a brutal end, we hope), which takes the traditional Bloody Mary to new levels of cocktail glory.


The Caesar was created in 1969 by a restaurant manager in Calgary, Walter Chell, who, inspired by an Italian spaghetti dish, thought it would be a good idea to throw some clam juice into a cocktail. Unconventional? Sure. Delicious? Surprisingly so. If you’re not quite convinced, give it a whirl (no blender necessary) and see for yourself.

If you’d prefer to stick to a plain Bloody Mary, leave out steps 1 and 2, and start with step 3, omitting the mussel juice mixture.


Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 8 minutes | Serves: 4

300g mussels or clams (optional)
700ml tomato juice
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Celery salt
4 shots of vodka
4 celery sticks


1. Bring a small pot of water (about 1 cup) to the boil. Pop in the mussels. Steam for 6–8 minutes until the mussels are cooked through and have opened. Remove and drain the juice into a measuring jug. Set the mussels aside for snacks later.
2. Strain the juice through muslin cloth or a fine sieve into a jug. Measure the juice and add enough water to make 200ml.
3. Combine and stir through the juice mixture and the tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco.
4. Pour the celery salt onto a small plate. Wet the rims of 4 tall cocktail glasses, then dip into the salt to line the rim.
5. Fill each glass with ice. Pour a tot of vodka into each glass, top up with the tomato and mussel juice blend, and serve with celery sticks.


Although it’s debatable as to whether Bloody Marys, Canadian or not, live up to their reputation as a hangover cure, these savoury drinks are great as a brunch beverage, or simply as an evening treat while relaxing under the setting sun. Thanks, Canada.