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Bloody Caesar

You’ve heard of a Bloody Mary, but have you met Mary’s cousin, Caesar? The Bloody Caesar is particularly popular in its country of origin (Canada) but those who have tried it can attest that it ought to have a wider following.


Where We Get the Bloody Caesar

This drink comes to us from Calgary, Alberta in Canada, and the great difference between this and a classic Bloody Mary is the inclusion of clam broth. It has a convoluted origin history, though.



In this year, Paul Pawlowski introduced a drink he called the Smirnoff Smiler at his club in New York. It was much like a Bloody Mary but included clam juice and Worcestershire sauce.



In this year, Charles Addams claimed to have invented something he called the Gravel Gertie, which combined vodka, clam juice, tomato juice, and Tabasco sauce.



In 1962, Carl La Marca started serving the Imperial Clam Digger at his hotel bar in Dallas. Basically, he took a Smirnoff Smiler and added a bit of lime and a basil garnish.


Things Get Fiesty

In 1968, the owner of Seagram’s vodka teamed up with the owner of Clamato clam and tomato juice, and together they claimed that, actually, they invented the Smirnoff Smiler, only they had called it the Clamdigger. They immediately filed a trademark on the name and started running recipes for it in national magazines.


Oh, Canada

Finally, we journey to the Great White North and the Calgary Inn, where, in 1969 Walter Chell finally put all the ingredients together for the first time (that we know of). He says that he loved eating clams in tomato sauce while visiting Venice and figured the same flavor profile would work in a spiced-up Bloody Mary. Because of the connection with Italy, and Chell’s heritage, it was christened the Caesar.


Recipe – How To Make It

Bloody Caesar

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword Brunch, Vodka
Total Time 4 minutes
Servings 1
Author My Bartender


  • 4 Oz Clamato
  • 2 Oz Vodka
  • 2 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Dashes Tobasco
  • Horseradish to Taste
  • Celery Salt Rim
  • Celery Stalk Garnish


  • You'll need a tall glass for this one.
  • First, rim it with celery salt.
  • Then fill it to the brim with ice.
  • Put all the other ingredients other than the garnish into a mixing glass and fill with ice.
  • Pour the drink and ice back and forth between two mixing glasses for a bit, and then strain into your prepared glass and add the garnish.
  • The horseradish is a very personal thing, so know your audience before you throw that in.


It also doesn’t hurt to throw in a half-ounce of lime juice and garnish with a lime wedge, if that appeals to you. Some people prefer to garnish their drink with something different, like pickled chili pepper, a slice of cooked bacon, a dill picked, or capers.


Spicy Variation

Caesar would have enjoyed that last visit to the Senate just a bit more if he’d had a couple of these in him. To make it spicy, make a rimming mixture of celery salt, garlic salt, smoked paprika, and chipotle chili powder. Use a bacon-flavored vodka and substitute chipotle pepper sauce for traditional Tabasco. Garnish with chili pepper.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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