The Bloody Caesar Cocktail Turns 40

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Developed in 1969 by a Calgary bartender, Canada's extremely popular Caesar cocktail, also known as the Bloody Caesar, turns 40 years old and is now the closest thing to Canada's national drink.

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It has been 40 years since Walter Chell, bartender at the Owl's Nest Bar in the Calgary Inn (now the Calgary Westin Hotel), in Calgary Alberta, invented the Caesar cocktail to celebrate the opening of a new restaurant called Marco's. The original Caesar cocktail recipe was similar to the already popular Bloody Mary cocktail, with one major exception - clam juice instead of the tomato sauce. A traditional Bloody Mary is made with tomato juice, vodka, Tabasco Sauce, Worchester Sauce, limejuice and seasonings. It is served in a salt-rimmed glass and garnished with a celery stick and lime wedge. Walter Chell changed the Bloody Mary cocktail into a Caesar with the addition of mashed clams blended into the tomato juice.

In the United States, a cocktail that is very similar to the Caesar is called a Clamdigger. Both recipes utilize Tabasco Sauce as a main ingredient. Tabasco Sauce is a legendary pepper sauce created in 1868 by Edmund McIlhenny in Louisiana. To produce Tabasco, the peppers are mashed with salt and are fermented in white oak barrels for up to three years. The mash is then blended with vinegar, with the skins and seeds strained out. The final steps remain a family secret. Every batch is still approved by a member of the McIlhenny family, before being prepared for market. The fiery hot sauce is shipped to over 160 countries worldwide. Following a year's pepper crop, the McIlhennys personally select the best plants for use in the next planting. Seeds are stored in a bank vault as a precaution against any potential disaster that might affect future crop production.

Over the years, the Caesar cocktail has remained Canada's top selling alcoholic cocktail beverage, out selling all others by a wide margin. It has been estimated that over 250 million Caesars are sold each year just in Canada. That is the equivalent of more than 14 times the weight of all the gold produced across the globe in 2001. Today, the Caesar cocktail, a uniquely Canadian invention, is becoming increasingly well known outside of the North American market.

"We are excited that the Caesar cocktail is celebrating its 40th anniversary in Canada," states Colin Glaysher, Executive VP of C.B. Powell Limited (, a Canadian food product importer, distributor, and brand management company. "A key ingredient in a Caesar cocktail is Tabasco Sauce. Tabasco Sauce is the oldest brand in our company's portfolio. It's been over 50 years since C.B. Powell first launched Tabasco Sauce into the Canadian marketplace. Tabasco Sauce is the most recognized brand and most popular hot pepper sauce in the world and continues to grow and prosper. Tabasco is so well known, it has become the generic term to describe all hot sauces as BandAid brand to describe adhesive bandages and Kleenex brand for facial tissues. We have successfully managed this international brand for years and have secured the Tabasco Sauce brand as a staple in many Canadian households. Without Tabasco Sauce, a Caesar cocktail just wouldn't be the same," adds Glaysher.

Whether called a Bloody Caesar, a Canadian Caesar or a Salted Caesar, Canada's most popular cocktail shows no signs of giving up its number one spot. The Caesar cocktail will most likely be around for another 40 years.

About C.B. Powell Limited:
With over 60 years in the Canadian food industry, CB Powell is an importer and brand marketer of many well-known retail food products, such as Stagg Chili, SPAM, Blue Diamond Almonds, Patak's, Angostura Bitters and Tabasco. CB Powell offers Canadian brand marketing and distribution management services for the food industry, including customs clearance, brand label development, regulatory approvals, order management and warehousing services. If you have a brand that you would like to successfully market in Canada, call C.B. Powell Limited toll-free: 1-800-769-2750 or visit the web site:


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Colin Glaysher – Executive VP
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