The clam-based, tomato juice cocktail made with equal parts booze and Canadian
pride is a treasure of the true north strong and free. Many bar stool debates have been had regarding this potion’s perfect blend of spices, giving way to some incredibly creative concoctions and a mastery of this great refreshment. Whether you’re in search of a brunch beverage that will soothe a morning after headache or are craving a flavourful drink you can sip on at happy hour, try one of these ten places in Toronto for an awesome Caesar.
Bar, Restaurant, Canadian, $$$
This notorious Caesar transforms the classic Canadian hangover helper into a classy cure-all. By stuffing a luscious lobster tail into the archetypal mix and swapping bar rail for Kettle One vodka, the good peeps at Rock Lobster allow day drinkers to remove their dark sunglasses and rock bed-head without shame. You will look fancy as heck while you swirl together the perfect balance of steak spice, Worcestershire, Tabasco and Clamato with not simply a limp piece of celery or minuscule olive trio, but a freakin’ LOBSTER TAIL.
Rock Lobster, 538 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 203 6623
The Harrisa Caesar at Tabülè is loaded with rich flavours of the Middle East. Rimmed with aromatic sumac and herbaceous za’atar, the delicious cocktail packs a big punch into a short glass. For $11 you can guzzle 1.5 ounces of Absolute vodka, Walter all-natural craft Caesar mix, fresh basil and tangy lime juice all pulled together perfectly with the addition of harrisa. Complex seasonings upgrade this classic brunch cocktail to something that’s suitable for morning, noon or night.
Tabülè, 2009 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 483 3747
Tabülè, 810 Queen St E, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 465 2500
The Federal has a serious selection of cocktails suitable for noon hour, but ‘The Caesar’ takes top prize. With a welcomed 1.5 ounce pour of your choice of Bombay gin, Iceberg vodka or El Jimador tequila (don’t knock it till you try it), they ditch traditional Clamato juice but stay true to the cocktail’s Canadian roots, opting for Walter Craft Caesar Mix to replace it. The well-revered mix is certified Ocean Wise, free of MSG and artificial colouring, but The Federal keeps this drink grounded by encrusting the rim in fine-crushed Cool Ranch Doritos.
The Federal, 1438 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 647 352 9120
Cruise through the Junction on a weekend afternoon and you’ll pass by a number of stellar spots to grab brunch, breakfast or booze. At The Passenger, you can enjoy all three with one glorious drink. Their Caesar is expertly mixed with all the essentials, and upgraded with that tasty craft concoction, Walter Caesar Mix. Making this drink a complete treat is a pink pickled egg, strip of beef jerky, a baby pickle and olive.
The Passenger, 2968 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 762 0777
This big bad brunch bevy at Hunter’s Landing is the type of drink that brag-worthy Instagram pictures are made of. It’s lavishly loaded with a luxe lobster tail and a pizza wedge, but that’s not all. The $16 price tag is totally worth it, as garnishes galore are kicked up a notch with a wedge of mozzarella, smoked bacon, chorizo, and zesty pickles and extra veg. Deep breaths people. Deep breaths.
Hunters Landing, 82 Fort York Boulevard, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 647 352 6082
Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
A $4 price tag and full creative control make Pouge Mahone’s DIY Caesar bar too good of a deal to pass up. Whether you like ‘em extra spicy, salty or standard, you can truly have it your way. Adjust flavours to your liking with a variety of hot sauces and garnishes, and test how well your Caesar craftsmanship measures up against your brunch brethren. The bar is open weekends 11:00am–3:00pm.
Pouge Mahone Irish Pub and Restaurant, 777 Bay Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 598 3339
© Courtesy of The Attic
Fynn’s of Temple Bar
Bar, Gastropub, BBQ, $$$
Fynn’s of Temple Bar
Pace yourself, Fynn’s of Temple Bar has four must-try Caesars that are all worthy of praise. The Classic is a hefty two ounces of Smirnoff mixed amid the prototypical ingredients and goes for $4 a pop during weekend brunch (Sat./Sun. 11:00am-4:00pm). The BBQ Smokehouse variation blends citrus vodka with chipotle hot sauce and liquid mesquite. The London Calling Caesar uses a combination of dill and cucumber to infuse two ounces of gin before blending in jalapeño Tabasco and Worcestershire. All about that bacon? Try the Breakfast Caesar made from bacon-infused vodka (yep) and rimmed with bacon salt.
Fynn’s of Temple Bar, 489 King Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 586 1331
The Crooked Star
Embracing the rich diversity that makes this city great, The Crooked Star boasts a collection of internationally inspired Caesars. They expertly blend the classic Canadian cocktail with flavours from several of the immigrant communities that diversify the 6ix. Adding kimchi ups the ante of the Korean Caesar while tandoori paste transcends the traditional mix in the Indian Caesar. Jerk sauce goes into the Jamaican version and wasabi spices up the Japanese-inspired libation. But the global experience doesn’t stop there, you can taste influences from France and Barbados too. Too broke to travel the world? Just pop into this Ossignton spot and enjoy a little taste of some of the incredible cultures in our community.
The Crooked Star, 202 Ossington Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 536 7271
Restaurant, Caribbean, American, $$$
This Queen West restaurant embodies the spirit of the Harlem renaissance circa the 1920s by celebrating the cultural, social and artistic success of the era. The Bloody Jerk Caesar is a work of art in its own right. Jamaican jerk bitters and Harlem hot sauce elevate the standard combo of vodka, Worcestershire, horseradish and Clamato, but the real brilliance of this beauty is in the skewer of snacks – a sizable stack of Harlem’s house-made mini fried chicken and waffles. A crisp and crunchy deep fried dill pickle adds a flawless final touch.
Harlem Underground, 745 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 366 4743
Mildred’s Temple Kitchen
With tons of over-the-top variations of this classic concoction, sometimes it’s best to just get back to basics. At Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, the Bungalow Island Caesar ensures perfectly proportioned vodka and Mott’s Clamato. They add just the right amount fresh horseradish to make it a little bit distinguishable but still preserve authenticity. A celery stick adds a simple snack to balance out the salty and slightly spicy signature rimmer.
Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, 85 Hanna Avenue, Suite 104, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 588 5695
By Morgan Radbourne
Morgan is a writing and communications student in Toronto who loves traveling, sipping on gin and sodas, and scrolling through dog photos on Instagram. Follow her on Twitter.