Distinctly CANADIAN Cocktails
Basalt Wine + Salumeria
604-962-9011 | basaltwhistler.com
VOLCANIC CAESAR The Bloody Caesar is as about as Canadian as
cocktails come. The now-traditional blend of vodka and Clamato juice seasoned
with Tabasco, Worcestershire and a celery-salt rim was created — or so it is said
— in 1969, by a Montenegro-born bartender named Walter Chell, who worked
at the Calgary Inn. To celebrate the hotel’s new Marco’s Italian Restaurant, he
added hand-mashed nectar from baby clams and turned the classic Bloody Mary
into a boozy rendition of pasta vongole.
But like many a fishy tale, Chell’s claim to fame has lately come under scrutiny,
with some suggesting that he might have been influenced by the Clamdigger, a
trendy cocktail that swept New York in 1968.
Basalt Bar Manager Kevin Broderick shrugs off the debate. “What makes hockey
or curling Canadian? The way they have been adopted is what matters. And the
Caesar has definitely been as adopted as our national drink.”
His own spicy adaptation elevates the original with Unruly Vodka (a B.C. craft
spirit made with honey), Walt’s Caesar Mix (a thick, all-natural juice made in
Canada), a touch of maple syrup in his seasoning slurry, and a strip of candied
bacon for garnish. But the crowning glory is the black lava salt, poppy seed and
ground-habanero rim. The crunchy ring of fire — in homage to the restaurant’s
name (basalt is a volcanic rock) — blows this smashing cocktail over the top.
STORY BY ALEXANDRA GILL
IMAGES BY JOERN ROHDE
What makes a cocktail Canadian? Is it the rye in a Manhattan or the clam juice in a Caesar?
To celebrate Canada’s 150th ANNIVERSARY,
we’ve asked some of Whistler’s top bartenders
to share the stories behind the most patriotic
libations on their summer lists.