Can this Toronto company remake the Caesar?
Back in 2011 I spent two weeks of my life on a culinary odyssey through Toronto's bar scene — sampling Caesars in search of the very best. The Caesar landscape in this city was vast then and it's only grown in the two years since I published the results of that challenge. There's a competitive nature among the city's bartenders that has fostered a break-neck level of innovation, even in something as beloved and engrained in our Canadian psyche as a Bloody Caesar. There are red wine Caesars, lamb jus Caesars, seaweed Caesars, it seems every establishment has its own secret ingredient and special spice blend. There was one ingredient however, that I just couldn't get away from: Motts Clamato.
Which is of course, understandable. Motts has all but taken ownership over the drink, they host classes and competitions promoting what they like to call "Canada's Cocktail." But Motts is made with all sorts of undesirable things like high-fructose corn syrup and MSG. In a world where you can get small-batch, artisan bug spray, isn't it time someone gave us a more wholesome Caesar Mix?
Enter Walter. Walter is a beverage company that has taken on the heady task of going to bat against the Goliathan Motts for Caesar supremacy. Walter, I'm told, is named to honour all of history's great Walters: Walter Gretzky, Walter Payton, Walter White, but most importantly: Walter Chell — the bartender who invented the Caesar way back in 1969.
The plan is a simple one: to provide an all natural, locally produced alternative to Motts Clamato. The ingredient rundown reads more like a grocery list than something from a factory; it's MSG free and contains no artificial flavours or colours. It's thicker than Motts and heartier, and it's also already well enough spiced that you just need to add a couple of glugs of your favourite spirit and you're ready for the rest of brunch to arrive or to plant yourself in a lawn chair by the pool.
The company offers two versions of the product: well-spiced, for those with a panache for big, bold flavours and mildly-spiced for the grandmas out there. Just kidding. The latter is merely a tamer version of the former, perhaps to allow a quieter base for customization?
In any case, in this town the wide variety and Caesars is only outweighed by our insatiable desire to consume them. I suspect Walter Caesar Mix will only kick the frenzy up a notch or two.