The great Toronto Caesar challenge: the Monster Caesar
There are two types of Caesars out there. There are the standard, no frills pub style Caesars that come real cheap and hit the spot without making much of a dent in your wallet. And there are those Caesars that are made with such a keen attention to detail that they aim to change your whole view of the cocktail. They're innovative and use only the finest ingredients. They're not necessarily the ones you drag yourself out of bed on a Sunday morning to numb your hangover for, but they work for that too.
Today's Caesar, at Fynn's of Temple Bar is of the latter category. This place is quite honestly the Mecca for Caesar culture in this city and with that in mind, from now on when I hold up a Caesar to cheers, I will hold it towards Fynn's.
With 1oz bacon infused vodka, 1oz Makers Mark, lamb jus, Worcestershire, chipotle Tabasco, mesquite and fresh lime juice it's no wonder they call this The Monster. This is a totally different class of Caesar, one built for King West - a place where any old cocktail won't do and people are willing to pay to have a little taste of the finer things.
The result is something decadent in a way few beverages can be. Even the crĂ¨me de la crĂ¨me of your standard sweet/sour/fruity/boozy cocktails can't compete because here we're dealing with savoury flavours - flavours from the kitchen.
The first thing to hit the tongue is the lamb jus, which is this incredible, rich, meaty flavour that behaves as an amuse bouche as the subtle taste of bourbon starts to peak through. The bourbon is a daring ingredient here and might not work in a Caesar on its own, but paired up against the bacon flavour and lamb jus you need a really bold spirit to make it's presence known - bourbon does that. As the bourbon settles in, the more traditional flavours start to peak though - the heat, the sweetness, it's all there and it's very good.
This is more than just a drink; it could easily pass for an appetizer all on it's own. Beyond the incredibly decadent flavours in the drink itself it's served with two good-sized pepperettes, a stalk of celery and two lime wedges along with house made bacon rim-salt and a sprig of fresh rosemary - a particularly novel idea. With each sip the rosemary gets all up in your face, just adding another level of enjoyment.
When lamb jus, bourbon and mesquite become standard ingredients in a Caesar, I will be a happy man. Until then I will give Fynn's of Temple Bar the credit it deserves for the care and focus they've put into their Caesar menu. That's right, not singular - menu. The Monster is but just one. There is nowhere else in this city that takes this drink as seriously as Fynn's. Each Caesar uses its own infused spirit and custom syrups. This one is utterly unique and based on the few I've had - delicious. A note to the curious though, they're only available on weekends.
So what is an appropriate amount to charge for a drink that includes Maker's Mark, house made bacon vodka and a silky lamb jus made with pan drippings? Fynn's wants $13.00 for it, which no matter which way you cut it is pricey, buuuut you get what you pay for and this is a top notch cocktail. This is a Caesar built to impress, one that can't be found anywhere else in this city. The attention to detail is here is completely unrivaled and the drink itself is pretty labour intensive. So while no one would even call it a steal it's certainly worth the price.
TOTAL SCORE: 24/25 (96%)
There's no two ways around it, Fynn's is ground zero of Ceasar culture in Toronto. The creativity and originality is incredible and the selection is simply unmatched. Oh, and for those stopping by on a on a weekend in a larger group, for $52 you can get your table a Caesar bar all its own that features 13 oz of vodka, a carafe of Clamato and all the trimmings.
Day 1: The challenge begins
Day 2: Extra horseradish
Day 3: The $3 Caesar
Day 4: A Caesar with chopsticks
Day 5: With a cherry tomato
Day 6: The Irish Caesar
Day 7: The red wine Caesar
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