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Caesar’s Ghost

Recipe from Canada's 100 Best Editor-in-Chief Jacob Richler

If you are an informed consumer, with taste, you more than likely prefer the flavour of fresh, ripe, locally farmed tomatoes to that of their pulpy brethren, intensively reared, laced with chemicals, pulverized and preserved in a can. You’d probably also give the nod to succulent, freshly poached clams over reconstituted clam juice powder. I certainly do. And I was thinking about just that while contemplating our national drink, when it occurred to me to have a go at stripping the Caesar down to its pure, essential flavours, and melding them into something new, more elegant, less filling, and far more nutritious.

I give you Caesar’s Ghost.


Makes 6 cocktails

• 2 kg (about 41⁄2 lb) top-quality ripe tomatoes
• 2 tsp kosher salt
• 6cherrystoneclams,scrubbed and flushed
• 50 ml (1⁄4 cup) white wine

• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 1 small sprig thyme
• 360ml(12 oz)top-quality vodka or gin (like Cirka, Pur or Ungava), freezer temperature
• 1 Thai chili, sliced into very thin rings, seeded

  1. Quarter the tomatoes and add them along with the salt to the bowl of a food processor. Blitz to a chunky purée.
  2. Line a colander with layers of cheesecloth (or coffee filters) and place over a bowl. Pour purée into the colander, cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to the refrigerator overnight. Then discard pulp and reserve tomato water, covered.
  3. Meanwhile, poach clams in wine, with thyme and garlic, until they open—about 3 minutes. Remove clams from shell, skewer each on a swizzle stick and distribute between 6 chilled martini glasses.
  4. Add to each 60 ml (2 oz) vodka, add tomato water to desired strength, and garnish with chilli slices.
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