Hamilton's Top 5 Places to get a Caesar
What is more Canadian than a caesar?
Well, come to think of it, maybe a lot of things but you have to admit there's something satisfying about trying to order one in the U.S. and the bartender having no idea what you're talking about.
In recent years, as Hamilton's restaurant game has ramped up, the innovation surrounding cocktails has soared to new heights. It's pretty hard to improve upon what, in my estimation, is a pretty fool-proof recipe for deliciousness when it comes to caesars but a number of local eateries have tried and the results are heavenly.
Here follows Hamilton Top 5 Caesars.
Anything that comes in a mason jar mug is OK by me and that was the case with this yummy caesar from Cause and Effect in Upper Stoney Creek. The garnishes were also pretty delish with a pepperette, pickled bean, pepperoncini pepper and two olives: pretty much all of my favourite things. If you haven't guessed yet, I pretty much like my caesar to be like a snack. There is nothing fancy about the drink itself: clamato, vodka, Worcestershire, and hot sauce (added to your liking). Everything was perfectly balanced and lovely when mixed with a smokey salty rim. All in all, they're not reinventing the wheel here or anything but they sure do know how to mix a well-proportioned caesar and how to serve it up with some delicious treats.
I won't lie: I have very mixed feelings about this caesar but it's on this list because I can appreciate its unique qualities. If you don't like the taste of tequila (I don't) this is not the caesar for you. The Smokey Mezcal Caesar features Sombra Mezcal (a spirit similar to tequila - I will try to explain the difference in a moment), lime, habanero, grapefruit, clamato and a salty rim. Tequila and mezcal are both made from agave but not the same variety of agave. Mezcal is very distinct from tequila because it's much smokier (which is where this caesar gets its 'smokey' from). Looking beyond my dislike of the flavour of tequila, the smokiness of this cocktail is delicious and the hint of grapefruit is very unique and not unenjoyable (again, if you like agave-based spirits, grapefruit probably makes more sense to you). It wasn't too spicy and was ultimately very refreshing. Despite my dislike of the mezcal, I have a lot of respect for the other elements that went into this drink. Also, Mezcal takes top prize for having the prettiest glassware.
This James St. North bar is hard to miss with its bright yellow facade and lovely tile work in the entryway — which is great if you're looking for a fantastic caesar. The Brain offers a wide range of yummy cocktails and brews, as well as snacks and homemade pies but it's their caesar that drew us in. We'd heard rumours that The Brain whipped up a decent caesar and I'm pleased to say those rumours are true! The Brain caesar is your standard makeup, prepared to your preferred level of spice (medium in my case), with horseradish and pickled asparagus twist. The garnish is an organic baby dill from Sunshine Farms and the rimmer is a traditional celery salt. There is nothing fancy about this drink which is much appreciated. The vodka-to-clamato-juice ratio is nearly perfect and my drink was prepared to the perfect level of spiciness. The baby dill is so so yummy and the traditional rim was chunky and not overwhelming. Ultimately, this caesar sticks with what is tried and true but with a little oomph and it's exactly what you'd want in a caesar.
This little tavern on Augusta is a gem. They offer a cosy and quaint atmosphere, stunning outdoor space and an incredible selection of burgers, brews and booze. They also have a gorgeously delicious caesar on their well-rounded cocktail menu. This caesar, offered in either vodka or gin, is beautiful without being pretentious and is made to your preferred spiciness. The rimmer adds a lovely salty smoke to the well-balanced cocktail as the garnishes of bocconcini and pepperoncini pepper provide a little nibbly that doesn't overwhelm the drink. All in all, The Ship's caesar is gorgeous, balanced and unpretentious - just like our fair city.
This restaurant takes indulgence to all new heights and that extends to their caesars. I was lucky enough to have a taste-testing partner so I got to try two of Hambrgr's over-the-top caesar creations. On deck was the Straight Outta Nashville (main picture on the left), which features a Nashville fried chicken (oh yes!) and bread & butter pickles garnish and a 12 herbs and spices rim. Also competing was the Deep Fried Pickle (above right) which boasts a crispy Panko fried pickle and sour Kosher pickle garnish, pickle brine and dill pickle spice rim. Both cocktails were just remarkable; our server admitted to having a heavy hand with the Worcestershire but there were no complaints here. In terms of a stand-out flavour, the prize goes to the Deep Fried Pickle. That sour, garlicky dill flavour mixed in with all the regular caesary goodness just made the tastebuds sing.
These places also have top-choice Caesars:
West Town Bar and Grill: This is the best place to nurse a hangover with their delicious breakfast and a caesar.
Vicar's Vice: They have an extensive caesar menu and word on the street is they know their way around a caesar.
Where’s your favourite place to grab a caesar in Hamilton?
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