1951 Bloody Mary a La Milo (First Bloody Caesar In Disguise?) – Cocktails After Dark
Every Canadian calls the ‘Bloody Caesar Cocktail’ a Canadian classic, most Canadian cocktail enthusiasts credit the invention of this cocktail to Walter Chell in Calgary in 1969… Perhaps Walter named the cocktail and popularised it, but the origins of a Tomato, Clam, Worcestershire, and Vodka cocktail go back even farther.
The original 1969 Walter Chell Caesar Cocktail recipe was this: Walter mashed clams to produce “clam nectar” and mixed this with tomato juice and spices. The final formulation included vodka, tomato juice, clam nectar, Worcestershire sauce and celery salt. In 1994, Walter told the Toronto Star his secret ingredient was a dash of oregano. Walter Chell also said he did not include Tabasco sauce. He didn’t use Mott’s Clamato Juice!
The earliest mention in print of a Tomato Juice, Clam Juice, and Vodka cocktail is in the November 8th 1953 edition of the New York Post: https://www.fultonhistory.com/Newspaper24/NewYorkNYPost/NewYorkNYPost1953/NewYorkNYPost1953a-5424.pdf
But this 1953 version is missing a couple of key ingredients – Worcestershire sauce and celery salt.
Enter this cocktail recipe from the 1951 first edition of Ted Saucier’s ‘Bottoms Up’: “Bloody Mary a La Milo. Credited to Milo J. Sutliff:
2 oz. tomato juice
1 oz. clam juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 oz. vodka
Stir tomato juice and clam juice together, and add Worcestershire. Pour this mixture over one inch of cracked ice in a blender or mixer and agitate for 10 seconds. Serve in a 3 oz. glass. (This makes 2 cocktails)
This sounds pretty close to what Walter Chell claims in 1969… It’s just missing celery salt and the secret ingredient of oregano.
Some dispute that Walter Chell actually invented the Caesar – some argue that it was Gino Georgealas: https://www.newspapers.com/image/514187162/?terms=walterchell&match=1
Not quite the classic Canadian caesar.
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