Jon Cote auctions off two Caesars for the Critteraid at the Simps Serious Caesar Competition on Aug. 17. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

PHOTOS: What makes a winning Caesar?

Three local bartenders competed to make the best Caesar in Penticton

By Brennan Phillips

Western News Staff

What makes a competition-winning Caesar?

The classic version of Canada’s national drink starts with celery salt and ground pepper for the rim; vodka for the alcohol; hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce; clamato juice; and finally a lime wedge and crisp celery stalk for garnish.

Not just the taste of the cocktail itself, but the performance and the ingredients in the garnish are all considered in what makes a champion Caesar.

Saturday Aug. 17 at the Craft Corner Kitchen, three very different Caesars were thrown into the mix for the judges of the Simps Serious Caesar Competition to put to the taste test. Three local bartenders entered into the ring, each with their own unique take on the classic mixed drink.

Randy Foster from the Nest & Nectar won for his strong local flavours and flair with mixing together the Caesar. Second place went to host Jon Cote’s big garnish Caesar, and third to Joe Arneil’s “Nothing Fancy” Caesar.

Read More: Spicy? With a salty rim, Canada celebrates National Caesar Day

Want to try the Caesars yourself? You can head down to the restaurants and order one. Or, you could practice your own bartending skills and make them yourself. Here are some of the ingredients that make each drink unique.

Jon Cote’s Craft Corner Kitchen Caesar: Sriracha dust and salt rim; Tumbleweed Spirit’s Fireweed cinnamon whiskey; whiskey barbecue sauce; housemade citrus hotsauce; Simps Original Caesar mix; slow-braised ribs, chicken and waffle, beer-battered cheese curds, and a beet-cured deviled egg stacked together for the garnish.

Joe Arneil’s Smuggler Smokehouse “Nothing Fancy” Caesar: Brown sugar, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper for the rim; orange juice, demiglaze; house apple cider vinegar infused with chilis; bourbon; Simps Original Caesar Mix; Smokehouse jerky, pickled egg, and pickles for the garnish.

Randy Foster’s Nest & Nectar Caesar: Char Blue cajun blend rim mix and Wine Crush Malbec herb salt; Okanagan Spirits Vodka infused over 24 hours with tarragon, thyme, basil, sage, and some cracked pepper; liquid smoke, Garden Party bitters, and celery bitters; Simps Original Caesar Mix; smoked oyster, local field cucumber, heirloom tomato, celery stalk, and homemade pickles and olives for garnish.

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The Nest & Nectar’s Randy Foster brought his flair to the Simps Serious Caesar Competition on Aug. 17. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Joe Arneil from Smuggler’s Smokehouse mixes two drinks at once at the Simps Serious Caesar Competition on Aug. 17. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

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