Photo: Eric Medsker

Excerpted from Brian Bartels’ The Bloody Mary: The Lore And Legend Of A Cocktail Classic, With Recipes For Brunch And Beyond, out March 28. Read our interview with Bartels here.

In the late 1960s, Calgary Westin Hotel bar manager Walter Chell was asked to create something special. So he mashed up some clams, mixed their juice with tomato juice, and thus embraced the philosophy of “if it’s good enough to eat, it’s good enough to drink.”

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By the mid-1970s, the Bloody Caesar became Canada’s most popular cocktail. Originally, making clam juice had been a sore spot for bartenders. Speaking as someone who would rather engage the guests than break my elbows mashing clams and tomatoes for hours, I salute the good people of Clamato with my healthy elbows, which are better used for high-fiving friends, strangers, and playful dogs. And so should every other bartender alive!

Classic Bloody Caesar

1.5 oz. vodka
4 oz. Clamato
1 bar spoon prepared horseradish
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch celery salt
1 pinch salt
1 oyster on the half shell

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Combine all of the ingredients except the garnish in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Roll the ingredients back and forth with another shaker three times and strain into a rocks or highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a celery stalk and serve with the oyster on the half shell atop the glass.