If you’re prepared for the taste sensation of your sweet, young lives, today I shall deliver it to you, like a tiny robot with a silver tray, your small mechanical servant.
Perfection does not come easily or without toil. It is the culmination of years of scientific testing and refinement, asymptotically approaching that which refreshes most completely and delights the palate unerringly.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants, and the Giants of this beverage, nay liquid banquet, take the mortal forms of deb and shaver, who laboured and suffered beside me those long years, testing and improving with each tortuous iteration. To them I give thanks, indeed, we all must give thanks.
THE AUTHORITATIVE BLOODY CAESAR
small lime wedge; about 1/8th
celery salt to coat
grated fresh horseradish
pickled green bean or asparagus
Wet the rim of a glass — these ratios are for the traditional pint glass serving size — with the lime wedge. Dunk the rim in celery salt to coat.
For those of you already skipping this critical instruction, listen carefully: each step and every ingredient is important. Do not treat this with the same disdain for order and slipshod craftsmanship that you apply to the rest of your life. Do not trifle with your destiny.
If you like ice, add it now; cubes, never crushed. Squeeze the rest of the lime wedge into the glass and toss the spent wedge in.
For a pint-glass caesar, add one shot of vodka, 45-50ml. You’re old enough to decide for yourself, but this is serious refreshment for serious people. Pay no heed to the Government of Australia: a single shot is not, nor has it ever been, 30 ml, and it’s an insult to the nation to assert otherwise. shaver informs me that certain flavoured vodkas, such as lime or pepper, constitute a permitted substitution, but do not materially move the needle.
Add 5 splashes of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, being careful not to substitute an inferior product. This libation requires a sauce certified and produced by appointment to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
Add 5 splashes of original red Tabasco. Do not add it “to taste”. This is what you’ll taste, and you’ll like it.
1/2 tsp celery salt and five healthy turns of a pepper grinder are now required.
If you enjoy your caesar in the style of Big Daddy’s oyster bar, and you do if you know what’s good for you, grate a teaspoon or so of fresh horseradish into the glass. This is the one regard in which you may deviate from the ordained scripture before you.
Top the glass off with Clamato, or your favourite tomato-clam cocktail mixture. Let it be known that clam juice is essential. Without clam juice, you’re just making the best bloody mary in the hemisphere. A respectable concoction, but not one to be mentioned in the same reverent tones as the elixir that you will soon hold in your trembling hands, palsied with anticipation.
Finally, and without exaggeration, the unifying element so often overlooked in centuries of mixology: a single pickled green bean or asparagus spear. This is an area in which shaver is more willing to compromise than I, but when it comes to the authentic experience, celery is not a substitute. If you put a celery stalk in that glass and say it’s your best effort, you insult not only me, and of course yourself, but the very fabric of society. You are committing an offense against nature, and there is no place for you on this Earth.
shaver asserts that by your ninth or tenth pint, celery provides a welcome contrast in texture and a refreshing cleanse to the palate. I am in no position to contradict, and I will concede that although the one true recipe has no room for this weak cousin of the vegetable kingdom, celery may be permitted in subsequent efforts subject to the conditions that it be trimmed, clean, and impeccably fresh.
To return to the critical matter at hand, because of its singular importance I can say with some certainty that you will not have an acceptable brined legume on hand, and will not able to acquire ready-made one of sufficient quality through any means, licit or otherwise. You must therefore prepare your own.
When you have obtained your pickled spear, stir very well and sip carefully, then with great enthusiasm, and finally respectable restraint. Practice until you can make ten or fifteen of unerring consistency in a long afternoon’s session. Question your life to this point, and how you can now make the most of your remaining time.
PICKLED BEANS / ASPARAGUS
a pint of green beans or asparagus
1 cup vinegars
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground mustard or crushed mustard seeds
2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 crushed garlic cloves
Trim the vegetables as usual. If you’re using asparagus, thinner stalks are better.
Simmer until just cooked, about 4 minutes for green beans. Beans should still have crunch, and asparagus must not droop. Drain, then directly into an ice water bath.
Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally, then let cool. For my vinegars, I like to use 1/3 red wine, 1/3 white wine, and 1/3 cider.
Fill the jar 1/3 of the way with the brine and garlic, then pack it with your vegetable of choice. Asparagus tips up for safety. If the rest of the liquid doesn’t quite cover, top it up with vinegars. If you’re going to can them for real, remember to leave headspace.
If you want to properly process the jars in boiling water, a topic outside the scope of this singularly driven and focused memorandum, they will keep for a very long time.
Otherwise, refrigerate and allow them to embark on their private journey to Flavour Towne for at least a week before using. They’ll probably keep for 2-4 more after that; you’re on your own there.