Spice up your life at the YYC Caesar Fest!

Calgary is known for it’s vibrant culinary scene and is home to nationally acclaimed restaurants like Model Milk, which recently received a shoutout on the Late Late Show with James Cordon.

In Calgary, delicious flavours are not limited within the walls of a restaurant; throughout the year, the city hosts food & drink festivals like the Calgary International Beerfest, YYC Hot Chocolate Festival and more. 

As Calgary’s first two-day sample event, YYC Caesar Fest celebrates Canada’s National cocktail ‘The Caesar’ which kicks off this May long weekend. On May 19 & May 20 at the Big Four Building in Stampede Park, the event will feature 40 different variations of the Caesar with local yyc food, craft beer, merch and more! YYC Caesar Fest took over Calgary Economic Development’s @lifeincalgary Instagram account in March, check out their highlight story for more details.

Christy Fraser, Event Manager for YYC Caesar Fest shared the inspiration behind this spicy event:


How did the idea of Calgary’s First Caesar Fest come to be?

Rachel Drinkle, our fearless leader and YYCaesarfest founder, came up with the idea. Rachel is passionate about creating experiences for locals who like to feel like tourists and tourists that like to feel like locals! Since the Caesar was invented here in Calgary back in 1969 a celebration of the Canadian cocktail was long overdue. 

Tell us about Caesar Fest, what can our viewers expect?

The two-day festival starting on National Caesar Day, Thursday, May 19 & May 20 from 5 pm to 10 pm in the Big Four Building of Stampede Park. We’ll be celebrating everything Caesars as well as Canadian culture and local vendors. There will be plenty of Caesars to sample, craft beer and other alcoholic & non alcoholic options. To attend the event, purchase an entry ticket (use code lifeincalgary20 for 20 percent off general admission tickets). Try samples from local vendors, purchase sample tickets for $2 each. All sample prices are the discretion of the vendors as garnishes or ingredients will largely vary. 

What makes a good Caesar?

One of the best things about a Caesar is it's super flexible and adaptable, so you can really put your spin on it. Both a classic Caesar and a new take on a Caesar are delicious! The best Caesars are mixed with love and represent you! If you're unfamiliar with Caesars it starts with a rimmed glass, which can be with celery salt, a Caesar mix, a homemade spice blend or really whatever your heart desires. Add some ice cubes, then generally vodka, but almost any alcohol can be used and Caesar mix, (which is a blend of tomato & clam juice). Lots of options to create, there’s pre-made clam juice some are local and more artisanal, or it can even be homemade. Generally, there’s also Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Other popular options include horseradish, BBQ sauce, pickle juice, etc. Then comes the garnish, this is essential to a good Caesar give it some flourish! The classic Caesar uses lemon and celery but there's a ton of options to really make it your own!  

What is the most interesting ingredient you have seen added to a Caesar?

Oh man, there's no end of ingredients that can be added, I mean the classic has clam juice, so is anything really off the table? Love seeing some of the other alcohol spins on a Caesar like a wine Caesar or whiskey Caesar. Sky’s the limit with the garnish as well; we've seen ramen noodles, perogies, full meals, pieces of cake, pizzas, waffles, brownies, and almost anything else! We're so excited to see the creativity at YYCaesarfest, it's going to be EPIC! 

Which restaurant/bars do you think have the best Caesars in Calgary? What would be your team’s top picks?

That's hard, there's so many amazing Caesars out there! The distilleries are definitely coming in hot this year, like Rig Hand Distillery, in Nisku, or Eau Claire Distillery in Black Diamond has a Caesar flight. In Calgary some of our favourites are at Free House, The Beltliner, Skunkworks does a moonshine Caesar, Last Best and Bottlescrew Bills.

Your team recently took over our @lifeincalgary Instagram account? What was the best part?

We did! We had tons of fun connecting with Calgary! We actually did a photoshoot to get ready for the takeover and I have to admit that was a pretty amazing day doing a Caesar crawl!


Click here to find out more information on Calgary’s first Caesar Fest.

Follow us on Instagram @lifeincalgary & yycaesarfest


Read our interview with Christy Fraser, Event Manager for YYC Caeser Fest coming this May long weekend.

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