Garde Manger Caesar from the Caesar Country cookbook

A nod to a hectic opening night from Montreal’s Chuck Hughes and Jess Midlash

Image for Garde Manger Caesar from the Caesar Country cookbook

One of the things we love most about the Caesar cocktail is how creative you can get with the classic recipe and how much it can evolve over time as it becomes uniquely your own. 

The same is true for Montreal’s acclaimed Garde Manger. The story for the Garde Manger Caesar began on opening night back in 2006 when Garde Manger co-owner Tim Rozon received a request for a Caesar cocktail and realized they had not created one yet. When it came time to garnish the cocktail, Rozon looked to the Garde Manger raw bar, and the rest is history. 

“He runs over to the packed raw bar, grabs a Gaspé steamed crab claw, and plunks it into the drink. From the kitchen, chef Chuck watches. He realizes they have a classic in the making," the authors state in the Caesar Country recipe introduction. "The Garde Manger Caesar has evolved over the years as other team members (most recently GM Jess Midlash) put their marks on it, but one thing has remained constant: a single enticing piece of crab poking out from the top of an expertly crafted cocktail—a nod to that chaotic opening night thousands of Caesars ago.”

Image for Garde Manger Caesar from the Caesar Country cookbook

Celeriac rim

1 small celeriac, trimmed, peeled, and grated finely
2 tbsp dried onion flakes
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
1 tbsp dried garlic flakes
1 tbsp dill seed, slightly crushed
1 tbsp coriander seed, slightly crushed
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp sweet paprika

Preheat your oven to 200°F (95°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until the celeriac is well incorporated with the dried spices.

Spread the rim spice mixture evenly across the prepared baking sheet. Dry out in the oven until the mixture is completely dry and brittle, 5 to 6 hours. (This is done to dry out the wet celery root and infuse the other spice flavours. The end result is delicious and worth the effort.)

Let cool and crush to the consistency of coarse sand with a mortar and pestle.

Transfer to an airtight container and store in your pantry for up to 6 months.

Garde Manger Caesar

1 highball glass
1 snow crab leg (or claw), thawed overnight in the refrigerator (see note)
2 lemon wedge, for garnish and rim
2 tbsp celeriac rim (above)
1½ oz vodka
6 oz Caesar mix, mild
1 tsp horseradish, freshly grated
¼ oz olive brine
3-4 dashes Chuck Hughes Jalapeño Hot Sauce (see note)
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Carefully run a sharp paring knife through one side of the snow crab leg or claw to score the shell and allow easier access to the meat. Garde Manger serves its Caesar with crab crackers and forks. Guests are expected to work for it!

Pour the rim spice onto a small plate. Circle the rim of your glass with the lemon wedge, then roll the rim in the rim spice.

Pour the vodka, Caesar mix, horseradish, olive brine, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce into a cocktail shaker (or other mixing vessel). Fill the shaker with ice to just above the top of the liquid and stir with a bar spoon until the outside of the shaker is very cold to the touch.

Fill the rimmed glass three-quarters full with fresh cubed ice. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass and top with additional ice if desired. Garnish with the snow crab leg (or claw) and the remaining lemon wedge.


1) The hot sauce in this recipe is Chuck Hughes’ own brand. You can find it online and at specialty grocers. It’s similar in style to green Tabasco.

2) In Canada, snow crabs are typically caught, cooked, and blast frozen right on the boat to preserve their freshness. Look for them at your local fishmonger or in the seafood section of your grocery store. In a pinch, you can thaw the crab quickly by running it under cold water for 20 minutes.

Serves 1