It’s time to ‘caes the day’

Two Kelowna bartenders take on Canada’s national cocktail

Clamato, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces; the ingredients for Canada’s national cocktail – a Caesar.

But after all these years of watered down mix and over spiced drinks, why hasn’t someone perfected this patriotic cocktail that Canucks pride their Sundays on?

Well, two Kelowna residents with more than 40 years of bartending experience between them might have the answer.

Bartending in restaurants, bars and even cruise ships Gerry Jobe and Dave (Simps) Simpsons have been concocting craft cocktails, simple syrups and unique beverages for some time.

“Honestly, I have always thought our national cocktail was a bit of a sham,” said Simps. “I am a Canadian and I have been born and raised on Caesars. It’s come a long way with craft bartending and craft product, but for the majority there is just those couple of brands you can buy of a thin-red number 40 dyed mixture and people are putting tons of other ingredients in it.”

As someone who prides himself on his work and ability to mix simple syrups, Simps was frustrated with the lack of effort that actually goes into the national cocktail.

“I thought someone has to make a premium mix, without MSG and reconstituted tomato – I don’t even know what that is – there is just a lot of stuff in Caesars that as a bartender I was really not proud of,” explained Simps.

After a few years of making simple syrup and selling to local bars and restaurants, Simps decided to bring one of Kelowna’s most recognizable bartenders into the mix — Gerry Jobe.

The two decided that now was the perfect opportunity to take on the national cocktail, during a time when consumers are appreciating locally made, sourced and crafted food and beverages.

Thus Simp’s Serious Caesar Mix was forged.

Sweetened with another of Canada’s iconic products, the Caesar mix uses maple syrup as the sweetening agent from Simps girlfriend’s maple syrup farm in Ontario.

The mix is made with all Canadian ingredients and is MSG free, gluten free, fish free and vegan.

Jobe said that while researching what should and should not go into the product, he discovered that in 2015 there were 12 million Canadians that were now vegetarian, vegan or reducing their meat intake.

“We also found that three million people are celiac, which is 15 million people; that is over a third of our population that can’t have our national cocktail,” he says. “How is there a national cocktail if we are eliminating a portion of the population from drinking it”

This moment became the lightblub for Jobe who saw a chance to corner a market to make Caesars for those who have never been able to enjoy one.

“People like the spice level on it, we have white pepper and black pepper, we worked with a food scientists on this out of Maple Ridge,” explained Jobe. “We don’t put Tabasco in it, but you can add whatever you want to it, it does have a little bit of kick at the finish on it.”

Contained in reusable plastic bottles, the Caesar Mix is easy to pack for camping trips and will not break like glass.

After three years of testing the Simp’s Serious Caesar Mix is ready for market and those in the service industry can’t wait to get their hands on it.

Jobe and Simps say their Simp’s Serious Caesar Mix can be found in Nesters, several Kelowna barber shops, gift shops, tattoo shops, as well as restaurants in Richmond, White Rock, Ontario, Vancouver Island and across the Okanagan.

While Jobe still works as liquor representative, selling Simp’s Serious Caesar Mix is now Simps full time job and it’s paying off.

Check it out online.

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