Lord Mott's Clamato - Good lord, Mott!

In 1966, two employees at the Mott's company wanted to make a kind of Manhattan clam chowder cocktail that could be stocked on store shelves indefinitely in a can. It turns out that, rather than being a fireable offense, this constituted a new product launch. Today's ad comes to us two years later in 1968, by which time the product had become "Lord Mott's" Clamato. Apparently, old man Mott had become a titled landowner, riding high on the raging success of canned seafood drinks.

What's that you say? It would be simply unfair to rag on a drink I've never tasted? You're completely right. Let's get to work. I've never tasted human flesh either, but I feel confident that it's gross. I'm not saying Clamato is human flesh, so shut up. I'm just shooting down the ancient and retarded motto "Don't knock it 'till you try it." I've never driven a tent peg into the bridge of my nose either, but... well, you know the rest.

I'd heard of Clamato before, when I was a busboy at a restaurant. I've lugged many cases of it up from the basement at the behest of the bartender, never sussing out that the "clam" in "Clamato" meant clam juice. Frikkin ugh! Clams tend to taste, to me, like spoiled chicken, with the added bonus of a texture like snot. This implies to me that the food is best experienced in the sinus cavity and not in the mouth. Why would I want to slurp down expensive spoiled nose chicken when I can just have some perfectly good chicken? Take the spoiled nose chicken, liquefy it, combine with tomatoes and spices, and can it for a nonspecific period of unrefrigerated time and you have Clamato. Seafood should be treated like a delicate thing that needs to be fresh. The fresher the better. The Japanese know this. A clam-based drink which can be left in a cabinet for a year warrants suspicion. There's a huge gray area between "safe to consume" and "should be consumed.".

That, I believe.

As mentioned in the ad, you can make a drink with Clamato called a "Bloody Caesar", which , surprisingly, wasn't made up by Lord Snot* Lord Mott just to sell Clamato. The Caesar is a cocktail wildly popular in Canada, and found almost nowhere else. Weirdly, the Wikipedia article says it was invented in 1969. But this ad is from a 1968 issue of LIFE, calling it a "Bloody Caesar". Hmm. Since making up similes to describe clams is more fun than researching the true origins of a potentially unpleasant drink, let's just paste in the recipe for a Caesar from Wikipedia and go grab some non-nasal breakfast.

Basic preparation of a Caesar follows the "one, two, three, four" rule. The recipe calls for 1–1½ oz of vodka, two dashes of hot sauce, three dashes of salt and pepper, four dashes of Worcestershire sauce and topped with 4–6 oz of Clamato and served with ice. The ingredients are poured into a glass rimmed with celery salt or a mixture of salt and pepper and garnished with a celery stalk and lime. The Caesar is an unusual drink in that it can be mixed in bulk and stored for a period of time before drinking.

The Caesar's creator, Walter Chell, "reasoned that the mixture of clams and tomato sauce would make a good drink, and mashed clams to form a 'nectar'". I would have stopped him right there and sent him home for the afternoon.

I must now assert that both Clamato and the Caesar may very well be the greatest thing ever. I am speaking from a standpoint of ignorance, and therefore these opinions should have no weight. It may be that clams needed to exist in Clamato form in order to become delicious, and I don't know what I'm missing. I'll make and drink a Caesar on the same day that I also drive a tent peg into the bridge of my nose, and maybe both will be delightful, sublime experiences. Also, a mixture like tomato juice and mashed clams may come pouring out of my nose after I do both of those things.

*Please enjoy Hugh Laurie (House), as Lord Monty, Emma Thompson (Love, Actually, Etc.) as Miss Moneysterling, and Stephen Fry (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Hobbit) as Lord Mott Lord Snot on The Young Ones, from 1984.


Erik de Vries said...

The only thing more awkward than "Lord Mott" was 50's pop singer Bobby Curtola's short lived "Sea-Czar Clam Tomato Cocktail".

Talk about a mouthful. Second story down, here: http://www.hillmanweb.com/curtola/bcweb2.html

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