Who knew when Zack Silverman was quarterback for the Okanagan Sun in 1999 and 2000 that he would go on to become a lawyer and then a cocktail mix emperor?
Yet, that’s the zig-zag path Silverman has taken for the past decade-and-a-half.
Back at the turn of the century, Silverman led the Canadian Junior Football League’s Okanagan Sun to back-to-back Canadian Bowls. The Sun won in 2000 and became national champions, while Silverman set league records for passing yards and completions.
Fast forward 16 years and Silverman heads up Brutus Beverages, a Vancouver-and-Brooklyn-based company that makes Walter Craft Caesar Mix and Kelvin Slushie frozen cocktail bases in citrus, ginger, margarita, pina colada and tea flavours.
It’s no coincidence Silverman named the parent company Brutus to distribute its signature Caesar mix.
Both Brutus and Caesar were political masterminds in the heyday of the Roman Empire. In fact, Brutus played a leading role in the assassination of Caesar, then Roman emperor.
But we digress.
Caesar is also Canada’s most popular cocktail with 350 million consumed each year.
It was invented and so named by Walter Chell for an Italian restaurant in Calgary in 1969.
Thus the name Walter Craft Caesar Mix.
In keeping with the Italian connection to the Roman Empire, the Caesar drink is meant to taste like the liquid version of Chell’s favourite dish, spaghetti vongole.
The pasta has a sauce made with clams and clam juice.
Therefore, the Caesar drink is made with clam and tomato (clamato) juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, pepper and vodka, and is garnished with a celery stalk.
Walter Craft Caesar Mix is non-alcoholic, so you can add your own vodka to it or drink it on its own.
It sets itself apart from other Caesar mixes. The mix is made from fresh tomatoes and clams from the North Atlantic. It’s also the only Caesar mix to be recommended by Ocean Wise, the Vancouver Aquarium’s program promoting sustainable seafood use.
Walter’s is also made with no MSG and a touch of organic cane sugar, instead of high-fructose corn syrup, as well as grated horseradish, Worchestershire and hot sauce, and spices.
The mix comes in a 946-millilitre bottle for $8 and can be found in Kelowna stores Choices Market, Urban Fare, Nesters Market and G&H Shop.
The Kelvin Slushie mixes are sold mostly to restaurants and bars to mix drinks.
After playing with the Sun, Silverman, who is originally from Vancouver, went to UBC Vancouver and earned three degrees, becoming a lawyer.
After moving to New York and working for a big firm, his passion for cocktails overcame him and Brutus was born.
Silverman no longer practises law because running Brutus is too much fun and too time consuming, he says.
Walter Craft Caesar Mix and Kelvin Slushie both have North America-wide distribution.