Michelada

MicheladaAs soon as the mercury pushes past 60º F, my husband and I migrate to our back porch. It’s our favorite place for morning coffee and evening cocktails. This spring, I have a new favorite cocktail, the Michelada (pronounced mee-cha-lah-dah), if you can call a drink made with beer a cocktail. I can’t bring myself to call it what some people call it, a beertail.

I had never heard of or tasted this south-of-the-border quaff until my friend Bill made me one last December. Bill was excited about them and showed up with a six pack of Pacifico, Clamato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, a couple of secret ingredients and a big grin. His delicious Michelada set a high standard by which all subsequent ones would be judged.

Since then, I’ve been seeing and hearing about Micheladas everywhere. It’s hard to say if they have risen in popularity or if they have been there all along and I’m just starting to notice. I like to think it’s the former, but will concede that I may have just not been paying attention.

“So, Michelada is the new Mojito,” my friend Paul said after I explained the suspected sudden rise in the drink’s popularity. Maybe so. Mojitos quickly went from obscurity in the ’90s to being quite the beverage rage in the early 2000s. Maybe it’s time for Micheladas to take over.

There are many different interpretations of Micheladas. The commonalities between most of the recipes I found are beer, lime juice and a salted rim. A good many recipes called for soy sauce. Maggi seasoning was another popular addition. Some use tomato or Clamato juice and others don’t, though I’m told that those without are technically called cheladas.

To get this recipe just right, we had to do a lot of testing. I ask a lot of my husband and this task, “Test Michelada,” was just one of many items on his honey-do list. The dear didn’t complain once, even when I kept adding “Test Michelada Again.” He’s a keeper.

I just discovered a southern magazine called “Garden & Gun.” Yes, there is a magazine called “Garden & Gun,” with articles about cocktails, popsicles, fishing and lots of dog photos. The current issue has an article by one of my favorite authors, Roy Blount Jr., titled, “The Trendiness of Worms.” I am thinking about subscribing.

“Garden & Gun” had an article on Micheladas, referring to it as “the mysterious Texas concoction.” The magazine interviewed a bar manager, who said, “We don’t measure the ingredients. You have to feel the Michelada — make it by touch.”

With all of the variations and need for getting the right feel for Micheladas, you can see why we needed to do a lot of testing.

Since I love to get a dose of veggies wherever I can, I prefer a version made with vegetable juice.

Teetotaler? Never fear, replace the beer with seltzer water. It’s a delicious twist on a juice spritzer.

In the interest of perfection, I think we should test another batch. “Una mas Michelada, por favor!”

Andrew’s Michelada

Ingredients
1 part vegetable juice (such as V8; substitute Clamato or tomato juice)
Juice of half of a lime
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch of Cajun seasoning (such as Tony Chachere; substitute salt and chili powder)
1 dash Tabasco sauce (or more)
1 pinch black pepper
3 parts beer (any will do but, to be festive, you may want to pick up something Mexican; Lagers preferred).

For the Rim:
Cajun seasoning or coarse salt with a dash of chili powder

Method

  • Cut a lime wedge and rub it around the rim of a pilsner or other tall beer glass, then dip it into the salt/Cajun seasoning.
  • Fill the glass with ice.
  • Add one part vegetable juice, lime juice, Worcestershire, Cajun seasoning, Tabasco and pepper to the glass and give it a stir.
  • Pour in three parts of beer, stir, garnish with a lime and serve, adding more beer as you sip.