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Michelada: beer with a kick

On the left, Tyler's more savory version. To the right, my extra-refrescante version.

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Last Friday was a particularly hectic day at work, and so when I got home I was ready for a drink. The warm weather made beer an obvious choice, but that was too easy. I wanted something a little more interesting. Something extra refreshing. My mind turned to the michelada, a Mexican cocktail that’s basically beer gussied up with spicy, salty, and/or savory additions.

I mentioned the idea to my boyfriend Tyler, and as we checked to see if we had the ingredients, it immediately became clear that we had two very different ideas for what goes into a michelada. I learned to make them from friends who were actually from Mexico; they would combine beer, a shot of tequila, the juice of a lime, and a few dashes of Tapatio chili sauce, and serve it in a salt-rimmed glass. Tyler, on the other hand, made his with beer, chili sauce, lime, Worstershire sauce, and soy sauce – no tequila – and served it over ice. (I’m pretty open-minded about trying new things, but I was not convinced that Worstershire sauce and soy sauce belonged with beer – let alone all the other stuff he was adding in.)

A quick internet search revealed that there are just as many ways to make a michelada as there are ways to make minestrone; a lot depends on where you are and who you talk to. (Budweiser even makes a beer-and-clamato product they call “Chelada.”) So to really settle the score, we each made our own version and had a taste-off. Tyler seemed content with both results, but I am not too shy to say that I liked my version better. It’s lighter tasting, more refreshing, and the tequila really adds another level of flavor.

If you want to give it a try, here’s my version…but do feel free to adjust to your own taste.

Michelada (serves 1)

8 oz. Mexican beer (I like Pacifico)
1 oz. good-quality blanco tequila, such as Herradura
Juice of 1/2 a lime
4 dashes Tapatio or other Mexican chili sauce
pinch of kosher salt, more for the glass

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, stir to combine, and pour into a salt-rimmed glass.  Garnish with a wedge or slice of lime, if you like.

I’d love to know what you think of it…or what’s in your version of a michelada!

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