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  • Susan Welsh

Una michelada por favor

If you're a beer drinker who doesn't know what a Michelada is, make it your business to become familiar with this cerveza preparada, one of the best summer cocktails around. The easiest way to describe it? Essentially, it's a beer Bloody Mary. In fact, when I encounter a bartender who doesn't know what a Michelada is, I just ask for an ice-filled glass, a few tablespoons of Bloody Mary Mix, a squeeze of lime and a Mexican Lager poured into a glass. Close enough.

An authentic Michelada is typically made with beer, lime juice, and a salt rimmed glass. To make it a Michelada Especial you additionally add a dash of your favorite hot sauce, and a dash of some kind of salty sauce like soy, Worcestershire, or Maggi Sauce. My introduction to this icy cold refreshment and summer staple is from Pati Jinich's cookbook, Pati's Mexican Table. And, yes, I mention Pati often in blogs and tweets because she's been a tremendous inspiration--as both chef and food historian, generously sharing her talents and heritage with her fans.

While I'm not diehard enough to drink beer for breakfast, would willingly drink one (or two) for brunch--any day. Here are some creations worth making at your next brunch party, or on any given Sunday.

This season, I'll be using this great recipe, from The Pastry War in Houston, TX. It includes directions for a homemade Michelada mix--exactly what I need for my pool cocktail bag, when I join the girls for an afternoon fiesta after our laps. Or after their laps and my afternoon reading on a lounge chair beside the pool.

Micheladas are the perfect hot weather cocktail-- heady foam, sour lime punch and a kick of spice. The earthy, vegetable base of the tomato juice makes it taste kind of healthful and will even satiate an afternoon hunger pocket, especially if served with a cherry tomato/pickle garnish. I'm testing various brands of organic tomato juices and homespun, handcrafted mixes in an effort to perfect my go-to drink. Bring me your Jersey grown tomatoes, your homemade pickles, your jalapeños, your hot sauces, and your favorite salts. I'll be in the kitchen experimenting (and sipping) all summer long. Salud!

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