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Three Ways: Michelada Recipes

The Michelada seems to be on a quest to become the next brunch beverage of choice. With a typical build of beer and tomato juice, along with savory and spicy sauces, the Michelada strikes a strong resemblance to the Bloody Mary. However, its lower ABV and lighter character from the beer make it a drink worth riffing on regardless of the time of day. Here are three Michelada recipes that honor the traditional makeup while adding a bespoke flair.

La Contenta Michelada

In New York City, La Contenta features a gamut of Micheladas that stray far from the drink’s typical umami notes, instead incorporating a range of sweet and tangy ingredients. To differentiate the restaurant’s Bloody María from their Micheladas, partner and head mixologist Alex Valencia proposes a juicier, balanced rendition, drawing inspiration from childhood snacks in Michoacán, Mexico. “Where I come from, la tierra caliente, we had cucumbers growing everywhere, and would eat them with hot sauce and lime,” he explains.

3 oz. fresh orange juice
4 oz. fresh cucumber juice
4 oz. fresh lime juice
3 to 4 oz. Cholula or Valentina hot sauce
4 barspoons of salt (more or less depending on preference)
1 bottle Mexican lager

Glass: pint
Garnish: rim glass with Tajín and salt, lemon wheel

Add all ingredients except the lager to a pitcher. Add a scoop of ice and stir, then divide into four pint glasses rimmed with Tajín and salt. Pour a bottle of Mexican lager into each glass and top with a lemon wheel.

Alex Valencia, La Contenta, New York City

Mango Michelada

Albuquerque agave bar Los Conejos showcases several takes on Micheladas, in addition to their menu of easy-sipping Mexican lagers and cocktails. Their Mango Michelada is a sweet-salty version reminiscent of Vero Mango—a mango-flavored lollipop covered in chili powder—a staff favorite. Beverage director Giovanni Martinez likens the Michelada to botanas, communal Mexican snacks. “But instead of eating botanas while drinking beer, you make the beer the botana,” he says. “We like to stay in the general sphere of classic botana flavors, making Micheladas treats that are savory, spicy, and sour. This recipe hits all the spots.”

1 1/2 oz. mango purée
1 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/4 to 1/2 oz. Valentina hot sauce
Few pinches of salt
1 bottle Mexican lager

Glass: pint
Garnish: rim with mango chamoy and Tajín

Rim a pint glass with mango chamoy and Tajín and fill with ice. Add all the ingredients except the lager. Stir to combine and top with your favorite Mexican lager (Los Conejos prefers Carta Blanca). Keep a bottle of your preferred hot sauce on hand for an extra kick

Giovanni Martinez, Los Conejos, Albuquerque

All Day Baby’s Drama Michelada

“I think a great ‘michi’ should be crushable,” says Jorge Figueroa, bar manager at All Day Baby in Los Angeles. “The amount of spice should be just enough to complement the tomato and beer without burning your mouth. A hint of lime for that brightness, a couple of ice cubes, and your rim should help tie all of those flavors together.” The team at ADB strives for simplicity by leaning into tradition, only stepping out of character to add a smoky, salted rim representative of the chef who helped design their version, Chef “Drama” James Martinez. “It’s probably our most simple drink on the menu, but the one we are most proud of,” Figueroa says.

2 oz. of Clamato
1/2 oz. of “Michi Mix” (equal parts Maggi seasoning and Tapatio hot sauce)
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1 bottle Mexican lager

Glass: pint
Garnish: rim with chamoy and “Drama Salt,” serve with 2 lime wedges

Dip the rim of a cold pint glass into chamoy and then into some “Drama Salt” (6 parts Tajín, 2 parts smoked sea salt, 1 part chipotle powder). Add all the ingredients except the lager. Stir, then top with 1 bottle of Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo, or your favorite Mexican lager. Add 3 to 4 ice cubes and serve with lime wedges.

Jorge Figueroa, All Day Baby, Los Angeles

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