It’s indisputable that beer cocktails are having a moment. But even as we appreciate the more creative beer-topped libations out there, let’s take a step back to honor the true O.G. of beer cocktails—the Michelada.
You may have had Micheladas made with tomato juice or even Clamato. But in its simplest form, the Michelada needs none of that: just cold beer, lime, ice, a little something spicy, and a little something savory.
The trick is in getting the balance just right. We like our summer drinks tart and refreshing, so there’s quite a lot of lime juice in each cocktail. A salted rim, as we see it, is mandatory. But from there, let your imagination roam wild. Here are three simple Micheladas we’ve enjoyed recently; we’ve recommended beers to use for each, but any pale lager will do. Feel free to take these recipes as a template, and experiment freely.
The Classic Michelada
Odds are you already have most of the ingredients for a classic Michelada hanging around your kitchen. Beer, lime, hot sauce, Worcestershire—done. Tabasco works well for its intensity of heat; feel free to swap in your favorite hot sauce, though you might need to adjust the quantity. We love using the chili-lime salt Tajín as a glass rimmer, but good ol’ kosher salt will do just fine.
Unless you’ve got a supersized glass, a whole beer won’t fit. Allot one beer per Michelada and serve the rest alongside, so you can top up as you go.
Instructions: Rim your pint glass: Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, and gently press into Tajín (kosher salt works, too). Tap the glass to remove excess. Fill glass with ice, and add two ounces of fresh lime juice, a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and six dashes of Tabasco. Take a 12-ounce Tecate and pour in as much beer as will fit, and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve with the extra beer alongside.
The Green Michelada
Beer: Red Stripe
Cucumber and lime are a great base for any refreshing cocktail, and a Michelada is no exception. Muddle up some cucumber, add lime and beer, and go heavy on the green Tabasco, the perfect counterpart. There will be a few chewy cucumber bits hanging out in this Michelada, but there’s nothing wrong with snacking while you drink, right?
Instructions: Rim your pint glass: Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, and gently press into kosher salt. Tap the glass to remove excess. In the bottom of that glass, place two one-inch slices of cucumber, and muddle hard. Add ice, along with an ounce and a half of fresh lime juice, and two teaspoons of green Tabasco sauce. Stir well, then pour in as much Red Stripe as will fit, and stir again. Garnish with a long, thin cucumber slice, and serve with the extra beer alongside.
The Super-Savory Michelada
Beer: Tiger Beer
Those who like a truly savory Michelada sometimes go the Clamato route, but for this unorthodox Michelada, we’re using fish sauce for a huge hit of umami, and rimming the glass with furikake, a Japanese sesame-seaweed-dried fish mixture often sprinkled atop rice. (The lemongrass stalk is optional, but nicely aromatic.)
Instructions: Rim your glass: Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, and gently press into furikake. Tap the glass to remove excess. Fill glass with ice, and add an ounce of fresh lime juice, half a teaspoon of fish sauce, and a teaspoon of Sriracha. Open a 12-ounce Tiger Beer pour in as much beer as will fit, and stir. Garnish with a lemongrass stalk and serve with the extra beer alongside.
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