It’s hard to find a beer-based cocktail more beloved and famous than the Michelada. Like many other drinks, its origins are cloudy, though it very likely came from the Mexican tradition of serving light lagers with lime and salt; its name loosely translates to “my cold beer.” Its most famous application is midday football watching parties, paired with all the obligatory game day snacks like hot wings, sliders and ribs.
While recipes often include tomato juice or Clamato, like a beer-based Bloody Mary or Bloody Caesar, more traditional versions omit the tomato. Instead, a potent mix of hot sauce, salt, Worcestershire sauce and citrus enhances the drink. The El Rey del Patio, from bartender Lucien Conner at Irvine, California’s Puesto hews more traditional. Basically the cocktail version of salsa verde, this riff gets its tangy, smoky, spicy flavor from blistered jalapeños and tomatillos, while cucumber and lime add brightness and a fresh note.
Prepping the charred jalapeños is where the bulk of the work for this drink takes place. Though a little intimidating, it’s not too hard to do: Simply slice the peppers in half lengthwise and, optionally, core and remove the seeds. You’ll want to wear rubber or latex gloves during this procedure to avoid any errant burns. Once prepped, grill skin-side-up under a broiler, and, when cooled, peel the blackened skin off carefully with gloved hands or an implement. Roasting the peppers in this way helps soften some of the raw acerbic qualities and intense heat. Retaining the seeds will give the drink more kick, so adjust as preferred.
Once you’ve made the puree for the drink it will stay for a few days in the fridge, so it’s advisable to make it the day before entertaining. Open a fresh bottle of beer for each drink, and serve the remainder of the bottle next to the glass so that your guests can refill as wished. The drink becomes more refreshing and beer-forward as it goes, which is part of the pleasure of any Michelada.
- 4 cucumbers
- 2 tomatillos
- 3 jalapeños
- 3/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 3/4 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup Tabasco green jalapeño sauce
- 6 bottles Modelo Especial beer
- Salt and lime wedges, for rimming
- Garnish: Salt rim
Peel the cucumbers and husk the tomatillos, then roughly chop both.
Grill the jalapeños until blistered and slightly blackened. Peel the skins once cooled.
Add the cucumbers, tomatillos, jalapeños, lime juice, black pepper and hot sauce into a blender, and blend until smooth.
Strain into a large container.
Rim 6 highball glasses with salt and fill with ice.
Fill each glass with 5 ounces of the mixture, and top with beer.
Serve each drink with the leftover beer for refills.