The beer cocktail: A case study (plus recipes)

Here’s a lovely recipe that makes four Micheladas from Sergio Ruiz, at Philly’s Xochitl:

12 ounces tomato juice (the fresher, the better; also, shun anything with additives, especially sweeteners)

Juice of 6 freshly squeezed limes

6 to 8 dashes Tabasco sauce

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Half of a small onion

2 tablespoons, plus 1/2 teaspoon, pequin chile powder

1/4 cup, plus 1/2 teaspoon, sea salt

4 bottles light Mexican beer

Combine the first five ingredients in a blender, along with half a teaspoon of pequin chile powder and half a teaspoon of salt. Blend until smooth (about a minute). Combine remaining chile powder and sea salt. Rim four chilled pint glasses with chile salt combination and fill with ice. Fill each glass 1/4 full with michelada mix and fill the remainder with beer. Garnish with a lime wheel, if you like.

Another beer cocktail that tastes like fall in a mug is the Beggar’s Banquet, by mixologist Aisha Sharpe. A lovely drink!

2 ounces Maker’s Mark bourbon

1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

3/4 ounce maple syrup

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Bottle of Old Speckled Hen beer (or most any malty, copper-toned beer)

Combine all ingredients, except beer, in a shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into highball glass (or other tall glass) filled with fresh ice. Top with beer and garnish (if you like) with an orange wheel.

Ask most folks about beer cocktails and chances are they’ll think (hazily) back to dropping shot glasses full of hooch into mugs of beer. Depth Charges, we called ‘em. And they hit about as hard. Suds as cocktail ingredients have come a long way since then.

Among my favorite beer cocktails these days are part of a broad category of concoctions from Mexico called the michelada. Like porn, the michelada is tough to define, but you know it when you see it. In general, the michelada is a kind of bloody mary with beer instead of gin or vodka.

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