Every bartender has a blind spot or two. I think knowing your weaknesses is a big part of being a good bartender. For instance, I’m not great a Tiki cocktails. I try my best, but I think they deserve a lot of attention to detail and studying that I just haven’t done yet. And sure, I don’t know the first thing about sports, but since we don’t have televisions at my bars I can hide it pretty well.
But one category of drink that I know I really suck at is beer cocktails. And it’s not that I think they require some level of deference that I haven’t been able to offer them, it’s just that I have never really seen the appeal, outside of the occasional Shandy.
“But Jeff”, my friends always told me, “a Michelada in the morning after a long night is the perfect hangover cure.” That’s as good a reason as any to make it work. And I tried, I really did. But when it comes to Micheladas there’s no real recipe, just a general idea of beer prepared with salt, spices, sometimes citrus, sometimes tomato or Clamato juice. I didn’t know where to begin, really.
So I started asking around. And this is where it does not suck to be me: When I have a question about drinks, I have access to some of the best bartenders in the world. It’s great, really, I can just pick up the phone and ask around. But, I do not hoard this information for myself, dear reader. I pursue knowledge so I can share it with you. So I did a little asking around. And everyone I talked to gave me the same name: Erick Castro.
I should have know to go to Erick in the first place. He’s good friend and and an outstanding bartender. Proprietor of Polite Provisions in San Diego, he is one of the most vocal proponents of the Michelada you’re ever going to find. And so with a little persuasion I was able to convince him to hand over his favorite recipe. And wouldn’t you know it: One try and I was hooked.
Erick Castro’s Michelada
• ¾ oz. lime juice
• ¾ 1:1 simple syrup
• pinch sea salt
• 2 orange slices
• ¼ oz. hot sauce (Tapatio recommended)
• 1 bottle Mexican beer (Modelo Especial recommended)
Muddle orange slices, lime juice, simple syrup, salt, and hot sauce together in a pint glass. Shake with ice cubes, and pour into a fresh chilled glass rimmed with salt. Top with beer and garnish with lime.
Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the bar manager at Pépé le Moko and Clyde Common, the acclaimed gastropub at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon. He is also author of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.
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