The michelada at Tacos Morelos packs quite a chili-pepper wallop.
For eateries that lack a full liquor license, for whom beverages like wine and beer are the only options, reduced alcohol cocktails have long been a way to add excitement to the beverage list. But in the last few years, I’ve had my fill of saketinis, and other such unsatisfactory substitutions of simple fermented beverages for distilled spirits. But there are things you can to with beer and wine that don’t create the unfulfilled expectations that false cocktails do.
The michelada at Florencia 13 (a Cal-Mex spot) is slightly more delicately flavored than the Tacos Morelos version.
Beer can be successfully doctored without appearing to be a cocktail, improved if you will, and one example of this is the michelada, a Mexican formulation that adds hot sauce and citrus to the beer, and serves it engagingly in a tall glass with a salted rim. Some like it hot, and the beverage can be every bit as spicy as you want it. Yet the beer remains absolutely refreshing, and the hop flavors still shine through.
Not only does it work well with lagers and pilsners, but with other types of beer, too (though I’d hesitate to try it with, say, a saison). You can successfully make them at home, and they turn a beer into a flavor adventure. It really doesn’t seem quite like a beer anymore, but like something conceived in a parallel universe.
The recipe is infinitely expandable, and you can use the hot sauce of your choice (or make your own), along with any kind of lemon, lime, blood orange, or even grapefruit. The one I had recently at Florencia 13, in fact, had Clamato in it.
Here is Guy Fieri’s recipe, in case you need a crib.
94-13 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, Queens
185 Sullivan Street