A picnic table of tacos, a lazy afternoon or a backyard barbecue: These summer domains are where the Michelada reigns.

The savory, Mexico-born mixture of beer, hot sauce, seasoning and lime achieves a remarkable ratio of effort (minimal) to refreshment (maximal).

That "seasoning" bit is where the flavor lies; it's also where bartenders across the country have been playing. These creative versions are labor-intensive: In New York, Mayahuel spikes Modelo with tomato and celery juices, celery salt, Worcestershire, cayenne and lime.

At Nopalito in San Francisco, beer is flavored with a sangrita of tomato, jalapeño and orange. Los Angeles' Diablo offers paletas (ice pops) of jalapeño, tomato and yuzu to dunk into drafts for a progressively flavored brew.

The simplest iterations are no less satisfying. The Michelada at Chicago's new Parson's Chicken & Fish captures the drink's elemental allure (get the recipe). Parson's equation features Modelo Especial, lime, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and a quirky umami jolt that many a Michelada maker swears by: Maggi Liquid Seasoning.

Guadalajara-made Valentina is Parson's preferred hot sauce. Any hot sauce will do, as long as it has flavor as well as heat. Get creative--without added effort--by playing with these varied options for adding fire.