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The Michelada, a simple, savory, spicy summer drink

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.