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The Michelada, a simple, savory, spicy summer drink
TT: Michelada

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.

Mayahuel 304 E. 6th St. New York NY 10003 212-253-5888 Nopalito on Broderick 306 Broderick St. San Francisco CA 94117 415-535-3969 Nopalito on 9th 1224 9th Ave. San Francisco CA 94122 415-233-9966 Diablo 3129 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90026 323-666-4666 Parson's Chicken & Fish 2952 W. Armitage Ave. Chicago IL 60647 773-384-3333
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