Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Happy Hour: The Backyard BBQ Michelada

Do you have a grownup kitchen? When I was young and picturing what my adult apartment would look like, I imagined a wine rack, a stocked pantry, a crisper full of fresh produce, and probably some cheese with a fancy name I'd pronounce perfectly and with a French accent.

I got the wine rack right, but at the moment the rest of my kitchen only holds about 25 bottles of alcohol, apple juice, chocolate- and peanut butter-covered pretzels (oh yes), string cheese, and condiments. I also have a large bag of potatoes that have been there since around the time I moved in. (How long do potatoes last? They look strangely unchanged from the outside.)

At any given time, I may have a few additional bottles of juice for drink-making purposes — the apple juice is for that apple-infused spiced rum I made a while back — but for the most part, it's a sad sight. And the weird thing about condiments? You never run out. Really. You only have to buy mustard like three times in your life, total. Try to think back to the last time you bought mustard — the same bottle has probably been with you through college graduation, your cross-country move, and your first five apartments. Mustard is your oldest friend.

It's also an ingredient in Jim Meehan's (of New York's PDT) Backyard Barbecue Michelada cocktail, along with pickle brine and honey. Which is perfect because even if you don't have a fridge full of condiments, you might find yourself this weekend at a Fourth of July BBQ, which will probably already have all the ingredients this recipe calls for, and you can just be like, oh BRB, just going to grab a few odds and ends from this table here and blow your mind. If you're still stuck on the words "mustard and pickle brine" and nodding politely now until I look away so you can turn to your friends to be like oh my god, have you noticed Diana has been super weird lately? I think she just told us to drink mustard, I get it! I will admit I had my apprehensions too, but I trust Jim Meehan with my liver, and I wouldn't steer you wrong, so get to it:

Backyard Barbeque Michelada
6 oz. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
1.5 oz. Black Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky
.5 oz. white grapefruit juice
.5 oz. honey syrup (combine two parts clover honey to one part water in a pot, and simmer and stir until honey dissolves. Let cool and bottle)
.25 oz. Claussen Dill Pickle Brine
1/4 Tsp. Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard

Directions: Add everything but the beer to a mixing glass. Fine strain into a chilled, black pepper-rimmed pilsner glass filled with ice. Stir, top with beer, and garnish with a Claussen dill pickle spear.

Previously: Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum.

Diana Vilibert is a freelance drinker and writer. She really wants some advice about those potatoes.

Image courtesy of Black Grouse

58 Comments / Post A Comment

Hot mayonnaise

I love the ingredient list, but what does it taste like?


@Hot mayonnaise I've had one that is a mix of modelo and lime - it was spicy but really yummy.


25 bottles of alcohol, where do you live on a ranch or something? If the potatoes aren't growing little arms they're fine.

elysian fields

@shenannies One time I moved into a place formerly occupied by slobs. They left behind a basket on top of the fridge with a long green leafy thing sticking out of it. We assumed it was a potted plant. Later we took it down and discovered that it was an ancient potato growing a 4-foot-long root.


@shenannies Somewhere, Jolie just sensed this and shuddered.


@parallel-lines Well I have nothing edible in my apartment, I just know from living with barbarians when I was younger.

Ten Thousand Buckets

@shenannies Potatoes grow arms really quickly in my kitchen for some reason. They'll have little sprouts in a week. (If the potato itself is still firm, I just pick the arms off and proceed.)


um, my kitchen is a bump-in. i have less than 2 feet of counter space, all of which is taken up by a microwave and dish rack.

Ten Thousand Buckets

@becky@twitter Most of my food lives on a bookshelf in the hall.


@becky@twitter Do you live in my apartment??? There are dents in the front of the microwave from pretending I have a real kitchen and trying to chop vegetables.


I am just curious enough to make this and have someone else take the first sip.


doesn't a michelada, by definition, need to have clam or tomato juice in it?


@almostcrime I've argued this one many a' times - I aggree with you, but apparently there are different versions and it's very much a regional thing: "In Mexico, Micheladas are considered a good remedy for hangovers.There are different types of variations of Micheladas; for example in Mexico City, the most common form of a Michelada is prepared with beer, lime, salt, and hot sauce/or chili. Some do add slices of orange, but this step is optional."

This looks good but it doesn't technically seem like a michelada. The Sierra Nevada pale ale is the most perplexing addition to this recipe, for me at least. Oh, and pickle brine in a bloody mary (get the McClures pickles) = heavenly!


@almostcrime I think you're right. A Cubana Michelada has stuff like Worcestershire sauce in it. This recipe sort of reminds me of that? I don't know. I love Micheladas in Mexico. You can drink them all night and then get up at the crack of dawn and surf the next day.


@parallel-lines soo... is my Canadian 'caesar' actually just called a michelada?? I've been told I can't order my most beloved-hangover curing drink anywhere else but maybe all I need to be doing is asking for a michelada! hmmmmm!


@acameo Hmm...no, it's a little different. Caesars have clamato in them - micheladas sometimes do and they sometimes don't, depending on regionalities/preference of bartender. I love clamato, and michelada w/ clamato is aces.

Americans got no love for the clam juice. It bums me out, big time.


@parallel-lines Anything with pickle juice=hangover cure.


@parallel-lines so true! canadians love their clam juice. a brunch place near me has ceasars as well as bloodys, AND a bloody made with tequila. seems sacrilegious but is delicious. also i should clarify that the only kind of michelada i've ever had is the bud light version in a can, so i am absolutely no expert.


@parallel-lines aaaah i see. i do love the clamato. i usually have a jug in the fridge, and they accompany me on most camping trips too. every time is the right time for a caesar!


Right? My love for clamato is the source of much mirth amongst my friends. This recipe here sounds insane, but I've never met a michelada I didn't like...


@almostcrime Yeah, word. In Texas, a michelada is basically a bloody mary with beer in place of vodka. Maybe slightly spicier. The convenience stores here sell 40-oz cans of Bud Light and Clamato, specifically manufactured by Bud for the making of micheladas. Do y'all have those in other states?


@Xora We've got those michelada cans in California!

Around the Bay Area, a michelada can mean tomato or no, and the tomatoless version sometimes goes by just "chelada." My go-to version involves lager, ruby grapefruit juice, hella salt and a clean-flavored, spicy hot sauce.


@arletterocks Oh, you're so right! Hence, the Miller Chelada can. I didn't even relate that to micheladas in my mind.


@Xora Yes, and they're terrible! I tried one and ran home and made a real michelada to get that scary pink beer taste out of my mouth.

Clare Boyle@facebook

I bought mustard 2 days ago! I always seem to be buying more mustard. Does this mean I'm consuming mustard at a faster rate than the general mustard-eating population? Also, ketchup sucks.


@Clare Boyle@facebook I ran out of salt a month or so ago. Do you know how weird *that* is? Who runs out of salt?


@annepersand I run out of salt! And mustard! Even though I have like four kinds! Although the mustard is my boyfriend's fault, because he puts it on everything. The running-out-of-salt is mine, for actually cooking, I guess?


@xx-xx-xx I was reading this thinking indignantly, I run out of mustard all the time! But I eat it every day so, that makes sense.


@Clare Boyle@facebook I always have a schmorgasboard of mustards at my house: dijon, french, brown, beer, whole grain. These things are important!

the angry little raincloud

@Clare Boyle@facebook
What's that unmistakable feeling you've had that mustard before?
Dijon vu.


I know it's not technically a michelada, but one time I made awesome bloody mary mix with clam juice in it and left vodka/beer for people to make their own drink (bloodies or micheladas) with good garnishes (lemons/limes, Rick's Picks green beans, olives) and it worked out pretty great.


Your kitchen sounds a lot like my kitchen - all I keep regularly is string cheese, condiments and alcohol. And interestingly enough, was once given a five pound bag of potatoes by a guy I was seeing (how did I ever let him go?) I do think they eventually went bad though.


That sounds delicious! Really different from a traditional michelada, but an interesting take on it nonetheless. For a more traditional one, take your favorite Mexican beer and pour about two thirds of it into a glass rimmed with salt and chili powder. Add lime juice, Clamato, your favorite hot sauce, a little Worcestershire, and a shake of salt. It's basically a bloody mary with beer. Oh yeah, and add ice, too.


I'm really impressed by your younger-you dream kitchen. Pretty sure my dream kitchen as a young involved pizza rolls as far as the eye could see. and cake. (my parents didn't let me or me sister eat junk food when we were small.)
anyway, suffice to say that my current kitchen is very similar to yours. though potatoes haven't really gone "bad" until they have little stubs (or more!) coming out of them.

Hot mayonnaise

@la snarkette: I sincerely hope that you are not referring to cake as junk food.

Noelle O'Donnell

Oh god, so you can't eat potatoes when they start growing roots/arms/whatever those creepy things are? My mom would just cut those off and go onward with the cooking.


@feverdreams I have, to no ill-effect. At that point I definitely peel them first, and if they have too many root-things I toss 'em. The real sign that they're going bad is when they get really soft in their raw form (even then they seem to fine sometimes). Potatoes have an amazing ability to stay fresh, which is probably why they're still around today; the Spanish conquistadors who saw the Inca eat them were not fans, and the cultivation of potatoes only continued so that there was something to feed the workers in the silver mines.


As good a place as any:

Friend of mine from Southie had a mom who was a terrible cook (shocker). She boiled chicken, and never quite...enough. One day at a family dinner, a new Aunt was at the table. And when she served the chicken, she says "We can't eat this - it's pink in the middle!"

Friend's Dad: "I've been eating Mary's pink chicken for years and never got sick once!"


@leon.saintjean ew. I once heard a guy on the phone talking about how he liked his chicken "rare"?? WTF.


@DrFeelGood Mmmm Chicken Sashimi


@leon.saintjean And with that, I now have two poultry-related words to refer to vaginas as when speaking with 14 year old mini-dudes (which is a thing I never do. I'd probably be the worse Big Brother volunteer ever. Although now I kind of wanna try it to find out.)


There is a wine rack in my kitchen, but it only ever has wine on it for 10 minutes at a time.


Oh you had me until Claussen. I'm not saying you've gotta get artisanal pickles, but something kosher-er maybe? Bubby's? Batampte? Are pickle backs always Claussen? Is this some dirty bartender secret? #picklefanatic


@Layla I think picklebacks are usually McClures, which are AWESOME.


@parallel-lines Yes, McClure's are the business. That's good news.


@parallel-lines Yes, McClure's are the business. That's good news.


@Layla Oooh Ba-Tempte half sours are heavenly! But I say if you're going to make cocktails at home involving pickle juice, get yourselves to a proper pickle store, or a deli selling them in the barrels.


@Layla See, but the thing is, not all of us live in places with all variety of wonderful pickles. We may pick up special pickles when we travel to the big city, but then we love pickled things, so we tend to eat those special pickles too quickly to reserve for drinks. So Claussens end up being the small-town girl's best bet.


This is just ruining a perfectly good Sierra Nevada. Which is the Champion of All Beers In Time and Space.


Tecate, lime, kosher salt, Sriracha, fancy glass from thrift store. That spells Michelada / my dinner for the last week and a half.

I'm a little bloated, but it's okay.


this sounds salty and sweet and wholly delicious, and the perfect cocktail to use up the half empty growler of IPA i've had languishing in my fridge.

Tammy Pajamas

A chef from Puerto Rico told me that michelada is a contraction of "mi chela helada." Chela is apparently slang for beer and helada means icy. My icy beer. I like the sound of that.

Tammy Pajamas

@Tammy Pajamas I should note that I've never fact checked the chela thing. And I'm extremely gullible.


I'm a fan of Michelada's...hm...maybe I will make some this weekend.


What is this beautiful thing????????? I have never heard of these. They sound perfect. Auuuuugh why is it noon/time for a work meeting.


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