Thursday, December 3, 2009

Booze, out of season

This is going to seem all wrong:

It’s early December, the sky is grey, and the air is cold. I should be telling you about a hot, steamy, boozy drink, perfect for evenings spent under a blanket and on the couch, while watching Christmas movies on CBC. Instead, I’m going to share a recipe for a cold beer cocktail best enjoyed outside, in July, under the hot afternoon sun.

I discovered micheladas, or cervezas preparadas ("prepared beers") in Mexico City. To be fair, I arrived in January, and for the first month it did hover around freezing temperature at night. So I did learn to love them while I was wearing a jacket.

This recipe is also going to seem all wrong, simply because it’s a beer cocktail. I suspect some beer fans might consider them a travesty. Why add lime, salt and spice to a perfect good beer?, they might ask. I’ll tell you. Because it’s awesome. Maybe not to everyone, and probably not when it’s cold outside. But I don’t care. This beer is good.

(makes one cocktail)

1 cold Mexican beer, preferably Negra Modelo or Indio
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon (or less) Salsa Valentina (available in Latin America grocery stores)
A dash of Salsa Maggi or regular soy sauce
Ice cubes (if desired. Not necessary if you have a chilled beer glass)

for the rim preparation:
3 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon crushed/powdered piquín pepper

First, prepare the rim mix. Mix the salt and the piquín pepper in a small bowl, and sprinkle a spoonful onto a plate. Rub lime juice on the rim of a well chilled pint glass, and dip the glass into the salt mix.

For the drink, start with the "condiments". In your rimmed pint glass, add your ice, both salsas and the lime juice. Pour the beer (there might be a little left over in your bottle. Keep it to top off your drink), and gently mix the cocktail with a spoon. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.