Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Michelada & Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  This holiday celebrates the Mexican army's surprise victory over the French back in 1862.  But you knew that, right?  Of course not!  I didn't either!  No one does.  That doesn't stop us from celebrating - nor should it - I say.

In honor of the occasion, we're drinking the Michelada, pictured here:

The great thing about Cinco de Mayo is the introduction, bit by bit, of Mexican culture into the everyday lives of average Americans.  Maybe your office merely celebrates the holiday with a Mexican-food pitch-in, likely featuring bad Americanized versions of Mexican dishes at that.  Still, it's a start.  Americanized chips and salsa could mean full blown al pastor tacos 20 years down the road.  Progress, right?

Too often, our only exposure to our neighbors to the south are by way of news stories of the bad.  Drugs, immigration problems, smog in Mexico city, gang violence.  This is a travesty.  There is much to celebrate from Mexico culturally, and each state has its own unique character. 

As much as we here at The Amateur Mixologist like to try drinks of various cultures, we should take a brief moment to read about various cultures too.  In this case, learn something about Mexico that we didn't already know.  I will gladly assist you in this regard by offering you the following options to read into a bit further (who said The Amateur Mixologist wasn't a full service operation):

-  Did you know that Mexico has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites of any country in the world with 29?  You can read all about them - here.

-  Mexico celebrates its independence day from Spanish rule on September 16th.  Maybe it's worth making a variation of the Michelada on that day.

-  Academy of San Carlos is the first art school and art museum in all of the Americas.  It's a beautiful building too.

-  Mexico has an incredibly diverse range of musical styles and traditions - in other words, it's not just ranchera music.

Check one of the above out - it'll be your cultural mitzvah for the day.

Alright, like any good moment of culture, it should be closely followed by alcohol!  What, you don't drink after museums too?  Maybe it's just me.  Next trip, go musuem-then-beer combo, and you'll be well rewarded.

The Ultimate Bar Book, page 95

Michelada #1

Lime wedge
Kosher salt
12 ounces chilled Mexican lager (such as Pacifica or Corona)

Rub the rim of a chilled Pilsner glass with the lime wedge and rim with kosher salt.  Fill the glass with ice, squeeze the lime wedge over the ice and drop it in.  Slowly pour in the beer.

I'm so confident that you know what the above recipe would look like that I'm not even going to bother with a picture of beer, salt and lime.  Instead, I'll show you a picture of our intrepid Official Mascot, lying on the floor.

There are many other Michelada recipes available, both in The Ultimate Bar Book and elsewhere around the publishing world and internet.  This one though, is the basic, most commonly available recipe of the bunch.

For this recipe, I used Sol beer, a light Mexican lager.  Use whatever Mexican beer you like, and don't get hung up on finding a lager if you'd prefer something else.  Hell, if Mexican beer isn't at hand, use whatever lager is nearby.  The beer is poured over ice, so whatever subtle nuances exist between the beers won't really matter. 

This Michelada tastes exactly as you'd expect - like a refreshing beer with a salty sweet addition to the mix.  It's very refreshing, and extremely easy to make, again and again.  There's something to be said for the ease with which one can make a particular drink.  Sure we could wax poetic about 20 ingredient drinks, but why bother if it only takes 3 to make something that tastes great (or two, in the case of Parfait Amour and lemon juice - or for that matter - one, with scotch).

Enjoy the holiday today, and if you see a Frenchman, rub it in their face with a "Viva el México!"  I kid, I kid.  We love the French!  So much so in fact, that we're planning on making the French 75 in the very near future.

Until then, salud!
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