When I heard that beer cocktails were trending in this summer’s bar scene, I gagged a little. Imagining the taste of beer with hard liquor brought back unwelcome memories of unfortunate alcoholic mix-ups in my youth—drinking blunders that often united me with a toilet bowl at the end of an evening.
But after some serious investigation, I’m willing to admit my first impressions were misguided; beer cocktails can be quite tasty. And although Park Slope bars haven’t necessarily caught on to the inventive wave of mash-ups popping up in the city, they have perfected a refreshing summer classic: the michelada.
But before I get into who makes the best renditions of this classic mix of Mexican beer, lime, and spices, let me give you a quick rundown of some other staples of this burgeoning genre. Adventurous drinkers take note: If you’ve got a good bartender on your block and are bold enough to make a special request, there’s nothing stopping you from sipping on one of the following frosty delights.
Perhaps the only beer cocktail as well known as the michelada is the shandy, a ginger beer-lager concoction that’s often mixed with other tasty juices.
Then there’s a few less popular but equally tasty mixes: ale and lemonade marry to make lemon tops, stout and sparkling wine bubble into black velvet, and hefeweizen, orange juice, and amaretto combine to become lunchbox (a drink that is cheesily satisfying to order aloud, as in “I’m getting a lunchbox.”)
But if you’re experiment-weary, stick with the michelada, which is served at a slew of restaurants around the Slope, including , and . There are many varieties of the michelada; ingredients can range from a shot of tequila to a dash of hot pepper sauce. I favor Fonda’s simple take on the drink—no hard stuff, just your choice of Mexican beer, Worchester sauce, lime juice, a spicy sort of A1 sauce, and a rim decorated with salt and chili powder.
I prefer the freedom of choosing my beer and usually go with something light and cheap like Tecate. After all, these cocktails are meant to be sipped in a state of humidity-induced leisure, and the last thing you want is a competition between overwhelming flavors. (If you find yourself in Carroll Gardens, Diego’s version comes in a close second because they insist on using only Negro Modelo for their micheladas.)
Once you've got that frosty drink in your hand, all you'll want to do is take a long, salty sip and let your mind unwind. Salud!