If you could rank career types in order of their groups ability to drink I believe journalists would be at the top. And if there is one subgroup of journalists that could drink the most it would be the members of the alternative journalism crowd. For years I have been part of this elite group of miscreants and at this years convention held in Little Rock, Arkansas there was little evidence to disprove my theory. But along with the ability to empty a bar of all wine, beer and spirits, which nearly happened at the host hotels lobby bar, along with the power to drink comes the inevitable powerful side effects.
Besides missing most of the morning seminars, collectively the hotel groans in one large hangover every morning. The drinking usually starts early as most experienced alternative journalists heal the prior nights wounds with a little hair of the dog. Usually, this comes in the form of Bloody Marys, the tomato and vodka concoction that is usually more of a meal than a drink. But other variations of a theme are found passing parched lips. There are those that substitute gin. Theres the bloody bull in which beer is substituted. A Bloody Maria has Tequila. Theres the simple beer with a dash of hot sauce. Then theres a new one I have added to my arsenal, the Michelada.
On the day of my departure I had created quite a storm in my head from the previous nights activities when a cornucopia of liquids passed my lips from the hosted after party, to the hotel bar, to Midtown. Shots of Jagermeister, vodka on the rocks at 5 a.m. and a beer toast to the sunrise make for a powerful mix that will make one wonder if youve been struck by lightening when you try to arise the next day, actually just a few hours later. Thankfully my Arkansas tour guide knew the right place to fix me up. She warned me that we might be the only exclusively English speaking patrons on a Sunday morning and I knew that was the place we had to go. A big plate of chicken enchiladas, hot salsa and a beer would fix me right up before my flight returning home.
Then I noticed the strange brown drink at the next table in what looked like a squashed margarita glass. It was big and dark and mysterious. She informed me that it was a Michelada and I had to have one of those. The first taste is one of pure sodium. From the salted rim to the soy and Worchester sauce your tongue recoils at the variety of flavors. Then you notice the lime juice, Tabasco, spices and finally the carbonization of a beer behind the scenes. It took a few sips to adjust to the saltiness, but after sipping about half of it down, my hangover was beginning to wane.
If you search on the Internet you may find varying recipes for the cocktail. A company making a mix out of McAllen, Texas has tomato juice, but the version at Taqueria Karina and Café in Little Rock had none.
In a survey of online recipes the common ingredient is beer, Tabasco and limejuice. Quite a few recipes include tomato or Clamato juice, but after an impromptu survey in my home bar we settled in on a sans-tomato recipe.
1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Worchester Sauce
Juice from one lime
A couple dashes of hot sauce (Tabasco is nice but a good Habanero sauce is killer)
Black pepper to taste
A couple dashes of Maggi seasoning
A dark Mexican beer such as Negro Modello.
Mix all ingredients except beer over ice in a salt-rimmed glass, then top off with the beer.
When finished, make another.