Perpetually belated when it comes to developing a more mature palette, it took quite a few years of healthful bites before I began to integrate the tangy, toothsome and tantalizingly tart hangover cure so aggressively appelated the Bloody Mary into my regular drinking regimen. Always suspicious when it comes to combinations of sweet and savory, and wary of a drink that, crafted in the hands of an amateur, becomes little more than vodka-enhanced ketchup, it took a truly deft mixer to make any combination of alcohol and vegetable juice appealing. So when online recipes, some of my favorite cocktail columnists and menus across our fair city began sprouting a litany of invigorating veggie/liquor combos, I knew this would have to be a challenge gamely taken. The trick, when homecrafting a veggie juice cocktail, is finding that immediately more important balance between bitter and sweet. Although true fans of more frank tastes might like straight veggie juice, more masterful mixologists suggest tempering your cocktails with fruit juices and other sweet notes much like you would a smoothie. Beet juice, not only a bearer of healthful antioxidants and a courageous crimson color that looks gorgeous in any glass, becomes a truly amazing additive when combined with grapefruit juice. Looking for a more fibrous alternative? Spinach and kale, when juiced with an apple, become a superfood all their own when topped with tequila. And if you’re in the market for a mixture that will truly get people talking, look no further than Brooklyn’s almost terminally hip Pickleback, a shot of any caliber whiskey immediately followed by a similar amount of pickle brine. Seemingly sickening, the brine’s acidic load almost immediately cuts the caustic burn of lower-price whiskeys. How…refreshing.
Much more than Latin America’s take on the Bloody Mary, when it comes to that singularly savory, salty, tangy and tasty concatenation known the Spanish-speaking world over as a Michelada, there seems no crystal-clear answer as to its origins. Often attributed to trendsetting hotspot and classical sports club Deportivo Potosino in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, lore-collectors state that regular barfly Michel Esper used to ask for beer with salt, lime, ice and a straw in a chabela, or lemonade glass, as a hangover cure. Impressed by Esper’s seemingly instantaneous recovery, other regulars began asking for “Michel’s Lemonade,” or, Michelada, when they too were suffering the morning after. So is it fact, fiction or just boozy lore? There’s only one way to find out. Cheers!