Happy Cinco de Mayo, y'all!
Today, millions of Americans will eat Mexican food and drink lots of tequila, unknowingly celebrating the Battle of Puebla. Having been to Puebla, I can attest to the fact that it is a lovely city, and I'm glad they triumphed. I'm also glad that my nation has co-opted this regional Mexican holiday and turned it in to a giant, lime-drenched party.
This year, Cinco de Mayo falls on a Sunday, so if starting your work week with a tequila hangover doesn't sound appealing, try substituting micheladas for margaritas!
Reputed to be a hangover cure, micheladas are a traditional Mexican cerveza preparada, essentially beer cocktails. Recipes vary, and many include a tomato juice/clam sauce blend called clamato, which I recently discovered is available at my neighborhood mainstream grocery store.
The Mexican culinary tendency to merge improvisation and finely-tuned technique is evident here, and tradition pretty much welcomes you to find your own favorite recipe.
Here's mine - it makes use of the rich, spicy, complex adobo sauce in which chipotle peppers are often packed. Along with the chipotle flavor, it adds a smokiness that is just wonderful. But, in the grand michelada tradition, feel free to tweak it!
Chipotle Micheladas with Adobo Sauce
1 bottle of Mexican lager (I used Cerveza Caguama)
2 oz tomato juice (only use low sodium if you need to for health reasons, or you may find yourself wanting to add salt)
1 1/4 tsp. adobo sauce
1/2 fresh lime
Salt, chili powder, and paprika for rimming the glass
Agave nectar (optional)
First, rim the glass. Drizzle some agave nectar in a small plate, and in another small plate, combine salt, chili powder, and paprika in whatever proportion you like. Lightly dip the rim of the glass into the agave nectar. Coat the rim, but try not to get too much or it will drip down the sides. Next, dip the rim of the glass in the salt and spice mixture. If you'd rather use lime juice to rim the glass, just run a slice of lime around the rim before dipping the glass into the salt and spices.