Friday, July 6, 2012

The ‘Bloody Mary’ of the Hispanics

A beer, even ice cold, is not enough for Hispanics, and while some claim that blondes have more fun, as far as the popular beverage, the opposite is sometimes the case.

It is simply impossible, especially during extremely hot weather, to ignore a michelada, or its next of kin, the chelada.

The barley flavor is enhanced with little tangy Mexicans lemons – proof that “good things come in small packages”. Salt, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of soy sauce,black pepper, kitchen seasonings and a bottle of Mexican beer make it a favorite beverage among Hispanics. This explosion of color and flavor might be a kind of Bloody Mary, but on this side of the Atlantic pond.

Beer is not just a component of European cuisine; it is a Hispanic cultural component. Take onefact from history: Only 20 years after the fall of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec center of power, the Spanish conquerors established the first brewery in

The permit for this beer-making establishment was granted in 1542 by King Charles V to Alonso de Herrera – with a condition: that he send Spain a third of the profit from thesale of this beverage. Production was not very successful in the first years because the authorities penalized excessive drinking, and pre-Hispanic alcoholic drinks were deeply rooted in popular taste.

Beer is the alcoholic beverage that is most widely consumed worldwide. Hispanics drink it more than any other alcoholic beverage, including wine. According to a study published in July 2011 by the online magazine América Económica, beer production in Latin America in 2010 stood at 300 million hectoliters, 4 percent above 2009. The main beer-producing countries are Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela, which account for 38, 28 and 10 percent of production in the region, respectively.
Among Hispanics, those who consume the most are Venezuelans, with a surprising 84.2 liters percapita each year. Mexicans are second with 51.5 liters per capita.

“I like the Russian style,” said Manuel Preciado, a cook at a Mexican restaurant downtown. “It islike the chelada, but it is made ​​with a grapefruit soft drink, salt and lots of lemon.”
Despite the many versions, which vary according to the altitude where it comes from, the micheladas or Mexican cheladas consist of mixing beer with lemon, tomato juice,lots of ice and a salt-rimmed glass.
“There are people that add chamoy, tabasco sauce and even oyster sauce,” said José Landaeta, a native of the state of Guerrero in Mexico. “It is consumed that way particularly by those on the coast.”
Landaeta said there are Cuban-style cheladas in which beer is mixed with tropical juices. “But that is for women. Men should drink it only with tomato.”
To battle the heat,one need just embrace the right traditions and customs. There one finds, among many other things, the chelada, which is both a formula to cool down immediately and a sort of antidote for the excesses of the night before. Even  if there is no heat or hangover, then one can resort to the excuse of the flavor – the flavor of culture.

The origin of the Michelada
One popular version for its originpoints to the city of San Luis Potosi, specifically to the Club Deportivo Potosino, where Michel Esper used to order a beer with lemon, ice and salt in aglass known as a chabela. The drink was similar to a lemonade made with beer.This eventually led to the name of the drink. Over time, members of the clubbegan asking for a lemonade like Michel’s, calling it “Michelada.”

Photo by Juan Miret

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