chelada

Over the past six years, I’ve probably asked Linette to write for this site about 700 times. Today was the first time that she said, “Yes.” We were walking through the grocery store together and I pointed out a can containing Bud Light and liquified clam, asking if she’d review it. She, for some reason, leapt at the chance. Here, in her debut as an MM.com correspondent, I give you, Linette Lao:

Bud light & Clamato- Chelada.

Clamato is a beverage that usually exceeds my low expectations. It’s not as bad as it could be, and I am left pleasantly relieved when it’s not a fishy, clammy sludge. On the other hand, Bud Light is always as awful as I expect it to be– bland, but tolerable on a hot day, or if there’s an especially economical beer special at happy hour. What’s the cumulative effect of these two liquids, together, in a pint-sized can? Buy a four pack of Chelada at your local grocery store and you can find out.

Light on clamminess, heavy on salt, Clamato adds a mysterious, savory, broth-like context to the Bud Light. There’s an aftertaste of hot peppers, mild but warm in your belly. It’s a perplexing, but not exactly awful, beverage. A lighter version of a Bloody Mary, I think this would be good with brunch. It’s growing on me.

I’ve never heard of a beer drink like this. Apparently, Clamato and beer is hugely popular in Canada. (They call it a Caesar, and 250 million are served every year.) Clamato and beer is a variation of Mexico’s Michelada, a contraction of “Mi Chelada Helada” (My Frozen Beer). All of the versions I’ve found online involve hot sauce in cold beer, lime juice and salt. The Clamato is optional, a variation that may be popular, according to some, due to the belief in some Hispanic communities that clams have an aphrodisiac effect. If you prefer not to drink the mysterious, corporate, premixed version of this drink, you can make your own:

Kingchelada
10 dashes of Tapatio hot sauce
5 dashes worcestshire sauce
a squirt of lime juice
4 shakes of pepper
4 oz Clamato
pour in 12 oz of domestic beer

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8 Comments

  1. Ken
    Posted January 18, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    When we lived in Michigan, we would go
    camping with our friend Suzanne. She would
    make a bloody mary that was her dad’s recipe.
    She called it the Polish bloody mary. It sounds a lot
    like the recipe for the Kingchelada except that it
    was garnished with a pickle and had tomato juice
    as well as the clamato.

  2. egpenet
    Posted January 18, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Exactly!

    While in college in Minnesota, I’d visit classmates at their homes for holidays and long weekends. Several were from South Dakota in counties where only 3.2 beer was available. A “Bloody Mary” was V8 & Beer, usually the local beer or some national brand.

    The local beers were 3.2 and yet quite tasty. The “Bloody Marys” were awful.

  3. Brackache
    Posted January 18, 2009 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Is the general population of the US actually outclassing somebody?

  4. Posted January 19, 2009 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Now that’s a good blog post. If mark ever gets laid up for a couple weeks, hopefully Linette will grab the wheel. Not that many of mark’s posts aren’t also good.

  5. Steve Swan
    Posted January 20, 2009 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I eat everything with clam juice. I tote around a little bottle with me.

  6. West Cross is the Best Cross
    Posted January 20, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Saw these in when I was in Texas, had to try it. I agree with Linette’s acessment, better than you’d expect, probably not as bad as you might think/hope. Can you get these locally now? I have only seen them around town at Super Liqour IV in Ann Arbor in the rare beer section.

    Note on the Michelada, when I was in central Mexico the secret ingredient was “English Sauce”, pretty much Worchester sauce. Not as bad as you might think, and now a mainstay of our Cinqo de Mayo party.

  7. MST
    Posted January 20, 2009 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    So the wife gets to post recipes? Predictable.

  8. Posted February 28, 2009 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I’ve been drinking a modified version of this: Labatts with a bit of lime juice and salt. It’s surprisingly really good. I started making them for my wife as she dislikes beer but we were all out of everything else and had to make do. I also tried it with a bit of hot sauce and it was OK but better left alone with just lime juice and salt.

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