I was first introduced to the michelada one summer in Corpus Christi. I grew up on the bayfront, but I'd never learned to surf, so a few years back, I decided it was time. My first lesson had nothing to do with the board or the waves though. Instead, my instructor handed me a michelada and explained that this is what you drink while surfing in the gulf.
I liked it immediately, but I've always been a big fan of bloody marys and eating salsa out of the jar with a spoon. When I tried to introduce micheladas to some of my friends in the Midwest, they were less enthusiastic. And I get it. A medley of beer, tomato juice, hot sauce and seafood is not for everyone.
If you're one of the
brilliant few people who, like me, love an-ice cold bloody beer on a hot day, then this is the list for you. Check out my favorite michelada spots in town (in no particular order), and let me know where you go to get your fix!
Taqueria Arandas I get the feeling that this isn't really a place where you go sit at the bar and nurse a michelada or two (like I do) instead of ordering food, but sometimes you just want to drink lunch. The micheladas at Taqueria Arandas are heavy on the beer, and you have a choice of draft or bottle. I stick with Modelo Especial, which I highly recommend. The michelada mix is light -- combined with the beer it's almost the color of a Shirley Temple -- but it packs a spicy punch. I also detected lots of fresh lime juice and pepper. It's a great choice if you're in the mood for a high-alcohol michelada.
Captain Tom's Seafood and Oyster Bar Captain Tom's is out near Cypress, so it's a bit of a haul for me. But it's totally worth it for the cheap micheladas and fresh seafood. The restaurant is in the shape of a boat, and there's not a lot of space inside to sit down and eat. If you're able to squirm your way up to the bar in the middle, you'll see that nearly everyone in the joint is drinking a michelada of some sort. Many choose to pair the spicy tomato juice with Bud Light, which I, personally, feel is disrespectful to the michelada. It must be made with Mexican beer. Captain Tom's will give you a bottle of Corona and a mug partially filled with Cajun Chef hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and lime juice and allow you to add the beer as you please. The best part? If your michelada gets too weak as you add beer, all of the ingredients are sitting out on the counter. Just whip up some more, and you're good to go!
Beaver's Though Beaver's is pretty well known for its epic brunch offerings, the cocktail menu is pretty awesome as well. Micheladas aren't listed on the cocktail menu, but the bartenders are happy to make them. You can choose which type of beer you'd like (I went with Modelo), and they add the delicious homemade bloody mary mix. The bartender explained to me that the bloody mary mix features "bruised celery," which they knock around a bit with the bottom of a cocktail shaker. That gets mixed with tomato juice, garlic, lime juice, wasabi (instead of the more traditional horseradish) and Big Daddy's Hot Sauce. It's topped off with a salt and pepper rim for just the right amount of kick. Also, since Beaver's uses actual tomato juice in the micheladas, you can totally tell yourself that they're healthy.
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Connie's Seafood Market & Restaurant This is another example of a super simple michelada done well. Connie's micheladas feature whatever beer you choose (again, always Mexican beer, people!), hot sauce, lime juice, salt and pepper. Connie's actually bottles its homemade michelada sauce because it's so good people want to be able to make Connie's micheladas at home. If you ask them to jazz it up for you a little though, they'll throw some shrimp or a raw oyster in the bottom of your glass to marinate while you sip. The best thing about Connie's micheladas are that they pair well with pretty much everything on the menu. I recommend the fried whole tilapia and shrimp fried rice.
Ninfa's Ninfa's micheladas aren't as spicy as some of the others in town, but they certainly are refreshing. They're served in a tall glass that holds a full beer (as opposed to other michelada glasses that require you to pour in a beer gradually or give you less than a full serving), and the glass is rimmed with some sort of spicy, nutty mix. The guy behind the bar either couldn't or wouldn't divulge what exactly it's made of, but I got salt, chile powder and sesame seeds from it. Were I to order another Ninfa's michelada -- and let's be real, it's going to happen -- I'd ask for a little extra hot sauce in the mix. But if you're a michelada newbie, absolutely start here.