The hair of the dog has been used to treat hangovers since time immemorial. But we say a nice stiff drink works better than dog hair, and if it’s cold and spicy, even better. Yet while the classic Bloody Mary has been a morning-after staple in America for quite some time, in Mexico, they have their own version of the piquant breakfast cocktail: the Michelada. Both involve tomato juice of some kind, savory sauces, a squirt of citrus, and a peppery kick. But which is best for battling through that antemeridian slog, and helping to get you back in the proverbial saddle?
First off, let’s be sure not to bad-mouth the Bloody Mary. At least one source claims its origins go back to 1921, at Harry’s Bar in Paris—one of Hemingway’s old haunts. And if a cocktail has been around for almost a century, it’s for a reason. The thick vegetable base helps settle the stomach, the vodka has a nice analgesic effect for that headache, and all that tang is a nice pick-me-up, to get the mental gears working again.
But we’re going to go with the Michelada on this, for a few reasons. First, because it’s made with cold beer instead of a harsh shot of Russian vodka, it’s a smoother means of easing your way back into drinking. Perhaps not as fast to take effect, but gentler on one’s constitution when it’s at its most vulnerable. Second, if the rim is salted, that’s a nice burst of electrolytes to replenish those that were lost in the previous night’s debauchery. And third, it’s frankly just more thirst-quenching. A big sip of Michelada is akin to a hit of some magical Aztec sports drink, while a comparable gulp of Bloody Mary is like free-basing gazpacho with Boris Yeltsin. It’s just not the same thing.
As for making a Michelada in the comfort of your own hangover, there are numerous variations, although here is a tried-and-true recipe that works most of the time.
2 – 3 oz fresh lime juice
a couple dashes Tabasco
a couple dashes worcestershire
1/4 oz dark soy sauce
4-6 twists of fresh ground pepper
Rim a 20-oz. glass with coarse salt.
Fill the glass halfway with ice cubes.
Add all ingredients over the ice, then pour beer.
Es muy bueno!