Last night was a blur and this morning is shrouded in a haze, but hey, we're not judging. We're just here to help. As a public service to the hungover, every week we track down the best bartenders in America and ask them to share their favorite hair-of-the-dog remedies. This week, the perfect marriage of a Michelada and a Bloody Mary.
THE SPECIALIST: Eric Johnson, co-owner and head barkeep at Sycamore Den in San Diego's Normal Heights
HIS ELIXER: MichelaDen
ITS ORIGINS: A Michelada is a type of cerveza preparada: Beer spiked with lime juice and hot sauce and rimmed with salt. The decades-old drink is popular across Latin America, especially in Mexico. Or as Johnson says, "The Michelada is definitely one of Mexico's go-to beverages in the morning."
ITS HEALING POWERS: Johnson's version, the MichelaDen (pronounced mee-cha-la-den), is a mix between a crisp Michelada and a hearty Bloody Mary. "I tried to make something in the middle that people would want to drink to get them over their hangover," Johnson says. "Something strong but not so strong that they're falling out of their chair again."
Along with the Michelada- and Bloody-Mary-inspired ingredients (lime juice, tomato-based hot sauce, celery and cucumber), Johnson adds tequila blanco and Mexican lager. After which, he rims the glass with the spicy, salty Mexican seasoning mix Tajin. "Beer cocktails are still fairly new and people get thrown off seeing booze and beer in the same drink," he says. "But as soon as one goes out, everyone starts ordering them."
It doesn't hurt that the savory and salty nature of the drink makes it great for curing a pounding head. "Salt is such an important factor when you're hungover," Johnson says. He's right: As counterintuitive as it sounds, your body is more able to absorb saline fluids than straight H2O when you're super dehydrated. "When I'm hungover, salty French fries or something greasy always does the trick."
MISERY LOVES COMPANY: At Sycamore Den, which is styled like your uncle's 1970s den (for nostalgia purposes, of course), Johnson likes to pair his MichelaDen with a charcuterie board of salami, cheese and a side of cayenne pepper-dusted popcorn. We'd recommend a few glasses of water with this one.
1 oz. Olmeca Altos tequila blanco
1 oz. lime juice
1/4 oz. simple syrup
2-3 dashes Cholula hot sauce
2-3 cucumber slices
1 dash celery bitters (or celery juice)
1 bottle Dos Equis lager
1 lime wedge
A few dashes of Tajin
THE METHOD: Rub the rim of a Collins glass with a lime wedge. Invert the glass and dip the rim in a plate sprinkled with Tajin. Fill the glass with cracked ice. In a shaker tin, combine cucumber slices and ice. Shake vigorously. Add tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, Cholula and celery bitters to the shaker. Give it a quick shake and strain into Collins glass. Top the glass off with Dos Equis lager.
Alyson Sheppard is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mental Floss, McSweeney's, National Geographic Adventure, the Boston Globe and more. Follow her on Twitter @amshep.
Photo courtesy of Drink