Alotta Michelada

Photos by Paulette Phlipot

Warm, late summer nights call for drinks that are refreshing but not too strong, so you can pour yourself something to cool down without worry that you’ll have a headache tomorrow. Low-proof drinks, also called session cocktails, are the house specialty at the Los Altos hotspot Honcho. In addition to craft cider, beer and wine, the bar has a full menu of cocktails with low-octane ingredients. Since he doesn’t have a full liquor license, owner Rod Newman stocks the bar with what he calls “an obscure collection of alcohol which is not easily available to the general public.” But other drinks at Honcho are mixed with more easily obtainable drinks, like the ‘Honchelada.’ Based on a Michelada, a Mexican classic that can be as simple as a can of beer with a squeeze of lime and a few dashes of hot sauce, Honcho’s version adds a few extra steps to make the drink even more delicious.

Like its cousin-cocktail the Bloody Mary, a Michelada is completely customizable, so making it at home means you can develop your own signature spin on the recipe. At Honcho, they add Secret Aardvark hot sauce and Maggi, a savory Swiss seasoning, along with other ingredients the restaurant wasn’t willing to divulge. You can use your favorite brand of hot sauce along with a dash of Worcestershire to recreate the spirit of the Honchelada. While an imported cerveza is a popular option for this drink, you can choose to keep your version close to home since local breweries Anchor Steam and 21st Amendment both make Mexican-style lagers. Just be sure your beer of choice is well-chilled when you make this drink—we still have a few more hot weeks left.

make it


  • Tajín spice mix
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Bloody Mary mix
  • 1 (12-ounce; 355ml) can or bottle
    Mexican-style lager
  • Hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce


1. Cover the bottom of a small plate with Tajín.

2. Make a shallow slice into one of the lime wedges. Take a tall glass, turn it upside down and swipe the lime slice around the rim of the glass.

3. Place the lime-rimmed glass in the spice mixture and swirl around to coat the outside edge of the glass. Flip the glass upright.

4. Fill the glass with ice, then add Bloody Mary mix until the glass is two-thirds full.

5. Squeeze a few wedges of lime into the drink, then top off the glass with the beer. Stir gently with a long spoon, then garnish with a lime wedge.

6. Serve the drink with the remainder of the beer on the side for topping off, along with the rest of the lime wedges, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.