Beer + Tomato Juice + Clam Juice = Yum
My in-laws live in Georgetown in Sun City, an ever-sprawling retirement community where folks ride around on golf carts and everybody knows everybody else’s name. My wife and I sometimes go there just to get away. We watch Food Network, play Mexican Train, and pretend we’re retired. Good times.
Of course, a little drinking is involved, but the only place to buy hooch is a small convenience store/diner up the road. The beer selection is limited to basically the big three: Bud, Coors, and Miller. If you’re in the mood for an exotic beer, you’re SOL.
Well, kinda. Last time my wife and I were in Sun City, my palate was feeling a little worldly, so I opted for the only exotic thing in the store’s cooler: a Bud Light Clamato Chelada pounder. Short for “michelada” or “my cold beer” in Spanish, the Clamato Chelada is essentially Bud Light (it’s also available with plain ol’ Bud) mixed with clam broth and tomato juice. Apparently, mixing beer with clam broth and tomato juice is a Mexican tradition, and Bud Light and Bud Clamato Cheladas are in the Sun City convenience store’s cooler because all of the construction in and around Sun City isn’t constructing itself. “This is a recipe that combines cultures and flavors,” said Ana Vitrano, product manager for Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “Budweiser, Bud Light, and Clamato are all highly respected brands that, when combined, produce the authentic-tasting recipe many Latinos love. It’s la combinación perfecta!”
I poured my chelada into a clear glass. The stuff was milky red. Like a Hurricane or cherry Slurpee. I squeezed in some lime and dropped in a dash of salt, per the instructions on the can, and the red beer responded by erupting in fizzles. Here goes. Down the hatch …
Hmm. Smooth and somewhat creamy. Not fishy. Not fishy at all. Kind of like a beer-based Bloody Mary –– the beer is discernable only as carbonation. Shake in a little hot sauce, and, yep, you’ve pretty much got a beer-based Bloody Mary.
The Clamato Chelada, which comes only in 24-ounce pounders or four-packs of 16-ouncers, contains 4.2 percent alcohol by volume and goes well with Mexican Train. Of course.