The refreshing Mexican Michelada is essentially a simple blend of beer, lime, salt, hot sauce and an umami seasoning of either Worcestershire sauce or Maggi. The cocktail is Mexican in origin, but most countries throughout South America have their own takes. Now, the Llama Inn in Brooklyn, New York, has introduced a Peruvian influence to the Michelada just in time for Cinco de Mayo, with chef Erik Ramirez’s leche de tigre base taking center stage.

In Peru, it is common to use the leche de tigre [tiger’s milk] from ceviche as a kind of sangrita/shooter with pisco,”note beverage directors Lynnette Marrero and Jessica Gonzalez on the origin of their Michelada. Using the Peruvian golden lager Cusqueña, the malted barley stands out in just the right way against the rich umami of fish stock and ginger-onion-garlic flavors, along with bright citrus, salt and house-made fermented hot sauce.

Featured on the brunch menu, Llama Inn’s version brings a welcome softness to the hair-on-your-back harshness of some Micheladas, often derived from a heavy hand of Cholula hot sauce and seasoning. Opposite a plate of ceviche with corvina and sweet potato, or the chef’s notable lomo saltado beef on a bed of French fries, it’s the perfect respite. Even without a sandy beach, this cold beer brings the right mix of sea and heat. 

Llama Inn’s Michelada

Servings: 1 cocktail

Ingredients
1½ ounces leche de tigre base*
½ ounce fresh lime juice
Dash hot sauce (house-made fermented hot sauce)
Cusqueña beer

*For the leche de tigre base:
3 cups fish stock
2 ounces fish sauce (Viet Huong)
1 cup chicha de jora (Inca Foods)
2 tablespoons aji amarillo pepper puree
1 ounce hot sauce
3 ounces ginger-onion-garlic mix (1 clove garlic, 1 shallot, 1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger)
1 tablespoon salt

Directions: 

  1. Rim a tall water glass with salt and add ice.
  2. Combine leche de tigre, lime and hot sauce in the glass.
  3. Stir ingredients briefly and garnish with a lime wedge.
  4. Top with Cusqueña beer when serving.

Prep time: 3 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate