Traditionally, a Michelada means beer poured over ice with salt, lime and, if you’re in Oaxaca, a spicy sauce. But at Empellón Al Pastor in New York City, Alex Stupak is breaking the drink down and rebuilding it into 10 brilliant new cocktails.
As a pastry chef at WD-50, Stupak came up with inventive new desserts by stripping tried and true combinations down to basic flavor profiles and swapping in new ingredients that fit the descriptions. For example, instead of peanut butter and jelly, he would match black sesame with black currant or argan oil with passion fruit. He used the same technique to come up with Michelada variations.
Stupak took his basic requirements for the drink (acidity, salt or umami, spice and beer) and started mixing and matching. He swapped out lime for passion fruit, traded in mixed chiles for habanero and created the El Cuñado. He combined citrusy yuzu, umami-rich miso and spicy togarashi salt to make the Emoticon.