Micheladas in Marfa: Drinking in a Desert Oasis

Posted on: Oct. 22, 2015 | | By: Emily Hall Dorio

Photographer Emily Hall Dorio shares with us the scenes of a desert drinking adventure in Marfa, Texas. Along arid stretches of highway and beneath brooding storm clouds, it was all cold drinks, eclectic decor, and sun-bleached pastels in this strange and spectacular oasis. But amongst the bizarre and the beautiful, the michelada is key to a true Marfan experience.

The Michelada — pronounced mee-cha-lah-dah — lacks a perfect origin story. Perhaps it was the drink of choice by a revolutionary general named Don Augusto Michel or just the invention of the Tecate Brewery Co to encourage drinkers to add lime and salt to diminish the elusive taste of aluminum on first addition beer cans. Either way, it has become the ambassador beverage to Tex-Mex border culture. A proper Michelada is a light beer (Marfans prefer a Dos Equis) poured over ice with the perfect blend of soy sauce, Tabasco, fresh lime juice, and a dash of Worcestershire. Too much of one thing and you’ve got carbonated hot sauce and too little leaves you with a salty beer. Despite what some may try to serve you outside of Texas, there is no tomato juice in a Michelada.

My first experience with a Michelada was a few years back at the Hotel San Jose in Austin soaking up the patio when someone handed me a beer over ice with a splash of what looked like a batch of bloody mary mix gone bad. Despite its muddy appearance, my first sip guaranteed there were going to be many more in my future. A little spicy, a little salty, and a lot of refreshing, a Texas Michelada is the perfect desert vacation cocktail. On my most recent adventure to Marfa, Texas for the Trans Pescos Festival, the Michelada was our cocktail of choice. It’s the perfect cocktail to start the day, like a Bloody Mary, but light enough to carry you through to your sunset nightcap.

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