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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Chelada: Bud Light with Clamato

I got samples of A-B's new michelada pre-mix Chelada on Wednesday, two big 24 0z. cans of Bud Light with Clamato and Budweiser with Clamato. I've been drinking a fair amount of V8 lately, and I do drink the occasional 'red beer,' a mainstreamer with tomato juice, so I thought these might not be bad.

So when Cathy threw together fresh steamed corn on the cob, burgers, and ripe heirloom tomatoes from our CSA tonight, I thought it sounded like a good time to try the stuff out. I grabbed the Bud Light at random and turned it over once, gently, to mix it up, then poured it into a willibecker. It was lighter in color and body than I expected -- pink, really -- and more beer than juice; I usually make mine the other way round. But it was surprisingly good! Sure as hell had a lot more flavor than a Bud Light, wasn't cloying or yucky, and the spices were firm but not overpowering. Best of all, you can obviously doctor it as you see fit, and I'm thinking a good dose of freshly ground pepper might work wonders, and maybe a little horseradish. Went down with the meal right well, although 24 oz. is a lot of it. I was kind of disappointed that there wasn't more clam to the Clamato, but you can't have everything.

Not the kind of thing I'd have often, at all, but with a brunch, or the right meal, or for an early beer (or instead of a Bloody Mary if I wanted something lighter), yeah, this would be okay.


GenX at 40 said...

Clamato is a Canadian invention. Its invention even ended up in the Supreme Court:

I have had Labatt 50 and Clamato for years. It's the only way I can drink that beer but, oddly, it is the best Clamato brew. Albertans have drank beer and tomato juice for generations but I can't recall the name used - maybe a "red eye". We just called it "two and juice" in 1980s Halifax as you always bought your draft beer in two 8 oz glasses. Good drink for a steak and eggs breakfast.

Lew Bryson said...

Freakin' Canadians... "That was invented in Canada, eh?" Come on, man, it says right in the footnotes of the case you cited: "Clamato juice is a confection of tomato juice and clam broth. By the early 1980s it had developed a market in Canada about 10 times the size of its market in the United States, where it originated." Just because we were too smart to drink it...

For the record, the stuff I dug up (a minimum of digging, I have to admit) indicated that the idea of mixing clam broth and tomato juice originated in Baja California. Mott's took it and ran with it, although you're apparently right in that the smartest thing they may have done was to run to Canada with it.

As to 50 and Clamato, I have much the same memory of Old Milwaukee: makes a fine red eye, but can't drink it on its own.

Alan said...

Hah! That is just a way to keep you off your balance. Like I read the cases. Just the head notes, please. Canadians are mad for the stuff, with truckloads of retirees heading to Florida with cases to get them throught winter mixed with vodka as a "Bloody Caeser"...maybe that's what Canadians invented...that and the zipper. We invented the zipper, you know. The whole bunch of us did.

Alan - AGBB

Lew Bryson said...

I'll give you that, Alan: the Bloody Caesar, that is, a damned good excuse for stuffing a whole chef's salad in a glass along with booze and Clamato. Good on you, Canada.

The zipper? Beats me. Didn't you also invent the beaver?

Anonymous said...

The zipper? Beats me. Didn't you also invent the beaver?

Nah, we just perfected it.

jay sheveck said...

It was quite drinkable, but is has got to be the saltiest beer I've ever drank. Over ice with a lime slice and Old Bay seasoning made it really nice.

Lew Bryson said...

Nah, we just perfected it.

What, so instead of having it stuffed and mounted, you put it on a coin?

Lew Bryson said...

Hey, yeah, Old Bay and a slice of lime! I love Old Bay.

What a great idea, the North American Beer Cocktail: Old Bay from the East, Bud Light from the Midwest, salt and lime from Mexico, Clamato from Canada (okay, to please Canada), and the idea of tying it together from the West. I like it. I'm gonna try it. And I'm gonna throw a shrimp and a stalk of celery in it, too.

Anonymous said...

"In a January 2007 television show in Canada, the zipper was chosen as No. 8 on the list of The Greatest Canadian Inventions; it qualified because Sundback had been president of a Canadian-based company that was one of the earliest manufacturers of the zipper."

Okay I went to Allegheny College in Meadville, PA so I'm a bit schooled on zippers. Sundback was a Swedish born, American immigrant who invented the modern teeth version of the zipper in Meadville, PA. So an American who ran a Canadian based company actually invented the zipper as we know it today. If you don't believe me checkout wikipedia.


Tony "WVbeergeek" Rasicci

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I can't get into this one at all, I tried it myself, but ewg. Of course, I mixed my own version, but I don;t like Clamato anyway so i guess I was prejudiced....

Anonymous said...

You did not dig very hard. Clamato did not originate in California. It originated in Hamlin, New York in 1966 when two Duffy-Mott employees wanted to replicate a "New England" cocktail using tomato juice, clam broth, and spices. Mixing tomato juice and clam broth is something that had been done in New England coastal towns for ages.

Clamato has always had a small, but strong following the the North East/New England. It has been popular in Canada for decades as well. It is only in recent years that Mott decided to pander to the "hyspanic" market, and it turned out to be quite hit with hyspancis.

This "chelada" crap is just that, crap. Traditional micheladas were and are made with chile pepper sauce, lime, and salt. Clamato never came into play until Clamto's marketing department got a hold of it, and said hey mix Clamato with beer, and its michelada. Sorry, but it has already been done. Can you say Red Eye?

Bud Chelada is of course pandering to hyspanic markets as well. I tried this stuff, and frankly it is disgusting.

Make no mistake. Clamato has nothing to do with Baja, California. New England is its real roots. Chelda has no history. The real history of mixing Clamato and beer is American/Candaian. Red Eye, Red beer, what ever you want to call it, it has been done for decades. The fact that hyspancis have taken to it, does not make "Chelada" something new, or gives it history in Baja. Marketing is all Bud Chelada is.

Lew Bryson said...

Wow, and look at you: you dug all the way to Wikipedia! Your teachers would be so proud that you actually looked this up on Wikipedia and swallowed whole a history that has as its sole attribution the Official Clamato Website. Amazing that they say the idea came out of Mott's genius employees. Who'd'a thunk it?

And it's so believable that the idea came from a ""New England" cocktail using tomato juice, clam broth, and spices." Why that sounds just like clam chowder! Manhattan clam chowder, that is, which is so abhorrent to most New Englanders that in 1939 a bill was introduced in the Maine legislature to outlaw adding tomatoes to clam chowder. So yeah, that "New England" cocktail sounds pretty likely.

Where did the Clamato idea really come from? Who really knows? Serious cocktail historians don't know where the martini came from, not really, although there are several stories that people will swear are true. I've been trying to run down the origins of "greek sauce," the meat and spice concoction spooned on hot dogs that people also call "Coney Island sauce" (it's almost certainly not from Coney Island), "Texas Hot sauce," and "Michigan sauce"; still looking, and nothing's definite. Some things we know about food history; some things we don't.

Hispanics and Clamato? You should have looked up one of the other references in that Wiki-adver--article, Matthew Kauffman's 2004 piece in the Hartford Courant, where you would have found this: "Despite its ubiquity, Clamato has not caught on with the nation's vast Anglo market, although it has long been a popular choice among Hispanics." Motts' marketing to Hispanics is catch-up, not leading.

Likewise, your plaint against the chelada/michelada wears thin with repetition (dear readers, this same verbiage has been posted to this piece a number of times, practically word-for-word). The fact is, both the origins and the exact makeup of the chelada/michelada are quite foggy, and are only stated with certainty by companies that are selling one or the other.

In any case, like the Rhino Chasers "discussion," this one is done unless and until someone comes up with some real stuff to add...or, of course, a related comment, or your own opinion, etc. Have a peaceful Memorial Day, folks.

UT said...

I had the Bud Chelada the other night and thought it pretty good, particularly when the bottom half of the 24 oz can was fortified with a shot of Beefeaters. I was first introduced to tomato juice and beer my freshman year in college in late 60's at a south western Virgina school when we still had Saturday morning classes. As we partied hardy on Friday night, theory was that by mixing the TJ and beer, one wouldn't be so hung the next morning at your 8:00 am class. Theory was disproved repeatedly.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry grew up in the commercial fishery of Maine, helk my whole family were and are in the industry. We actually founded friendship Maine waaaaay before Columbus ever was here actually fact .. and I have never ever seen tomatoes juice and clam juice together . No way no how .. let alone in a beer .. what j will say is old fisherman cold remedy was hot broth of clam juice cure the ills . No way a ssne fisherman in Maine would ever mix the two let alone put in a beer..

Lew Bryson said...

You grew up that close to Canada and never heard of Clamato? Duset, you need to get out more.