If Life Gives You Ashes, Make Micheladas

Pulse News Mexico photo/Melissa T. Castro


The good folks in the central Mexican state of Puebla may be suffering from respiratory and other health issues as a result of the recent spewing of ash and smoke from the nearby Popocatépetl Volcano, but that hasn’t stopped them from toasting the second-tallest volcano in the country in a uniquely magmatic way.

Rather than complain about the thick layers of ash that have covered their towns and cities, the ingenious Poblanos have instead incorporated the volcanic dust into the production of one of that state’s most emblemic beverages, the michelada, a savory local cocktail made with beer, tomato juice, chili powder and Worcestershire sauce, served in a glass rimmed with salt.

Marketed by residents as the “Don Goyo Chelero” (Don Goyo is a favorite nickname for the Popocatépetl Volcano, and chelas is a colloquial way of referring to beer) and “Popochelas,” the micheladas topped with a volcanic ash frost have become the “in” beverage of choice for locals and tourists alike.

Although Mexican health authorities might not approve of the drink, since the volcanic ashes are likely to contain some pretty serious toxins, that hasn’t stopped the Popo michelada craze from taking hold.

Those who are willing to risk the potential dangers of volcanic ash consumption for the sake of culinary novelty can find the Popochelas in restaurants across the state, including at the Balnearo Puerto Escondido in Cholula, Puebla, which has been accredited with first coming up with the new drink.

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