I have long marveled at how versatile prepared salsas are for cooking. As I walk the snack aisle in mainstream and specialty grocery stores, it blows my mind how many different kinds of salsas we now can choose from: pineapple habanero, avocado verde, tomatillo herb...not to mention the seemingly thousands of different tomato based salsas. So I wrote a story about it for The Kitchn and how one day I realized you could make wonderfully flavored, inventive cocktails for parties...with jars of salsa and beer. Here's an excerpt. For the full version, go to the story on Kitchn.
Beer and Salsa: A Destined Pair!
Did you know salsa and beer are among the top foods purchased in the week leading up to the Super Bowl? They’re also regular staples in the fridge, so they’re usually at our fingertips any time of year. These days salsa comes in so many varieties beyond the traditional red tomato you’d find in a jar. Fresh blends with tomatillos and avocado, and juicy fruits (like mango, peach, and pineapple) make them exciting to munch on with chips. But they also quickly bring a lot of flavor to any recipe — including drinks.
Micheladas and shandies are popular beer-based cocktails with fresh components added in, so why not speed things up at home and make them with a grocery store shortcut? Recently, I discovered something magical happens when you plop salsa in a blender and give it a whirl for 20 seconds. The tangy, chunky vegetable and fruit bits we love to eat with salty chips meld super fast to make a surprisingly inviting cocktail base (think: Bloody Mary or cocktail mix, but fresher and just as easy).
And so I present to you three salsa beer cocktails with fun, easy twists. The key to making them is puréeing the salsa in a blender until smooth before adding the ice and beer. Once you get the hang of the core recipe, add your own embellishments to suit your taste. I like to use Mexican beer, like Dos Equis, to play up all the flavors in the salsa, but you can use whatever you like — just make sure it’s a cold one.