When bartenders Adrienne Stoner (Lost Lake) and Elizabeth Mickiewicz (EZ Inn) meet up to chat, it’s usually over queso dip at Lonesome Rose in Logan Square. So when Stoner decided to challenge her friend as the next participant in the Reader‘s Cocktail Challenge series, she had no trouble picking the ingredient: Mickiewicz would have to make a cocktail with Lonesome Rose queso dip.
Procuring the dip was the easy part. Mickiewicz stopped by the restaurant and got two orders of queso dip to go—one to experiment with and one to eat. “It comes with cilantro and tomato,” she says. “You can add black beans and chorizo, but I opted out for this challenge.”
Then came the hard part. “Cheese isn’t an easy ingredient to work into a cocktail,” Mickiewicz says. She knew the drink needed to be savory, and found the answer at Lonesome Rose: “I generally drink a michelada when we eat the queso dip, so it made sense to merge the two.” She used mezcal for its smoky, savory qualities, combining it with Bloody Mary mix, hot sauce, lime juice, and Tecate. (She’d also planned to fat-wash the mezcal with chorizo, but ran out of time.) To incorporate the queso, she says she first tried shaking it into the michelada, even though she knew it wouldn’t work. “It tasted all right, didn’t look great.”
Instead, Mickiewicz dehydrated the queso, then ground it up and mixed it with fleur de sel, cracked black pepper, and Aleppo pepper to rim the glass. “I’m going to try dehydrating everything now,” she says. “It was like cheese paper before I ground it up. It was really cool.” She named the drink in honor of her friend: the Stoner Michelada.
Mickiewicz has challenged Laura Kelton of Sportsman’s Club to create a cocktail with sweet-and-sour sauce.
1.5 oz mezcal
1.5 oz Bloody Mary mix
.25 oz lime juice
Several dashes of hot sauce
Dehydrated queso dip
Rim a pint glass with lime juice and dehydrated queso. In a shaker, combine mezcal, Bloody Mary mix, lime juice, and hot sauce. Add ice and shake, then pour into the pint glass. Top with Tecate, stir, and garnish with a sprig of cilantro and a lime wedge.