James Beard Publication of the Year 2017

We Can All Can Thank This Hungover Pilot for Making Micheladas Even Better

We Can All Can Thank This Hungover Pilot for Making Micheladas Even Better

Doble Canala in La Paz

“Este es el lugar,” slurs the very drunk man perched near the front door of Bar Mundos in La Paz, Mexico. This is the place.

Specifically, this is the place to get what we came for—a Michelada-and-Bloody Mary hybrid called the Doble Canala.

A few nights prior during Carnaval La Paz, the main street of town was packed with revelers, out to enjoy a live performance by the hard-rock band Molotov, but mostly to enjoy a lot of public drinking. Many of the bar stands, set up just for Carnaval, advertised special drink menus centering on the Doble Canala.

But we were busy hunting down another local delicacy: the hate, a bacon-wrapped hot dog loaded with toppings, encased in a soft, Challah-like bun that provokes fierce debate. Our local friend cautioned: “They cause divorce, they make you lose your inheritance… people argue about their favorite hate place for two hours.”

He recommended a stand run by a large woman with a kind face and fast hands. Close by, we bought the coldest beer in town from a former professional boxer. Ice-cold beers in hand, we melted into the Carnaval crowd, promising to look into the Doble Canala thing once we were done with our hates and beer.

So, back to Bar Mundo. The story is that in 2008, a very hungover pilot entered the bar looking for some hair of the dog. He decided that adding vodka to his cerveza preparada would do the trick. The bartender obliged, creating what has come to be known as the Doble Canala, a mix of Clamato, light Mexican beer, vodka, fresh lime, and a dark, umami-heavy sauce.

The drink has become so popular that Bar Mundos’ owner holds a registered trademark for it. Even so, almost every other bar in La Paz serves their own version. Some are topped with shrimp, clams, various hot sauces, even spicy candies. But these other bars are, technically, breaking the law.

At midday in Bar Mundos, we had to make our way through a the wall of wide, boisterous men packed into the small bar. Then, the bartender whipped up a Doble Canala for us, para llevar. At lightning speed, he packed a 32-ounce styrofoam cup with ice, drizzled in some of the weird sauce, squeezed a lime and a glug of bottom-shelf vodka. In went a bottle of Corona and a topper of neon-red Clamato.

We did not linger. We took the enormous drink, leaving the regulars to enjoy their neighborhood bar while we went out to enjoy the bright day and ocean view. On the way, we passed people streaming in who were obviously on the same hunt, wide-eyed and intent on the prize: a savory, spritzy, tangy drink, served in a bucket.

Bar Mundos
Gral Manuel Márquez de León, Zona Central, 23000 La Paz , Baja California Sur, Mexico
Opening hours: 10 a.m.-2 a.m

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