"Psyched to use pizza grease, something I am known to be very fond of," Henry Prendergast of Analogue e-mailed me—about the last response I expected after the Violet Hour's John Smillie challenged him to make a drink with the stuff. Not only was he psyched, Prendergast immediately knew the perfect source for his ingredient: Dante's Pizzeria, whose pepperoni he deems "Chicago's finest slice."
As for the cocktail, it practically devised itself. Prendergast considers pizza and Budweiser a natural pairing, and when it comes to beer cocktails, few are better than the michelada, a common Mexican drink made with beer, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lime, and sometimes tomato juice or Clamato, served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass.
There was no need for a salted rim in this case. Prendergast had already decided to use the pizza grease as an aromatic garnish, and he figured it would provide enough salt on its own. His michelada wouldn't lack for flavor, anyway—Analogue chef Alfredo Nogueira makes his condiments in-house, so Prendergast had some special ingredients on hand to work with.
Nogueira, a native of New Orleans, bases his Worcestershire sauce on the recipe used at the famed Garden District restaurant Commander's Palace. He was mum on whether it contains the traditional anchovies, but he did reveal some of its other ingredients: tamarind, chiles, horseradish, onion, cane syrup, and molasses. His Baby Fredo's Signature Hot Sauce, on the other hand, couldn't be simpler—just chiles, salt, and vinegar. It's potent stuff, according to Prendergast, "so you don't need much."
Rounding out the drink are simply lime juice and, of course, the King of Beers—his inspiration, after all, was pizza and Bud.
1/2 oz lime juice Couple dashes Worcestershire Couple dashes hot sauce Budweiser Slice of greasy pizza
Fill a glass with ice. Add the lime juice, then the Worcestershire and hot sauce to taste. Top with Budweiser and "give it a little mixaroo," then express the pizza over the glass; a slice of Dante's pepperoni yields about five drops.
Prendergast has challenged Kristin Wolfel of the Charleston to make a drink with catnip. "Maybe he chose it because I'm constantly showing everyone pictures of my cat (*really* embarrassing—I need to stop doing that)," she e-mailed.Correction: This feature has been altered to correctly name the Violet Hour.