Christmas Kill or Cure: The Kimchi Michelada

It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas. Tree is up, fires are lit and I awake with that fuzzy feeling that I indulged a little too much the night before. Sound familiar? These mornings require more than a hit of caffeine. Restorative hair of the dog is required; a bit of kill or cure with a stiff Bloody Mary perhaps. Tricking yourself that the presence of tomato and a celery stick can excuse a generous slug of vodka. The self deception works for me, getting around the feeling that it’s too early with the knowledge that it’s drinking time somewhere in the world. Even at 8am.


If vodka with your toast isn’t going to fly then there’s always the Michelada, essentially a beer Bloody Mary. Purists may be whincing at the thought of mixing a beer cocktail but trust me that when done well the Michelada will keep you coming back at any time of the day.

My method is from Ozo Bakery and Bar on the edge of New York’s Chinatown. It’s not any old Michelada, but one that packs a good deal of Kimchi. The bars not so secret ingredient.

It was back in August that Lou and I stopped into Ozo for happy hour. I immediately went with the Lagunitas IPA while Lou deliberated over cocktails. The barman advised that the Michelada was a favourite and as I sceptically sipped my IPA I became more and more intrigued as the theatre of the cocktails construction unfolded. Seeing our interest he talked us through the process. Our own cocktail masterclass for the price of a 2 for 1 round. So here’s what you need.

The Mix:

Tomato juice mix with added Kimchi is preferential. To my knowledge this would have to be your own mix. At Ozo they make it themselves. Alternatively a clam juice mix like Clamato can be pre bought, but won’t quite match the Kimchi punch.

Worcestershire Sauce, 4 shakes.


Mexican hot sauce. Our chosen sauce is Cholula but experimentation is the key to finding your Michelada.

The Beer:

Mexican light beer. Ozo used Pacifico, but there’s nothing to stop you experimenting with other brands or even styles to add body.

To Serve:

A tall glass, over ice, with crushed sea salt and pepper coating the rim.

So there you have it, a Mexican beer cocktail with a Korean twist, added Worcestershire kick via New York. Truly a world class hangover cure. I’ve not had one this Christmas, but when I do the picture will be attached here. What’s your favoured hair of the dog?

Christmas Kill or Cure: The Kimchi Michelada

The Bear Freehouse, Camberwell New Road, SE5

Until now I’ve only seen Camberwell from the top deck; a view of pigeons picking at takeaway leftovers and pound shops. I will admit it wasn’t at the top of the list for a Sunday lunch but when given a Twitter recommendation by an aptly named Pub Geek (@thepubgeek) it would be bad form not to give it a go.

Arriving at 12:45 the pub was already close to full. The Bear don’t take bookings so it’s advisable to get in early to claim your table and mark your territory with the Sunday paper and a pint. While Lou and I wait for the others we take a menu and commence salivation. There’s a good choice of about 5 starters of soups, soused herring and game which although tempting make way for the Sunday classic, a Bloody Mary. A usual go to for a kickstart after a heavy Saturday night it delivers a good hit of spicy warmth, which prepares me for the main.

I find it very difficult to resist a roast on a Sunday menu and even more difficult to resist Pork Belly, whenever offered. This is no exception and I’m not disappointed. There’s the right balance of meat to fat and the long thin crackling is brittle with just the right amount of bite; without the tooth picking stickiness you sometimes encounter. The veg could be slightly warmer but the roast potato is perfectly crisp outside and fluffy within. A well balanced portion ensures that dessert is an option without unnotching the belt.

Service at The Bear is friendly and laid back.  The absence of a booking system means that you can take time to enjoy a leisurely lunch. Which is what Sunday lunch is about, is it not? A great find, thanks to the power of Twitter and the Pub Geek.

296a Camberwell New Road, London, SE5 0RP

The Bear Freehouse, Camberwell New Road, SE5