This chelada thing is taking on a life of its own. If you’ve read this column lately, you know that I’ve become a fan of the chelada, a simple drink I discovered in Cancun. Everywhere I go, I’m finding people with chelada on the brain. Sam Callis even stopped me the same day Johnny Winter was playing the Zephyr, cut short his conversation with a Winter roadie, and asked me what was in a chelada. That should tell you something about the stature of the chelada. Only the phrase “’preciate cha” can claim a faster ascent into the mainstream consciousness of Utah residents.
Over at Port O’Call two bartenders, Brett and Clint, are now proficient at making cheladas. We trained them one night by drinking about 30 of them. Next time you’re in, hit them up for one. Oh, and Katie the waitress is a big help, too. On the other hand, the crew at Lumpy’s (other than that lime squeezin’ Rooster) is a bit brackish about them. Don’t know why, they just are. I’ve tried to tell them that they should really promote cheladas, since I’m certain they will be the “next big thing.” And, I remind them, I should know because I was the one who brought karaoke to Utah. You could look it up.
Ben Fulton tells me that the chelada could not have arrived in our midst at a more appropriate time. Ben isn’t exactly Edward Abbey, but he sure has a passion for Utah water. It really has his goat that so soon after the snowfall, so soon before the next rain, people are out watering their yards. “A damned shame,” he says. For his part, Ben only drinks imported water. He believes, though, that people drinking cheladas are doing the rest of Utah a favor because the chelada only uses water in the form of ice. Sometimes you can even get two cheladas out of one batch of ice. “That’s what I call efficiency,” says Ben, who also notes that the chelada has water retention qualities (a salted rim) that lessens the need for drinking more cheladas. Ergo, less ice consumption and more water for the rest of us.
He may be on to something.
It’s a well-known fact to everyone except Utahns that we live in a desert. Take away the mountains and what water those mountains give us and we’re talking serious xeriscape. And now, says Ben, they even want to dam up the Bear River, about the only river in Utah not yet plugged up “just so Utahns can keep watering their frigging lawns.”
And for making ice for cheladas.