We’re all about bottomless mimosas during brunch. Champagne plus fresh-squeezed orange juice always equals a good time. But for something savory, it has to be a Michelada or a Bloody something (Mary, Maria, Caesar, etc.; basically, booze swirled with a seasoned, tomato-based mixer).
They’re delicious, no doubt, but the commonly used thick, gloppy, bottled mix holds almost a day’s worth of sodium in a single serving, not to mention a load of other preservative nonsense. Though some restaurants make their own mix, it’s still a fairly rare practice.
“I considered myself kind of a connoisseur,” says Micho & Mary founder Krystal Ray Moreno. Traveling around the country with television stations such as Food Network and Bravo, for which she worked as an audio mixer, she found herself in new towns on the regular. “Depending where I was, my drink was either a Michelada or a Bloody Mary. It was like a hobby trying to find the best one, but eventually, I got tired of the bloating and heartburn.”
So, she made her own. “It was kind of an accident,” she says with a shrug. “I was messing around in the kitchen, like, if this is going to be my go-to drink, I need to come up with something just for me and that is easy on the stomach.”
Growing up on a farm in Gilroy, a.k.a. the garlic capital of the world, Moreno recalls “everything was organic and freshly made.” That ideology led her to create a recipe that was light and sharp.
But Moreno had no intention of starting a business. She’d whip up a batch of her mix and bring it to parties. It was a hit, to say the least. “Next thing, I was always asked to be the bartender,” she says with a laugh. “People would be like, ‘Don’t come unless you bring that mix!’”
In 2015, she entered her mix in Southern California’s largest Michelada festival, Michelada Rumble, and out of dozens of national and high-volume companies, she took second place. That’s when she realized she should do something more with it.
Bottled in nearby Cerritos, Micho & Mary (michoandmary.com) is handcrafted in small batches with a focus on fresh ingredients and carefully selected spices. The mix is currently available in several cities in NorCal, OC and LA, including Long Beach’s Hops and Vines.
Working out of an office in downtown Long Beach, Moreno says the next step for Micho & Mary is to roll out a vegan mix (the current recipe includes a bit of shellfish). “The goal is to phase out the OG version and go completely vegan,” she says. The all-veggie recipe is currently being tested for shelf life, and fans can expect to see the new product launch soon.
So what does Moreno prefer to mix her Micho & Mary with? “Bloody Marias are my favorite,” she says, using Casamigos Reposado tequila.
But if it’s going to be a Michelada, then she opts for Corona Familiar or Pacifico. A squeeze of lime and a Tajín rim, and it’s a perfect beverage—no need for over-the-top garnishes. “The less stuff, the better,” Moreno says. “I’m not about a sirloin slider in my drink.”
We predict Micho & Mary will be everywhere soon, but in the meantime, keep an eye out for it at a slew of festivals this season, including Saturday’s Long Beach Seafood Festival at Shoreline Aquatic Park.