I have a favorite drink in Mexico. The Snappy Steve.
While I was in the Air Force in the 1970s, I developed a taste for Ortega's Snap-E Tom, a highly-chilied tomato drink. It was a great way to kick start the morning.
But, like many foods of my twenties, it simply disappeared. If I remember correctly, it was bought out by Del Monte foods. A tomato drink under that name is still marketed, but it is a pale imitation of the fire-in-a-can I knew during the 1970s.
So, I have improvised. And Mexico gave me a head start. There is a drink here called a michelada, whose foundation is close to a Snap-E Tom. Clamato. Tabasco. Lime juice. Worcestershire sauce. Magi.
Unfortunately, it also contains beer. And none of that is going in my mouth.
For a couple of years I have been experimenting with variations on the drink. If I have time, I will grill serranos, tomatoes, and onions, and blend them, to spice up the Clamato. Most often, though, I simply pour a three-quarter glass of Clamato, and add the juice of five limes, twenty dashes of Worcestershire sauce, a shot of soy sauce, and twenty-five dashes of Tabasco. This is not a doing-by-halves beverage.
It is almost as good as the original. Since the good name of Snap-E Tom is tarnished, mine is Snappy Steve, as an homage to a dead treat. Three restaurants here now have it down to an art form for me.
Yesterday I had everything in the glass except the Tabasco. At about the thirteenth dash, the bottle died. The well was dry.
But, I need not worry when it comes to Tabasco. There are usually one or two backup boxes in the pantry.
When I took the new box off of the shelf, I heard a sound that no customer likes to hear. The sound of glass hitting glass. In most cases, it means the bottle in the box is broken.
Not this time. There was no liquid trickling out of the box. What did come out of the box was a 355-ml bottle of original Tabasco sauce clad in its distinctive Mexican colors (though it is manufactured in Louisiana) -- fully intact.
The "broken" glass noise was caused by the second resident of the box. A 3.7 ml of the McIlhenny Company's "newer" sauce -- green pepper. Hardly enough for a single serving.
But there was enough in the new big bottle to fill out my Snappy Steve yesterday.
Before I fly off to Los Angeles tomorrow afternoon, I may try using that little bottle as an addendum to tomorrow's Snappy Steve. After all, I need to finish off that jug of Clamato.
Because I have no idea when, or if, I will be returning to the house with no name.