What started as an obsession for Tatiana Johnson eventually morphed into Señor Pop, Johnson's side hustle-turned full-time gig of containing the flavors of south-of-the-border beer cocktails into non-alcoholic popsicles.
That's right, nonalcoholic. The 27-year-old Johnson is simply capturing the frozen flavors of a michelada, a beer-soft drink combo popular in Mexico and Latin America. There are several variations, with the most common denominators being lager beer (usually light), tomato juice, and a salt-rimmed glass. Other ingredients include hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, clam juice, fresh lime juice, and peppers.
They're similar to bloody mary's and good for hangovers, Johnson says, and best when made fresh and without pre-packaged mixers.
The pops contain the same ingredients as a beer michelada, minus the alcohol. With some in the shape of mustaches, they can be eaten as they are or placed in your beer as sort of a giant flavored ice floater. The goal is keeping your beer cold, which Johnson says is pretty much "mission impossible" in Miami.
"It's a little bit of everything to everyone," Johnson says. "It's very accessible."
Señor Pop is the culmination of Johnson's quest to find a fresh michelada in Miami, similar to one she had while vacationing in Mexico City in 2015. Johnson returned to Miami and had a difficult time finding one that matched what she had in Mexico. Mass-produced styles in the U.S. include Miller Chill and Budweiser Chelada and Clamato.
So she learned how to make them herself. Johnson says it was full-on research and development. "This is someone who goes to Mexico and stands next to the bartender watching them make it."
Johnson then developed several other flavors including La Colombiana, a Colombian-style michelada with a kick that mixes the flavors of citrus and blonde beers. Johnson calls it the "Shakira of micheladas."
And there's Pineapple Express, a pineapple-infused michelada that mixes salty and sweet, and pairs with blonde beers and pilsners.
Johnson keeps her beer pops on the healthier side using less sodium while keeping authentic flavors.
When she's not making michelada popsicles, Johnson is a marketing director for a company in Miami. Having Señor Pop is like having a second full-time job for her. Sometimes Johnson felt as if she compromised her social life a little bit. "I don't know what weekends are," she says.
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But it's paying off. Señor Pop michelada popsicles are available at El Patio Wynwood at 167 NW 23rd St. and through Uber Eats in Miami. Each one sells for $3.99 each, according to Señor Pop's website.
Johnson will also showcase Señor Pop at the New Times' Brew at the Zoo from 7 to 11 p.m. on May 6 at Zoo Miami. General admission costs $40 in advance and $60 at the gate and includes entry at 8 p.m., unlimited samplings, live musical performances, and special offers from local merchants. A special BATZ pack of four GA tickets costs $100.
A $70 ($80 at the gate) Brewmaster ticket includes entrance at 7 p.m., giving you an extra hour of tasting, plus exclusive beer tappings. Or go all out with a VIP ticket for $80 ($90 at the gate) and enjoy early entrance at 7 p.m., spirits samplings, full-size beers, exclusive beer tappings, complimentary food, and complete access to special areas.
Your Brew at the Zoo ticket includes free entry to Zoo Miami, and a portion of ticket proceeds benefits zoo conservation efforts. To purchase tickets and for updated information, visit newtimesbrewatthezoo.com.