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Red Draw

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I was introduced to this weird drink in Texas, and have never come across it anywhere else (apart from in my own house, occasionally, now). Is it Texan? And is it really a Wichita Falls speciality as I was told??? If so, what's the best place to drink it, and what's the best mix? I'm talking about Red Draw: basically mixed beer (lager) and tomato juice.



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  1. Sounds like a drink I had in Mexico City.


    Basically beer, tomato juice, hot stuff and some spices.

    14 Replies
    1. re: MidtownCoog
      John Scarborough

      Michalada is hot sauce, salt and lime juice. The best version I have had of that is at Tampico on Airline in Houston, my favorite seafood restaurant period.

      1. re: John Scarborough
        Duncan McLean

        A Texas friend recommends the Bar L Drive In (a BBQ joint) at 13th and Travis, Wichita Falls, for Red Draw and pretty good barbecue. Anybody been there nmore recently that a couple years ago?

        Friend goes for 1 part tomato jusice to 3 or 4 parts beer.)

        1. re: Duncan McLean

          It is a Wichita Falls phenomena, if not creation. Just beer and a two fingers of tomato juice. Try The Deuce, if it's still around.

          1. re: NarvelPhelps

            It may well be a Wichita Falls creation, considering the number of Air Force personnel stationed near there. However, red beer, bloody beer, bloody bull, etc. seems to be a phenomenum of any place that has or had an Air Force base nearby. Back in the early 1960's, I was told by a very old, very wise bartender that it was, in fact, an Air Force drink.

            1. re: Mesquite

              That could be true.

              As I said, I've drunk it all my life. In many locales. And I'm an old broad.

              But, come to think of it, both my father and my husband were Air Force. So everywhere I lived, naturally there was also an Air Force base.

              Just never put the two things together before.

              1. re: ChrissieH

                I can confirm the presence of red beer in Sherman in the 60's. My father, who was a fireman at Perrin AFB in Sherman drank red beer (beer and a couple of fingers of tomato juice) regularly. Normally it was a mid-morning drink for him before he got really into the sauce.

                He also drank scotch and milk, which he called Scotch Punch. I thought it was disgusting, but he swore it soothed his stomach. This might explain why he bought the farm at age 56.

          2. re: Duncan McLean

            I have been there, but many years ago. There was also another place almost exactly like the post a few back described. Bull & Barrel? or something of that nature. Nobody mentioned sprinkling on salt, which is great fun after you've had a few as it causes the concoction to foam up temporarily.

            1. re: Duncan McLean

              I live in Wichita falls. Right now Bar-L is closed but the original owners will soon open it back up. By the way, the red draw was born in Wichita Falls but there is a debate on who made the first one. Bar-L or Pioneer.

              1. re: Duncan McLean

                I live in Wichita Falls. Bar L is great. The best red draws in the world. I go there regularly. Bud light clamito is also very good.

                1. re: Duncan McLean

                  The Bar L: That takes me back. No, they did not originate the red draw, the Rock Inn did this good deed, but most of the bars in town made them on request. The Bar L was owned by a man named Buford Rice from the time it was opened until he died, Their specialty was barbecue ribs and beer. I grew up in the liquor business in Wichita Falls and my father and Buford were close friends. If you're interested in the real "Red Draw" read an earlier posting.

                  Harold Bonham

                  1. re: Duncan McLean

                    I came back from Wichita Falls this week and Bar L Drive-In is still alive and kicking. I had the best hamburger there. A great place for bikers to congregate. By chance did they buy the Deuce P2? The P2 wait personnel wear the same shirts as the Bar L in regards to home of the Red Draw.

                  2. re: John Scarborough

                    Michalada is hot sauce, salt and lime juice.

                    WRONG.... A Michalada is a combination of Lime juice, Maggi... a sort of Mexican Soy Sauce and some Woschister sauce in a salted rim glass with ice cubes!
                    I lived in Cancun 6 years! You must have the perfect blend...

                    1. re: Ralph

                      What is maggi? And where can I find it? I recently had my first Michalada and loved it; I would like to learn make the sauce myself and haven't had much luck finding a recipe.


                      1. re: Rachel

                        I think the reference to Maggi is a brown sauce made by the company closely resembling soy sauce ....

                2. It's not unique to Wichita Falls, but they do lay claim to the red draw up there. I've seen them around the state by other names (mostly red beer) and you'll also find them with an egg in the glass. As for ratios, I'll guess from the few I've braved: 3/4 beer to 1/4 tomato juice.

                  1. To my knowledge no one place can really lay claim to its origin or to it as its specialty. It is known as blood beer in parts of Louisiana; red beer in Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri, and environs; sometimes served with Clamato juice or Bloody Mary Mix instead of tomato juice in Drakesville, Iowa; Minnesota; Oklahoma; Wisconsin; both South Dakota and North Dakota; and perhaps others. It goes by various names in various locales. I have NEVER seen this concoction served except in what I would describe as honky-tonks or local bars with requisite bar and stools, jukebox, pickled eggs and Penrose sausages in jars on the bar, pool table(s) and/or dartboard(s). If you see ferns or any of the words or phrases: bistro, upscale, fine, soup of the day, Heineken, Samuel Adams, or any of their ilk, you're in the wrong place. Look for pickup trucks, cowboy boots (regardless of state), baseball caps with grain logos (regardless of rural or urban location), bowling and softball trophies and/or taxidermy works, a small pass-through behind the bar for food orders (if served), T-shirts imprinted with LGDAF, and Bud Lite, Busch or other local brews in longnecks.

                    It is generally served in a 1:4 or 1:5 ratio of juice or mix to beer. Hot sauce, ground black pepper, lemon juice (if available, but not ReaLemon), or anything else you'd like are acceptable additions. The first sips are a little bit strange, but for a late night's dart or pool tournament you still achieve the desired buzz, but at least you've enhanced you're nutrition and it goes well with nachos......Enjoy.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: SBCochran

                      Well actually...

                      I have seen red beer on the menu at a very NOT HONKY TONK in Boulder, CO of all places. I never thought I would see it either, but the Kitchen Cafe, written up in Food & Wine last year does serve red beer on their brunch menu.

                      Go figure

                    2. We used to make 'em with Schlitz Malt Liquor. Bloody Bulls...

                      1. Hate to spoil y'all's fun, but back some 45 years ago in that well-known mecca of fine dining, the US midwest, most specifically Kansas, we all sat around drinking what they called "Red Beer."

                        This was primarily popular in working-class bars.

                        It had been going strong for decades before I was old enough to drink.

                        It consisted of beer and tomato juice and whatever "fixin's" a body wanted. Like Tobasco or other hot sauce, Worsty, lime, etc.

                        So whoever is telling you that they invented it is probably just funnin' ya.

                        Unless he's a hunnert years old.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ChrissieH

                          I usually don't jump onto threads this old... but I just had to. Red Draw has been around since the 50's, when the Bar-L came to be. As Mesquite stated up above... that very old, very wise bartender was the owner of Bar-L no doubt... a man I came to know as "Uncle" Bufford. And around 1970 or so... my dad, after retiring from the Air Force became the manager of the Bar-L... The rumors you hear about the Red-Draw are in fact true... And when that old feller died he was nearly a hunnert years old... my dad today is 75 and saw that Bar-L go through a LOT of changes... from Red-Draws in Bel Airs to computers and cell-phones.

                          Enjoy a Red Draw for me... I miss that old place.

                          aka: Rusty

                          PS - Oh... by the way... a REAL RED DRAW comes in an ICY, FROSTY MUG, filled with 1/3 tomato juice and 2/3 Budweiser from the TAP... unless you'd had a few... then dad would make 'em 2/3 tomato juice and 1/3 TAP-BUD... he always laughed and said the drunks'd never know the difference... and tomato juice was a lot cheaper than beer... :)

                          1. re: rustyxj

                            While I enjoy the enthusiasm a lot of people share about the origin of the Red Draw, I don't see how anyone can say with certainty that it was created by the Bar-L or the Rock Inn. For starters, I keep hearing about how it originated in the 50's, but Mexico is credited for adding tomato juice to their beer in the 30's if not before that. Moreover, adding any variety of liquids to any alcoholic drink has been done for centuries. Beer has been around since 9500 BC - and you're going to tell me the idea of adding tomato juice never crossed someone's mind until 1950? The telephone was invented but nobody added some juice to their beer?

                            I live in Wichita Falls and just recently heard the rumor that the Red Draw originated here and I have to call foul on this one. Look at it from a logical standpoint and it doesn't make sense. Do some historical research and it's debunked.

                        2. Aw you can go all day about the origin of the drink and never come to agreement. But!... for you Houstonian's.....There is a Oyster bar/Seafood spot on I-10 called "Captain Tom's" Just off the south feeder of I-10 and Mason Road (Actually referred to as Katy, TX which is 'just' west of Houston) The small restaurant is in the shape of a boat of course. Here you will ask Jorge or Juan (who have both worked there for years) to make you a Michalada with your favorite beer, what ever that may be, and you will find it is a little peice of Heaven.

                          1. I'm from Wichita Falls and I worked at Bar L when I was in college. The red draw was invented in Wichita Falls and it was invented at Bar L. People often times think it was invented at pioneer but it wasn't Bar L and Pioneer were owned by the same people. Both locations have since been turned into historical monuments that why they continue to be able to serve you beer in your car. These two locations are the only places in texas where you can sit in your car and drink. "we would usually sit on the tailgate" anyhow the red draw-- Frosty mug, beer of choice(budlight works best), tomato juice, limes, and salt. Fill bottom of glass up to the bottom of the hanle of the glass or about 1 inch pour in the beer, add salt and lime to taste. There are different versions such as adding tabasco sauce to give it a kick. You now will never want to drink beer without it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: heatherdawn

                              Just got back from the Bar-L this week. They still have the Red Draw, but we noticed signs all over West Texas for cans of Bud and Bud Light, premixed with clamato juice. So it has obviously become a big enough deal that a bottling distributor makes it available for purchase by the can.
                              Food at Bar-L is very good, by the way.

                            2. Hey, I used to live in Wichita Falls and ate at bar L regularly, and that bar did in fact come up with the concept "red draw" ...its 2 fingers of tomato juice in a glass then pour budweiser or light if prefer 12oz. So 12 oz beer and approx 2-3 oz tomato juice...I like the "clamato tomato juice myself" hope this helped ;)

                              1. I used to live in that god forsaken town and the ribs and red draw is phenom. 2-3 oz tomato juice and 12oz budweiser or whatever your pref, the "clamato tomato juice" is my personal fave but try diff tomato brands and diff beers. Hope this helps ;)

                                1. I am an Ole Fart from Wichita Falls and I had my first Red Draw at the Bar L when I was 13 - my convaluted uncle bought them for me. I was barely in Jr. High at Zundy. I had them later at P5 and P3. I have been led to believe that it was indeed first done a the Bar L but I do not know. I do know that I still love them. I prefer 1/3 juice to 2/3 beer (bud or whatever is on draw) and I used a salt shaker before each chug-a-lug. Great stuff. I later saw it many places in my travels across the country. (I graduated in 1959) Do the math!

                                  1. Duncan. I was born in Wichita Falls and lived there for over sixty years. The drink that you refer to, so I am told, originated in Wichita Falls, and I found out about it as soon as I was old enough to pass for an adult. On the old U.S. 287, now called the "Old Iowa Park Highway," there stands a building covered with native sandstone, and rightly named the Rock Inn. In the fifties it was a thriving spot where, as legend goes, the "Red Draw" was born thusly. Put heavy stemmed goblets into the deep freeze until they thoroughly frost over, put about an inch of cold tomato juice in the bottom and fill the goblet with draft beer. In the 50's draft beer differed in that it was not pasturized as it is today and had a smidgin more of a yeasty taste. The combination of the frozen goblet and the ingredients would cause a film of ice to float on top of the brew. While I haven't had one in many years, I just returned from Costa Rica where I showed them how it was made. However, they did not have the frozen goblet. So this is the tale. Is it true? To the best of my knowledge it is and if it isn't it should be. Good drinking.

                                    Harold Bonham

                                    1. Red Draws: 1 Frosty glass, 1/3 tomato juice (V8 is pretty dern good too), 2/3 beer of your choice. Best cure around for a hangover! Even better with a steak on garlic toast eaten in your car on Sunday afternoon at Pioneer 2 in The Falls but not sure if that is a possiblity these days.

                                      Grew up in Wichita Falls, graduated and moved away in 1971. If you are ever there, drink as many red draws as you like but think twice about drinking the water. Folks that lived there in the incredibly fun '60s usually said the water from Lake Arrowhead was what made people from there crazy...I am thinking it might have more to do with the late '60's but what a great time it was for those who survived it all.

                                      1. In 1971 I was a Michigan sportswriter covering the Pioneer Bowl game in Wichita Falls between Eastern Michigan and Louisiana Tech when I was introduced to the Red Draw. I remember a joint downtown (after hours, I think) where they kept filled pitchers of tomato juice right on the bar so you could mix yours to suit. I still make them from time to time, but they never seem to measure up to what I had in Wichita Falls!

                                        1. I don't know that it is particularly Texan. My Polish grandmother drank it and was never near Texas (Ontario is where she was). Mostly with salt. There is rumour of adding pepper or horseradish but... who knows

                                          1. Funny you mention this. I was at a Harley Owners Group conference in Wichita Falls at a bar called L2 or L3, one of those. I also was told it was a Wichita Falls creation. Maybe even they created it. I dont remember that part. Anyway, I was told it was created here . Didnt try one though.

                                            1. We, the Greenwalts thought we invented red beer with 3 inches of tomato juice in frosty mug, slice lemon squeezed into glass, salt and pepper and toothpick with 2 cocktail olives on it and fill with can of beer and lightly stirred and enjoy! Came back from Ira Greenwalt in early 1900's following descendants of Ira , Bob, Ed, and Sean Greenwalt.

                                              1. My grandfather in Pueblo used to drink these, and he was in Arlington, TX during WWII, so the WF connection would work. Personally, I prefer the Michelada, but since I grew up in the Panhandle and lived in Laredo, I've been exposed to both.

                                                1. The recipes here run everywhere from straight tomato juice to something resembling a bloody mary mix. I suppose all would work though I've only tried the former. Definitely not just Texan but might be central-states in origin: I had it growing up further north in Tornado Alley in the 60's and 70's where we mostly called it "red beer" or "tomato beer".

                                                  Reading the recipes I'm intrigued about a more bloody-mary type version, with some pepper and lemon/lime, etc. I had a one of the worst, probably the single worst beer ever "Ghost Face Killah" last week; a beer brewed with habanero, jalapeno, serrano and a couple other peppers. As bad as it was, if it were watered down to a sensible heat level with some tomato juice and other ingredients, it might actually be pretty good!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: TombstoneShadow

                                                    I enjoyed GFK. But then Im a pepper head so to me it was a nice sipper. Wouldnt recommend it if you arent into spicy food or are expecting a standard refreshing ale or lager or something. But its not over the top. Its "balanced" as far as I can tell. Ill give you this warning though, if GFK gave you heartburn dont ever get anywhere close to Stone's Punishment which I like as well but makes GFK look like lemon aid...

                                                  2. Yes, Wichita Falls is best and the Bar L is the place to be.