Is there anything worse than going to a Mexican restaurant and being served a boring, flavorless salsa? Nope, didn't think so. If you're from the Asheville, NC area, you know the amazing Mexican restaurant Papa's & Beer and their amazing salsa bar (if you're from A'ville and don't know what I'm talking about...how??). They have this one salsa that has the most amazing, unique flavor that I could never quite figure out. Turns out it's salsa borracha which literally means "drunk salsa" (aka it's made with beer).
It's a mild salsa but it has a complex, smoky flavor that puts literally any other mild salsa to shame. So I decided to try to recreate that amazing salsa! Honestly, I haven't been home to Asheville in over a year so I can't promise that this tastes exactly the same, but this salsa borracha is officially my favorite salsa EVER. Seriously, it's just SO good!
- Dried ancho chilies*
- These are popular dried chilies that you should be able to find at most grocery stores!
- Dark Mexican beer
The ancho chilies give this salsa its signature smoky flavor but they don't provide much heat. Whatever you do, do NOT leave these out!
Salsa borracha literally means "drunk salsa" so the beer is a pretty crucial ingredient. Modelo Negra or Dos Equis Ambar is preferred but any amber lager will work! Just don't use any beer with ton of extra hops or added flavors.
This salsa is cooked for a few reasons. One, roasting everything adds an amazing depth of flavor. And two, since we add beer to the salsa we have to make sure the alcohol cooks off.
- Roasting/broiling -- this is my preferred method! I love how broiling the veggies gives you some charred spots that deepen the flavor and texture of the salsa.
- Stove-top -- this is just as effective and a little bit easier but you won't get those same charred pieces.
More Salsa Recipes!
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- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Add the tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, and garlic to a large oven safe skillet or dutch oven and toss with olive oil.
- Roast the veggies for about 10-15 minutes or until everything is lightly charred and the tomatoes have begun to break down.
- Remove from the oven and deglaze the pan with the beer, making sure to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Add the ancho chilies to the pan and return to the oven. Roast for another 10 minutes to allow the alcohol to cook off.
- Transfer the roasted veggies to a large food processor or blender along with all the liquid in the pan. Then add in the lime juice, honey, and cilantro.
- Blend until well combined and salt to taste.