Michelada: How To Make The Best Mexican Beer Recipe

Find out how to make a michelada, the Mexican Bloody Mary made with beer.

A michelada is a Mexican beer cocktail recipe that some compare to a Bloody Mary. This drink is a classic both in Mexico and around the world, and in different countries, there are even different ways to prepare this alcoholic beverage, and some actually call it a 'chelada.'

So, in this article, we explain how to make a michelada following the classic recipe, and we tell you what makes it different from a 'chelada.' Besides, we share other novel twists on this recipe like flavored micheladas, and shrimp and clamato juice micheladas.


Michelada: The best Mexican beer

When most people think of a michelada, they imagine a beer with hot sauce, lime juice, ice, and salt. This is a traditional Mexican beverage, although its origins are uncertain. According to the Cámara Nacional de la Industria de la Cerveza y la Malta (the Mexican Beer and Malt Industry Chamber),  the michelada might have come from the Club Deportivo Potosino, a sports center located in San Luis Potosí, in the North-Eastern region of the country.


The story says that one of the members of this sports club often ordered a beer in a chabela glass and then added lime, salt, ice, and a straw. This man's name was Michel Ésper, and thus they dubbed this drink the 'Michelada' combining his name, with the name of the glass (Michel + chabela). Another simpler version of the story says that the term 'michelada' is a mix of the word 'chela' (beer, in Mexican Spanish) and 'helada' (the word for frozen in Spanish -since it has ice), making it a faster way of ordering the drink since 'Mi-chela-helada' (my-frozen-beer) is quite the tongue twister.

In any case, everyone in Mexico has heard of this classic beverage. However, some choose to call it 'michelada' while others refer to it as 'chelada,' so, what's the difference?


Related: Bloody Mary: Recipe And Legend


Is it a michelada or a chelada?

The difference between a michelada and a chelada is that the former has hot sauce and lime, while in the latter, lime is the only ingredient. But, there isn't only one correct name here. Most of Mexico considers a michelada a beer and tomato juice drink, but in certain regions, it's is called a 'chelada.' However, on an international level, when people hear 'michelada,' they're probably thinking of beer with hot sauce and lime.


Is it a michelada or a chelada?
A michelada is beer with tomato and lime juice while chelada just has lime.

How to make a michelada: Ingredients and recipe

Besides being a great drink to go with meals or to serve at a party, both classic and Cuban micheladas are a popular hangover remedy. So, here we tell you how to make a michelada (with tomato juice). Here are all of the michelada ingredients that you'll need:


  • Beer

  • Sauces: Valentina hot sauce, Maggi sauce, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco (not everyone uses this last one)

  • Lime (approximately 5-10 ml.)

  • Salt

  • Ice (this is optional, you can choose to add it or just leave it out)

  • Optional condiments: shrimp, clamato juice (tomato), Tajin (chili powder)

These are the utensils you'll need:

  • A juice extractor (to make juicing the limes easier)

  • A classic chabela or pint glass (if you don't have either, don't worry, any glass will do)

  • If you want your micheladas to be extra frozen, try putting your glasses in the freezer for a few hours before you prepare the drink.

  • A dessert plate that you can put salt on, to salt the rim of your glass, if you want you can mix Tajin power in with the salt too.


Preparing the drink

Making micheladas is very simple, although you can play with the ingredients a little bit to change the flavor, depending on your taste.

  1. First, we're going to rub a lime on the rims of the glasses, and then dip them into the salt and Tajin mix on the dessert plate. The edge should be covered in salt and have a frosted look to it.
  2. Now, put ice in the pint glasses, followed by the lime juice.
  3. Add the sauces.

So, how much sauce should you put it?  This all depends on how much spice you can handle and whether you prefer savory or sweet flavors. Consider this:

  • Valentina hot sauce is medium on the spice scale, with a salty taste; its made from dried chilis and different condiments (but, you can find an 'extra spicy' version on the market).

  • Maggi sauce isn't spicy at all, but it is quite salty since it's a meat seasoning, made from vegetable protein.

  • Worcestershire sauce is neither spicy nor salty; it's kind of sweet; it has vinegar, corn syrup, black pepper, and sometimes wine and even clove.

  • Tabasco sauce isn't very salty, but it's very spicy; it contains tabasco chilis, vinegar, water, and salt.

     4. Now, mix the sauces, ice, and lemon with your straw.

     5. And finally, pour in the beer.

Once you've finished all of these steps, your michelada is ready to enjoy!

Related:  Tabasco: How To Make Hot Sauce And Wings

Preparing the drink
Hot sauce, Worcestershire, and tajin are all michelada ingredients.

Michelada with clamato juice (Cuban)

A michelada made with clamato juice, is sometimes also called a 'Cuban michelada.' The preparation method for this beverage is the same as the one we described earlier (the classic Mexican michelada). Here, the only difference is that  before you pour in your beer, you need to add a little bit of  clamato  (tomato juice)  and then mix in the sauces and the lime. A little more than half of the glass should be made up of these ingredients.


Some places put a straw covered with a typical Mexican spicy-sweet sugar mixture in the drink, making it into a 'chamochela,' or you could just add a stalk of celery. Another option would be to put a couple of shrimp on the rim, or even on a skewer inside of the glass. In reality, the possibilities are endless when it comes to the combination of ingredients that you can put into micheladas, and you can really let your imagination go wild.


Flavored micheladas

Recently, people have started adding different flavors to their classic micheladas. Take mango, for example. Once again, the preparation method is the same as the in the traditional recipe; you just have to add chunks of fruit before you pour in your beer.


You can do this with any fruit that goes well with the sauces; this generally means citrus fruits like pineapple or passion fruit. Some places are even starting to add a bit of fruit juice to the mix before adding the beer, although this is less common.


What is the best Mexican beer?
Corona, Negra Modelo, and 'Ángel Caído' from Concordia Hidalgo brewery are some of the best Mexican beers.

What is the best Mexican beer?

And finally, the answer to your question: what is the best beer to make a michelada with?  Really, there isn't a perfect beer that you have to make this drink with. You can make both micheladas and cheladas with any kind of beer, whether it's a blonde, dark, craft, domestic or imported beer.


But, for many beer lovers, micheladas are almost an abomination (since so many ingredients keep you from enjoying the flavor and texture of the original beer). Even so, many people that live in Mexico and all over the world still love this drink.


Here is some information for people interested in finding out the best Mexican beer on the market: according to Forbes Mexico and the Cerveceros de México,  'Ángel Caído' from Concordia Hidalgo Brewery is the best Mexican beer brand in 2018.  This is a Braggot style craft beer with honey that contains 9% alcohol. As far as commercial brands go, Bohemian beer (from Heineken Mexico) is recognized as the third best Mexican beer, beating out Negra Modelo, which comes in 7th place.


Related: The 9 Best Beers In The World


A step by step michelada recipe

And for the visual learners out there, that want to see someone make micheladas step by step, before trying themselves, take a look at this michelada tutorial:



  • This article about "Michelada" was originally published in Spanish in Viviendo La Salud


    Michelada, un invento 100% mexicano (2018). Cerveceros de México - Cámara de la Cerveza. Retrieved January 16, 2019. Available at https://cervecerosdemexico.com/2018/09/11/la-michelada-un-invento-100-mexicano/

    10 cervezas mexicanas para celebrar el día de la cerveza (2018). Forbes México. Retrieved January 16, 2019. Available at https://www.forbes.com.mx/forbes-life/10-cervezas-mexicanas-que-debes-probar-el-dia-de-la-cerveza/