Michelada Recipe

A michelada is a spicy Mexican cocktail that’s a traditional hangover cure. Tomato juice and beer are the primary ingredients but it’s not complete without the lime and hot sauce.

Michelada Recipe

In Mexico, a michelada is the customary morning-after equivalent of a Bloody Mary—except it’s lighter, less tomato-y, and all around lovelier. While there’s more than one way to mix a michelada, we’re rather partial to the below recipe. Some folks add a drop or three of Worcestershire sauce, others play with the proportion of lime to tomato juice, a few eschew the tomato juice entirely, and at least one person on the planet simply shakes 3 parts beer to 1 part bloody mary mix. Just about all of them caution you to add hot sauce “to taste.” (Stateside, Tabasco may be the most commonly reached for source of heat, but the author prefers a Mexican hot sauce such as Cholula. You may as well just set out whatever bottles of hot sauce you have and let each person add whichever hot sauce in whatever amount they desire.) However you make yours, if it has cerveza, citrus, at least a little tomato juice, and some hot sauce, you can say you’ve made a michelada. Actually, if you follow this recipe, you can say you’ve made two micheladas, as it makes an incredibly generous pour with enough to share. This recipe has been updated. Originally published June 15, 2012.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Pronounce Michelada

Just like there’s more than one way to make a michelada, there’s also more than one way to say “michelada.” That said, we’ve always erred toward the pronunciation “meeeeee chay lah dah.” Sorta just rolls off the tongue. Which is good, because after a few sips of this cocktail we’re too lazy for anything that requires any effort.

Michelada Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Serves 2

Ingredients

  • For the salty spicy rim (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, fine or coarse
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 lime wedge
  • For the michelada
  • 2 tablespoons tomato juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade hot sauce (or less to taste)
  • Ice cubes
  • One 12-ounce bottle cerveza (that is, a pale Mexican beer, nothing dark like Modelo or Dos Equis), chilled
  • 2 lime wedges

Directions

  • Make the salty spicy rim (optional)
  • 1. On a small plate, stir together the salt and ancho chile powder. Slick the rim of a tall glass with the lime wedge by forcing the wedge onto the rim and running it around the perimeter. Then dip the rim in the salt mixture to coat it. Toss the spent lime wedge to the side and compost or reserve for another use.
  • Make the michelada
  • 2. Pour the tomato juice, lime juice, and hot pepper sauce into a pitcher or very tall glass and stir to mix well. Divide the mixture among 2 glasses. Add enough ice cubes to each glass to fill it about 2/3 full. Gradually pour in the beer and serve with a lime wedge on the side. We think you can take it from here…although be sure to consume your michelada relatively quickly, before the ice has a chance to melt into a puddle and dilute your perfect proportions.
Thirsty for more? Sip on these:

Hey, there. Just a reminder that all our content is copyright protected. Like a photo? Please don't use it without our written permission. Like a recipe? Kindly contact the publisher listed above for permission before you post it (that's what we did) and rewrite it in your own words. That's the law, kids. And don't forget to link back to this page, where you found it. Thanks!

Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Susan Bingaman

May 28, 2016

Yowza! This is one spicy beer! It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re in the need of a cure (wink), this michelada is sure to help. Just make sure you’re capable of taking down an entire tablespoon of Tabasco. (Isn’t capsaicin really good for you? Michelada = Health Food!) Hangover cures aside, drinking this makes me want to sit on a patio, enjoy some live music, and eat my friend Sam’s tacos. I love when a drink plans a party–and when it cures whatever ails you the morning after.

Testers Choice
Robert McCune

May 28, 2016

When it’s so hot that chilled white wine or sangria won’t cut the thirst, this michelada is the ticket. It's great for the hot summer days when you can do nothing but grill outdoors and drink something very refreshing and cool. The tomato juice enhances the beer but does not dominate it. The spicy rim along with the hot sauce give the michelada just enough kick. (However, some may want to cut back on the hot sauce according to taste.) Even my diehard beer-drinking purist friends admitted that this was a good drink to offer as a choice. Will try next time with vegetable juice cocktail to see if there is a great difference between that cocktail and one made with tomato juice.

Testers Choice
Natasha Roetter

May 28, 2016

DELICIOUS! Perfectly refreshing. This michelada isn’t a drink that appeals to everyone’s taste, but for those who enjoy a Bloody Mary of the Mexican persuasion, it’s near perfect. I did add a drop of Tabasco and a bit more lime juice, though it’s up to personal preference if you want to do this.

Testers Choice
Melissa Maedgen

May 28, 2016

I’ve had many variations of the michelada. With and without tomato juice, with Clamato, with Worcestershire sauce, with more or less hot sauce. I usually make mine with Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and lime, and no tomato juice. But I thoroughly enjoyed this tomato-y version. With a full tablespoon of hot sauce per serving, this makes a rather spicy rendition of this beer cocktail. If you are not fond of heat, you might want to reduce the amount. This recipe also calls for ancho chile powder to be mixed with the salt for the rim, which I initially thought would not add anything to the cocktail, but it turned out to be a nice touch. You want a fairly light Mexican beer for this drink. If you need to make a gluten-free version, I would recommend using New Grist over the other gluten-free beers out there. It comes closest to the style needed here.

Testers Choice
Joel Jenkins

May 28, 2016

Very refreshing drink. I would recommend making the rim salt as it definitely adds to the”experience.” This michelada is much lighter than a Bloody Mary and, in my opinion, much more enjoyable. Beer on ice isn’t as strange as it would seem, and the citrus topper has just the right amount of acid to spice up the tomato juice.

Testers Choice
Pat Francis

May 28, 2016

I loved the extra spiciness from the ancho chile powder on the rim. But even without it, this michelada was excellent. It’s like a Bloody Mary made with beer. It’s very refreshing, but this is definitely a drink that needs to be consumed freshly chilled. Once the ice cubes have melted, it becomes not so tasty. Things dilute and get warm and…yuck.

Testers Choice
Sue Epstein

May 28, 2016

Although I’m not a beer lover, I had some guests who are and they loved this michelada. I did add some Worcestershire sauce–a little less than 1/4 teaspoon–and didn’t use cerveza since it isn’t available here. I thought the drink was nice, but as I said, I’m not a great beer lover. My guests, however, loved the bite of the salty and spicy rim and the hot pepper sauce.

Comments
Comments
  1. Karen Harris says:

    This post brought back a flood of memories to me. We used to drink a simple version of these years back in Texas known as just “Red Beer.” I always thought something was missing, and now I know what it was. Your drink looks like the kicked up version I was looking for. I see a summer full of your Micheladas in my future.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Splendid! Happy to be of service, Karen. Thanks for the lovely note. Do let us know how you kick your red beer up a notch into a michelada…and if you make any other tweaks. Happy summer…

  2. Cindy says:

    Hah! I never knew that what I called a poor man’s bloody mary had a more “official” name! Like Karen Harris, above, said, way back when… These do indeed cure a hangover quite nicely!

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      HI Cindy,

      I’ve never heard it called a poor man’s bloody mary before, but hey, whether it be beer or vodka, it sure does the trick the morning after! Happy sipping.

  3. Barbara says:

    In Canada they drink beer and tomato juice half and half, very nice!

  4. dan z says:

    With this recipe, the taste of beer overpowers the other ingredients, such as tomato and lime juice. I like to use less beer and more tomato, lime juice, and Worcestershire sauce. It’s absolutely delicious and filling.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Hey dan z, many thanks for taking the time to share your tweaks. If there’s one thing I learned while researching and testing potential Michelada recipes for the site, it’s that every person seems to have a slightly different preferred proportion of beer to tomato to lime to Worcestershire. This was the recipe that drew the most raves by far, and so we humbly offer it as a starting point for you—and others—to do with as you will. Glad to see you made it your own!

  5. bkhuna says:

    The da in Michelada is, in native Mexican, pronounced more like a “thug.” And, as any true member of La Raza will attest, menudo is the traditional morning-after victual.

    Honesta a dios !

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      We love that we can always rely on you to inform us of the real deal, bkhuna! Many thanks, as always.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail