Michelada

In Mexico, micheladas are crafted to cure a hangover. I think of the michelada as a thirst-quenching cocktail for a lazy afternoon. Hops and carbonation (in the form of beer) are blended with savory-sweet tomato juice to produce a refreshingly spicy drink that goes down fast.

Stateside, Tabasco may be the typical heat, but I like to use a Mexican hot sauce such as Cholula. Leave the bottle out on the table so guests can add as much as they like.–Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan

LC You Say Michelada, I Say Michelada Note

Although there’s more than one way to pronounce “michelada,” we’ve always erred toward “meeeeee chay lah dah.” And although there’s more than one way to mix a michelada, we’re rather partial to this 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.”) 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. Unless you prefer to dump the heady concoction into a single ridiculously tall glass and keep it all to yourself.

Michelada Cocktail 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 hot pepper sauce
  • 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 chile powder. Moisten the rim of a tall glass with the lime wedge by forcing it onto the rim and running it around the perimeter. Then dip the rim in the salt mixture to coat. Toss the lime wedge to the side for another use or discard.
  • 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 about 2/3 full. Gradually pour in the beer and serve each 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:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Susan Bingaman

Jun 15, 2012

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 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

Jun 15, 2012

When it’s so hot that chilled white wine or sangria won’t cut the thirst, this drink is the ticket. 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 it 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

Jun 15, 2012

DELICIOUS! Perfectly refreshing. This 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

Jun 15, 2012

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

Jun 15, 2012

Very refreshing drink. I would recommend making the rim salt as it definitely adds to the”experience.” This 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

Jun 15, 2012

I loved the extra spiciness from the ancho chile powder on the rim. But even without it, this 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

Jun 15, 2012

Although I’m not a beer lover, I had some guests who are and they loved this drink. 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 “offical” 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 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!

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