Michelada

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.

Four glasses of michelada on a wooden board with a lime wedge in between them.

Adapted from Sarah Kate Gillingham-Ryan | Good Food to Share | Weldon Owen, 2011

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.–Renee Schettler

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

Four glasses of michelada on a wooden board with a lime wedge in between them.
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.
Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan

Prep 5 mins
Total 5 mins
Drinks
Mexican
2 servings
91 kcal
4.17 / 6 votes
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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
  • 1 (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)

  • 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

  • Pour the tomato juice, lime juice, and hot 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.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1drinkCalories: 91kcal (5%)Carbohydrates: 11g (4%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Sodium: 3694mg (161%)Potassium: 155mg (4%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 539IU (11%)Vitamin C: 18mg (22%)Calcium: 26mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

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.

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 doesn't 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.


Originally published June 15, 2012

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Comments

  1. 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.

    1. 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!

  2. 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!

    1. 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. 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.

    1. 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…

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