Michelada, Mexico’s Beer Cocktail

An ice-cold michelada can refresh both body and spirit. photo (c) Westend61 / Getty Images
  • 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 beer cocktail
Ratings (8)

Micheladas have been around since at least the 1970s in Mexico, and they have been especially popular in the northern areas of the country. The creation of michelada cocktails grew naturally out of the usual Mexican practice of adding fresh-squeezed lime juice and a dash of salt to a beer; this has expanded to include a variety of savory ingredients, such as the traditional Maggi sauce or a combination of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

Nowadays there are as many michelada recipes as there are bartenders. The following is a good, simple recipe for this wildly popular beer cocktail and suggestions for other popular versions.

What You'll Need

  • 1/4 cup coarse salt (for the rim)
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup ice cubes (or coarsely crushed ice)
  • 1-2 dashes of bottled hot chile sauce (brands such Tabasco, Tapatio or Cholula)
  • 1-2 dashes of soy sauce
  • 1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bottle of ice cold beer (dark Mexican is better)
  • Garnish: 1 lime wedge

How to Make It

  1. Spread a layer of salt on a saucer or other small, flat dish.

    Take a chilled beer mug or large glass and salt the rim of it by wetting the outside edge of the glass with some of the lime juice, then rolling it in the dish of salt.

  2. Fill the glass about half way with ice, then pour in the lime juice, chile sauce, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Stir.

  3. Slowly pour in the beer to the top of the glass.

    Push the lime wedge onto the edge and serve immediately.

    Note: If you like, serve the remaining beer—still in the bottle—along with the cocktail; replenish drink with beer as you go along. (Some people dislike doing this as it seriously dilutes the cocktail nature of a michelada. For this reason, the drink is sometimes mixed in a pitcher large enough to contain the whole beer and other ingredients, then poured into the glass with ice.)

    Variations on the Michelada

    Feel free to play around with ingredients and their quantities until you develop your own signature version of the michelada. Here are some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing:

    • Substitute the soy and Worcestershire sauces for a few shakes of the traditional Maggie liquid seasoning.

    • Add some Clamato juice (clam and tomato juice with condiments) to the mix.

    • Add a pinch or two of black pepper, celery salt, chicken bouillon powder, or all-purpose meat seasoning.

    • Eliminate the salted glass rim. Instead, add a little salt to the cocktail itself.

    • Substitute the bottled hot sauce with some powdered chile (such as pure chile piquín or powdered chipotle—not the “chili powder” used to make chili soup) in your cocktail. Either mix it in with the rim salt, stir it in with the sauce(s), or sprinkle it on top.

    • When you’ve tired of all the variations, go purist for a while: Prepare your beer with just lime juice and salt. This variation is called simply a chelada in some parts of Mexico.

    Edited by Robin Grose