The michelada recipe is known as a hangover cure in Mexico but it’s also considered a great beer cocktail on a hot day
When I first visited Mexico over ten years ago one of my favourite drinks was the michelada. But I only thought of it as something I drank in Mexico.
But a few years later I visited a resort in Loreto with Rease and my favourite Halifax blogger Cailin.
The resort was in the middle of nowhere so there was no walking off the resort like in Playa del Carmen.
There’s only so much drinking you can do in the day so we showed up for every possible class on the resort’s schedule.
We woke up for the morning aqua aerobics and afternoon salsa classes. But one of my favourites was the bartending class.
I’m always up for a good drink.
I couldn’t believe how easy it was. And although I know some people like to buy a Michelada mix, the actual Michelada recipe is so easy to make from scratch.
Cerveza Preparada – The Original Beer Cocktail
If you are already a fan of the michelada I’m about to blow your mind, because it’s part of a family of beer cocktails called cerveza preparada or prepared beer.
In other countries a prepared beer cocktail may be a shandy or a red eye. And in Mexico they have SO many of them.
In fact if you think US beer companies invented adding a bit of lime and other flavours to beer, think again.
Mexico is the OG creating some of the best beer cocktails around the world.
Other Mexican Beer Cocktails Include:
- Clamato con Chela
- Michelada con Clamato
- Ojo Rojo (red eye)
Is it a Michelada or a Chelada?
So here’s the thing, Mexicans can’t agree on the michelada recipe and it’s a huge national debate.
In some cases a Michelada has Clamato juice, and in other regions they would be horrified to see Clamato juice ruining the beer.
But those who use Clamato juice argue that without it, it’s simply a chelada and that you MUST have the Clamato juice.
In La Condesa Mexico City, I had it both with and without clamato juice, but both menus listed the ingredients as it is such a regional debate.
In Guadalajara you may not find Clamato juice, but you may have one with chicken boullion, Maggi seasoning, and hot sauce.
So let’s just agree to disagree.
You cannot win, someone will always be mad at a michelada recipe depending on where they are from.
Is the Michelada a Hangover Cure?
Although cruda technically means raw in Spanish, in Mexico it also means to be hungover.
There are foods in Mexico to combat cruda like birria, pozole and menudo, which is a tripe soup commonly sold on Sundays.
The michelada recipe is the original beer cocktail most of them are known to be hangover cures and is pretty tasty.
But also they are simply drinks that you have on a hot day.
When I was in Felipe Carrillo Puerto we always celebrated Fridays with a michelada to kick off the weekend.
We picked up beer and then went to someone’s house where they sell the rest of the ingredients and will put together an elaborate drink for you in a styrofoam cup to go.
And based on where I’ve been, my michelada recipe uses Clamato juice.
For me it is basically Mexico’s hair of the dog or hangover cure like Canada’s Caesar drink or America’s Bloody Mary. Kermato juice is Cuba’s clamato and it’s also used for Cuban drinks.
There’s something about tomato juice that just makes you feel better.
Where Did the Michelada Come From
No one can agree on when the first michelada recipe was created.
The most patriotic story is that the michelada was invented in 1910 during the Mexican revolution.
After battle General Don Augusto Michel lead his troops to his favourite cantina in San Luis Potosi for a happy hour beer.
However, he insisted it had lime and hot sauce in it to build character.
As helada means frosted, it does make sense that they’d add Michel to it.
Sopa de Lima
Cochinita Pibil (Mexican Pulled Pork)
Pico de Gallo
Others say that it came about in the 1940s and is just a blending of slang words. Chela means beer in Mexico, so mi chela helada means my frosty beer.
And yet some claim the michelada recipe was invented in the 1960s, but also in San Luis Potosi. This time, from a different Michel, who was a member at Club Deportivo Potosino.
They say he drank his beer over ice with a bit of lime juice and salt.
When others saw the drink they asked for “la limonada de Michel,” which eventually became michelada, a shortened form of Michel’s limonada.
Classic Michelada Recipe
What I love about this beer cocktail is that the michelada recipe is SO versatile. And many people don’t follow the stringent rules.
Although traditionally a Michelada is with a dark beer and a chelada is with a light beer you can choose what you like.
If you prefer a light beer like me you can have that.
When you order a beer in Playa del Carmen restaurants or other cities you just choose the beer and for an additional piece they’ll make it a chelada or michelada.
Clamato Michelada Ingredients
If you are American and have never been to Canada or Mexico you may not know what Clamato juice is.
It’s like tomato juice, but also has clam juice in it!
I know it sounds terrible but I think the clam mostly brings a saltiness to the drink, much like anchovies do on a pizza.
It’s also used in Canada’s national cocktail – the Caesar drink.
You should try a Clamato michelada once unless you are allergic to it. It does not taste fishy and really adds so much to it.
But if you can’t find Clamato juice (you can get it here), then tomato juice is your best bet.
- tomato juice or clamato juice
- lime juice
- chili powder or hot sauce
- soy sauce
- Worcestershire sauce or “salsa inglesa”
They’ll give you a glass with the mixture and you can pour how much beer you’d like into it.
In Mexico the michelada recipe can vary greatly. And the name for it too as the drink and its variations continue to evolve (see below).
In some regions a Michelada is called a chelada or some have Maggi seasoning or chamoy powder.
Instead of Clamato juice in shrimp cities like Mazatlan it may use Camaronazo, a shrimp based tomato juice.
Remember the country is huge so no one agrees to one recipe for drinks in Mexico. It’s a fun surprise each time.
Easy Michelada Recipe
The Michelada beer cocktail is perfect for sunny afternoons when you want something more than just a beer with some Mexican antojitos, sikil pak or serving alongside Instant Pot carnitas.
And let’s pretend it’s healthy because of the tomato juice, which is a good source of vitamin C.
The Michaelada is known as a hangover cure in Mexico but it’s also just a great drink.
- 1 glass rimmed with salt or celery salt or Tajin seasoning
- 1 light Mexican beer
- 1/2 cup Clamato juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1.5 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (aka salsa ingles)
- Mix together and serve.
Hot sauce works well here, just throw in as much as you'd like.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 123Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 52158mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although BaconisMagic.ca attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
My favorite drink (after a spicy bloody mary!). And it’s true, every city in Mexico(and restaurant in California, for that matter) makes it differently. But I like it best with lots of the Tajin brand spice mix (I can eat that stuff on anything!) or if you can’t find that, a hot sauce like Tapatio.
Ooh now that is something I may need to seek out.
This is one drink I would NOT enjoy. I can’t drink Ceasars – I am the fruit-in-my-drink-with-an-umbrella-to-garish type!! But I would love to learn to bartend one of these days….
See I’m a savoury kind of girl, it’s the perfect drink for me.
I’m not sure I would like it, but I’d try it!
It’s definitely worth trying.
Not only is it a great refreshing drink on a hot day, it is truly the ultimate hangover cure like you mentioned. I’ts better than a bloody mary because it uses beer instead of vodka so you don’t end up getting buzzed again.
Definitely eases a stomach as well.
I love me some Micheladas. I recently had one in Colombia that had instead of salt a BBQ seasoning. It was delicious!
Great posts, Keep em coming!
Michelada made me start liking beer! I must say that this trip around Latin America is awakening my senses for alcohol..first it was michelada in Mexico and now red wine in Chile… I wonder what’s next!! 😛
Sounds like a drink after my own heart… as caesars are bar none my favourite drink. There aren’t as many savoury drinks to choose from compared to the sweet ones, so kudos to you for recommending a new one for me!
I know I’ve been here too long when I start thinking, ‘What? No chili!?’
I know, the rest of Latin America (except Peru) can be really disappointing that way because it’s SO unspicy.
Now then, how does adding beer make it a hangover cure?! Still scratching my head over that one! But hey, when in Mexico.
Still, it sounds a lot more appetising than the cow’s blood soup here in Korea. Personally, I swear by a fried egg sandwich and a glass of ice cold orange juice.
You know it’s the hair of the dog – more alcohol always makes you feel better.
Huh, I always thought a michelada was a beer-meets-margarita. The soy sauce and worcestershire sauce would do me in. I’m nauseous just thinking of that combo. Fried eggs, hash browns, and a Guinness-best hangover cure in my book.
Hair of the dog always works…sounds tasty actually!
Add some menudo and you have yourself the ultimate hangover cure.
Yum. This has been my favorite drink since an early 2000s trip to Mexico. So happy that many bars are making it in Chicago now. Although, I’ve made my share at the bar and showed the bartenders!
One question: no tomato juice/Clamato/Bloody Mary Mix in your recipe (although I seem to see it in the picture)??
Oops I forgot to put that in the recipe!
Micheladas are really trendy right now in Santiago for some reason, but people here just do beer, lemon juice and Tabasco – I’ll have to introduce this version at my next party!
Oh no the clamato juice make them healthy…well somewhat healthy.
Ooo I’m gonna give this a try the next time I have a night out haha! I tend to not care much for most hangover cures, but this one actually sounds quite tasty! Maybe I’ll even give it a try without the night out hehe. Thanks! <3
I love beer and I love Clamato, this recipe looks great! I also love bloody mary’s, but often times they are too much for me. This recipe looks like a great way to get some of the components of a bloody without getting too silly on vodka. I can’t wait to try this!
Oh wowww!! Now that is the drink I would love to drink once. Thanks for sharing this blog.
THE MICHELADA taste very good and it is useful for me to cook. Thank you..
I remember trying this at a friend’s house so maybe it’s not the best basis to form any strong opinion on lol willing to try it again at any place that serves it really well!
Michelada = the Perfect Summer Beertail.
Chelada = Not the same as a Michelada. A Chelada is like a Lemon-Beer Spritzer. You take Lemon juice, a bit of sparkling water, add your favorite light beer. Delicious.
Yes the chelada is essentially a beer shandy.
However, in some parts of Mexico, what we know as a michelada is just called a chelada.
I’ll have to try this one out. I’ve just been buying all of mine online. My current go to is this nice Lava Michelada Mix. It’s uses all natural ingredients and it’s completely vegan!
Agreed, this is my go-to choice too and I’m a super picky Mexican.
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