Michelada: Hangover cure & refreshing beer cocktail

Michelada: Hangover cure & refreshing beer cocktail

Michelada, the Mexican beer cocktail with a bite, is quickly gaining popularity in the U.S. And it’s about time. The drink, a tangy and spicy concoction made with lime and chile is like medicine to a hangover. It’s refreshing, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s good for you.

I can imagine the Most Interesting Man in the World in the XX beer commercials saying, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I drink a michelada.”

More and more restaurants are offering the drink in their menus. A few months ago I was at a middle eastern restaurant in Florida and they had micheladas. And it was great. I couldn’t believe it. In Mexico they’re everywhere

What is a michelada?
A michelada is kind of like a Bloody Mary but made with beer. Here’s the exact recipe, although there are multiple variations:

The juice of one or two limes, Tabasco or other hot sauce, beer. Usually you line the rim of the glass with coarse salt like you do with a Margarita and add ice to the glass. The idea is to flavor the beer into a tart and spicy cocktail, so some people add a dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce or Magie sauce. Mexican beer like Negra Modelo or XX dark work best for my taste, but you could make it with Corona or Tecate or any other beer, really.

Also read: Learning to appreciate wine, a lifelong journey

Where does it come from?
No one seems to know for sure when or how this cocktail was invented. There are theories, and there are claims, but none are certain. No one seems to know what the name means or where it came from either. Some say Michelada comes from mi chela, which is Mexican slang for ‘my beer.’ Mix that with the word helada, which means ‘real cold’ or ‘frozen’ and you have michelada otherwise said as: Mi chela helada, (my frozen beer). But that’s just one of many theories.

But what is important to know is that if you’re a beer drinker and want to taste something different, you should give it a try. And if you’re traveling in Mexico and you cozy up to the bar, instead of ordering a Corona with lime, be adventurous and order a michelada.

In the Dominican Republic as well as Mexico, they make a similar drink but use Clamato juice to flavor the beer drink. I always thought this sounded pretty gross, I mean clam juice, tomato and beer?

Does it taste good?
But I tried it. And it’s not bad. Some U.S. beer companies like Miller and Budweiser have come up with something similar to the clamato and beer, as well as version of something like a michelada, but they don’t quite hit the mark. The Mexican beer, Modelo Especial had its own canned Michelada beer which is not bad. And if you go to a Mexican grocery store you might find a small bottle of a mix to make micheladas, which is basically a flavored hot sauce. But there is something about fresh lime that really adds zest to a drink. I don’t think anyone’s managed to harness this and lock it up in a bottle.

So when you decide it’s time to try it, (a Sunday afternoon when you’re a hungover is as good a time as any) you should go for fresh and real.

Here are the rules to enjoy a great michelada:

  • Rule number one: fresh limes.
  • Rule number two: coarse salt around the rim.
  • Rule number three: hot sauce.
  • Rule number four: Mexican beer.

Enjoy responsibly!

The 4 rules to make a great michelada

Phillippe Diederich

Phillippe Diederich is a bilingual author and photographer born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Mexico City and Miami. His photography has appeared in The New York Times, Time magazine, U.S. News and World Report and other national publications. Phillippe’s novels Sofrito and Playing for the Devil’s Fire are both published by Cinco Puntos Press. He is the recipient of a PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship and the Editor-in-Chief of Viva Fifty!