michelada by Peter Frank Edwards

Michelada [mee-cha-lah-dah] is a cerveza preparada, a Mexican term for beer mixed with tomato juice, hot sauce, or salsa. In English-speaking countries, it would be considered a variety of shandy (a beer mixed with soda, carbonated lemonade, or cider. The Michelada is made with beer, tomato juice (or Clamato), lime juice, and assorted sauces, spices, and peppers. It is served in a chilled, salt-rimmed glass.

In Mexico, Micheladas are considered a good remedy for hangovers.There are different types of variations of Micheladas; for example in Mexico City, the most common form of a Michelada is prepared with beer, lime, salt, and hot sauce/or chili. Some add slices of orange.

There are numerous variations of this beverage throughout Mexico and Latin America. Recently, major U.S. beer producers have begun marketing cervezas preparadas, illustrating the wide variety of recipes in the Chelada/ Michelada category, and to serve the large Latin American population in the country. For example, Miller Brewing Company produces Miller Chill which is a ‘Chelada-style light lager with a hint of salt and lime.’ Going a different route, Anheuser-Busch is manufacturing Budweiser Chelada and Bud Light Chelada as a combination of lager, clamato, lime juice, and salt.

There are a variety of types of Micheladas. For example, a Clamato contains tomato juice and clam juice. A cubana contains Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, chile and salt. A Chelada contains simply lime and salt. Depending on the region of Mexico the preparation will vary. For people unfamiliar with the local area, it is best to ask how the Micheladas are prepared before ordering if there is concern for what ingredients will be used. In some regions Chelada becomes Michelada, and vice versa.

There are two popular versions of the origin of Michelada. Michel Ésper used to ask for his beer with lime, salt, ice and a straw, in a special cup called ‘chabela,’ as if it were a beer lemonade. The members of the club started asking for lemonades as Michel´s lemonade, eventually giving the name Michelada. As time went by other sauces have been added to the original recipe.

Another theory holds that the word Michelada is the combination of the words ‘mix’ and ‘chela.’ The word ‘chela’ is a popular way to call a beer in Mexico. It comes from the English word ‘chill.’ When you ask for a chela you are asking for a cold beer. ‘Mix’ comes from the mix of sauces added to the beer. Therefore putting the two words together Mix-chela sounds like Michelada. Others argue that it stands for ‘Mi Chela Helada,’ meaning ‘My cold beer.’

2 Comments to “Michelada”

  1. As a (drunken) college student in the Midwest in the 70s, a frequent hangover “cure” was known as a Red Beer, just a 50-50 mix of draft beer and tomato juice. It’s left as an exercise for the reader to determine (a) if it works, and (b) which half is most effective.

  2. I love Michelada. If you are looking for a good recipe for michelada, you can find a few michelada recipes at michelada-recipes.com

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