A cold, tangy, citrus-infused beer cocktail was created for hot days, and the Michelada hits all of those notes and more.

Cocktails don’t always have to contain liquor. Many concoctions come from bases made with low proof spirits, wine or, in this case, beer. A cold, tangy, citrus-tinged beer cocktail was created for hot days, and the Michelada hits all of those notes and more.

The michelada is perhaps the simplest form of beer cocktail, often with just a few ingredients. Typically, a michelada consists of a light Mexican beer, a Mexican-style hot sauce (like cholula), and citrus—usually in the form of lime juice, although I’ve seen lemon too. From there, the recipe can go in many directions, with liquid maggi seasoning and Worcestershire sauce being common add-ins.

A michelada – with or without tomato juice?

Some describe the Michelada as a variant of a Bloody Mary, but looking back at early recipes seems to belie this lineage, as the addition of tomato juice recipes appears to be a more recent development. However, tomato juice variations have become the most popular versions of the drink, so we’re including it in this recipe – but if you’re not a tomato juice fan, just skip it!

Origins of a Michelada

So where does this delicious combination of beer, spices and lime juice come from? There are several stories of dubious origin, but I’m inclined to go along with alcohol historian David Wondrich’s story by Michel Esper Jorge, who may have given the name to the drink and contained the hot sauce and savory spices in northern Mexico in the 1970s.

Brewing beer is a much longer activity in Mexico. Because the exact origin story of the drink is still hazy at best, its base ingredients can vary widely, allowing for plenty of creativity and ingredient mixing. (But there will always be one thing: beer!)

What kind of Mexican beer to use?

Any brand of Mexican pale lager will work in this recipe. I used Corona here, but Tecate, Modelo or Pacifico all work relatively the same in the recipe. You can even use an American Pilsner, but avoid dark beers to keep the traditional flavor profile.

A Mexican-style hot sauce

A Mexican-style hot sauce is the second most important ingredient here. I use cholula because I like its distinct chili flavor, but knowing that people have strong brand loyalty to their favorite hot sauce, all I’m saying is, choose something you enjoy.

Michelada Variations

The Michelada is one of those truly free and easy cocktails where following a recipe is entirely optional; You can customize the drink to your liking and make it your own. Here are a few variations to try – try them individually or combine ideas from a few if you like!

  • Swap the tomato juice for Clamato! A popular choice for a michelada is , a seasoned mix of tomato and clam juice. The clam juice gives the drink a strong, salty umami flavor.
  • Make it smoky! A dash of liquid smoke adds a rich, smoky flavor to your drink that balances the sweetness of the tomato juice.
  • Make it savory! Maggi seasoning and Worcestershire sauce are both popular condiments in Mexico. Add 2 dashes of each to add a heartier flavor to your drink, along with a small sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.

Tips and tricks for making a michelada

  • If you’re not sure your glass can hold all of your ingredients plus a full bottle of beer, add all of your ingredients minus the beer to your ice-filled glass, then slowly pour the beer over everything until you reach the top. If there is some beer left, you can refill your drink later. This technique also mixes all of your ingredients together without the help of a spoon or straw!
  • Would you like to do this for a crowd? This recipe easily adapts to the number of guests you wish to serve. Keep the beer separate, and in a small pitcher, combine tomatoes, hot sauce, and lime juice in a 1:1 ratio (i.e. use the single drink recipe as a guide for ingredients. If serving 4 people then you would need 4 ounces of tomato juice , 2 ounces of lime juice and about 8 dashes of hot sauce. Not sure if everyone likes it spicy? Simply add half the amount and leave the hot sauce container for guests to add themselves be able ).


preparation time
2 minutes

total time
2 minutes

1 serving

1 cocktail

When you think of glassware in which to serve the drink, remember that the michelada uses a full 12-ounce bottle to prepare a drink. You can always split this between two people if you like, but stick to this recipe and choose a roomy, tall glass, like a 20-ounce glass, that can hold the entire drink.

Also, be careful not to add too much ice, especially when adding the tomato juice. Other glasses you can consider would be a beer mug, which can hold different sizes depending on the size you choose, or even a wheat glass that holds up to 24 ounces.


  • 1 tablespoon kosher saltfor edging glass

  • 1 tablespoon Tajinfor edging glass

  • lime wedge to the rim of the glass, with fresh lime slices for garnish (optional)

  • 12 ounces beer, such as corona

  • 1 ounce tomato juice

  • 2 to 3 dashes Mexican-style hot sauce, eh cholula

  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 Lime)


  1. Edge of the glass:

    Mix together the salt and tajin, then pour onto a plate slightly larger than your pint glass.

    Take the lime wedge and rub it liberally around the outer rim of your glass. Dip the rim in the salt and tajín mixture. Put aside.

  2. Fill the glass with ice and beer:

    Fill your rimmed glass 2/3 full with ice, then slowly pour in the beer.

  3. Add the remaining ingredients and serve:

    Next, add tomato juice, hot sauce, and lime juice, plus any additional mix-ins you plan to use.

    Stir gently and garnish with limes if you like.


nutritional information (per serving)
379 calories
1g Fat
50g carbohydrates
4g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!