A Michelada is a refreshing, savory beer cocktail that has been around for decades. Originating in Mexico, this drink can be made with many different types of beer and ingredients to suit your taste buds. Some like their Micheladas salty with lime juice, while others enjoy them spicy with hot sauce. But no matter how you make it, the tart flavor from the citrus always remains true to its roots.
The spicy and tart flavor of a Michelada is achieved in many different ways across central and South America. In Mexico, Micheladas are traditionally made with a base of Clamato or tomato juice. They can also be served on the rocks in a salt-rimmed glass with lime to accentuate that classic tart flavor.
Other countries like Argentina and Peru tend to use sauces such as chili sauce for their Michelada recipes while still others might opt for soy sauce instead. Finding your ideal Michelada is all about experimentation!
There are many variations across Central America too, where you may find ingredients such as olives, horseradish, hot peppers, Worcestershire sauce and even curry powder mixed into this spicy drink recipe before it’s ever poured over ice cubes!
In Nicaragua, for example, Micheladas are made with a standard ingredient list that will always include lemons, veggies, chilies and an exotice blend of spices.
I’ve never been to a Michelada festival but I can only imagine how mouth-watering it would be with all of those delicious variations served up side by side. The Michelada is so unique because the name encompasses so much for each specific culture that crafts a version.
It seems that the Michelada may be the next new cocktail craze in America as bars and restaurants are beginning to put them on their menus, particularly in the Southern States. I recently had the opportunity to be in the Austin TX area, and it seemed that each bar I went to had their own version of a Michelada on the menu.
But assuming you can’t hop on a plane to Austin to enjoy the spicy blend yourself, what is a foodie to do?
There are many ways to tackle this question. The first would be to find a recipe that will help you achieve the exotic feel of sitting on a South American beach right from your own backyard. There are many different variations of the blend online, and most are of the Mexican variety. Including ingredients like tomato juice, hot sauce, pepper, and spices they seem to be a variation of a bloody mary mix using beer instead of vodka.
Another version of Michelada that is also popular in the United States but originated from South America, comes with beer and citrus flavors. Counter to the Mexican version, there are both lime and lemon options. Recipes for this type of Michelada are a little harder to come by, as they are rare but oftentimes superior to their tomato juice cousins. Because it can be difficult to locate a good recipe for a lemon juice Michelada, like the ones they make in Nicaragua, a second option for getting a great Michelada at home is to buy a Michelada Mix.
One way of making a Michelada that we don’t recommend, is by substituting bloody mary mix. While the Michelada and the bloody mary do share some similarities, the balance of flavor is completely different in each alcoholic beverage. Micheladas are typically less salty and spicy than a bloody mary, so the best Michelada Mix is often far more palatable for those who want to drink something savory but without the spice.
So go ahead, truly enjoy a cocktail like a Latin American and dive into an authentic Michelada. Cool, refreshing, and savory they are the perfect new drink to spice up your summer.