What’s the best beer to use for a michelada? What should we include with the beer to make the best Mexican beer cocktail?
The best beer for a michelada is a Mexican lager, such as Modelo, Corona, Sol, Tecate, or Pacifico. Other lagers like Flying Dog Numero Uno and Bud Light Lime also work well because of their refreshing flavor and lime notes. For the perfect michelada, use a 3:1 beer to tomato juice ratio. Rim it with salt, add lime juice, and a dash of hot sauce.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about micheladas, including what they are, the differences between micheladas and cheladas, and some of the best beers to try in your next one!
What is a michelada?
What’s a michelada? What ingredients are used in this drink?
A michelada is a beer cocktail. It’s a chilled drink with light beer as the main alcohol. Ingredients include tomato or clamato juice, lime or lemon, and spices like black pepper or tabasco. When prepared in a glass, it is rimmed with salt.
Michelada loosely translates to “my ice-cold beer” and is ideal to serve alongside tacos (or any Mexican food, really), as a brunch alternative to the ubiquitous mimosa, or even by itself on a hot day.
Looking for something other than a mimosa but still want orange juice at your brunch? Learn all about beermosas (plus how to make them) in this article!
Which beer is best for a michelada?
There are some common beers that are used to prepare micheladas. What are the best ones and what do they taste like?
The best beer for a michelada is a Mexican lager. Examples of a good Mexican lager for a michelada include Corona Extra, Modelo Especial, Pacifico, Sol, or Tecate. These beers already have a hint of lime – which is desirable in a michelada – and benefit from the sauces, salt, and lime added.
Mexican light lagers don’t overpower the michelada flavors and, instead, accentuate the taste and smell of this beer cocktail.
Chelada vs michelada
The difference between a chelada and a michelada is quite simple.
A michelada is a tomato juice-based beer cocktail with lime, spices, and a salt rim. A chelada is just a beer mixed with lime and a salt rim.
They’re both from Mexico, and they’re both delicious, but a michelada offers more complexity.
Making a michelada is easy and it only requires a handful of ingredients; most of which you might already have sitting around the house or in your refrigerator.
The ingredients for a michelada include:
- 12 oz Mexican lager (Pacifico, Sol, Tecate, Modelo)
- 4 oz tomato or clamato juice
- 1 lime
- Hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or Tabasco sauce
- Salt (for rim)
To make a delicious and refreshing michelada:
- Cut lime in half; rim glass with lime juice.
- Rim glass with salt.
- Mix 12oz. Mexican lager with 4oz. tomato or clamato juice.
- Squeeze lime juice into glass.
- Add a dash of hot sauce, Worcestershire, or tabasco sauce.
There are a couple of ready-made michelada mixes to take out the hassle of crafting your own.
Michelada mixes are especially good if you would like a special drink occasionally without the hassle of keeping around an entire bottle of tomato juice. They can help this mixed drink come together quickly and consistently; however, they are likely to be inefficient and expensive if you’re making more than a couple of drinks.
These mixes contain traditional michelada ingredients – all you need now is the ice-cold beer.
The best beers for making a michelada
Traditionally, micheladas are made with Mexican lagers, so it makes sense that these lagers are the best options for the drink. Don’t limit yourself though! You can make a refreshing and flavorful michelada most light lagers, although it is helpful if they already have a lime flavor.
The best beers for making a michelada are:
- Modelo Especial
- Corona Extra
- Dos Equis
- Flying Dog Numero Uno
- Bud Light Lime
- Chucknut Rye Lager
While you may think you already have a favorite michelada beer, consider branching out. Something might surprise you!
The Modelo Especial might be the ideal michelada beer.
It’s clean and crisp with notes of bread and corn. Refreshing and extremely drinkable on its own, this beer is a wonderful base for this cocktail.
If you’re looking for something a little extra, try the Modelo Chelada Limon y Sal.
Corona Extra is another top candidate for a michelada.
This beer is easy-drinking and perfect for a hot day, making it a solid starting point for a refreshing michelada. Since it’s usually garnished with lime when drunk on its own, you already know the flavors are perfect together.
For best results, defy the commercials and pick up your Corona in a can.
Pacifico is another classic Mexican lager that is imminently drinkable and is sometimes described as high-class Corona.
This Mexican adjunct lager goes great with lime and salt. Its use in a michelada compliments the acidity of tomato juice with its notes of bread and grassiness.
Looking for something slightly different? Try making your michelada with the Pacifico Citrus Agave Lager instead.
Tecate is a well-balanced lager with low bitterness, a crisp malt flavor, and a clean finish.
The crispness of this beer cuts through the tomato juice and pairs well with classic michelada spices.
This beer goes so well in a michelada, they actually sell their own version!
Sol is another popular Mexican lager with a smooth finish.
This beer is malt forward and crisp. Subtle black pepper notes make a great addition to a michelada and harmonize with any spices used in this beer cocktail.
If you’re looking to get a headstart on your michelada, start with the Sol Chelada Limon Y Sal – just add tomato juice!
One of the most recognizable mass-market Mexican beers, Dos Equis is a smooth, golden beer.
It has a light malt taste with a hint of lemony citrus and pairs well with other michelada ingredients, particularly lime and salt. It makes a great base that lets other ingredients do their thing.
Much like other popular beers listed here, Dos Equis offers a variation with Lime and Salt which would also make an excellent michelada base (and save you a couple of steps in you’re in a hurry!).
Flying Dog Numero Uno
The Numero Uno lager started as a limited release from Flying Dog, but was so popular it’s now available year-round.
This is a light lager with a bright lime flavor and is extremely refreshing and drinkable on its own. It is slightly on the higher end of this list at 4.9% ABV.
Since this beer already boasts a refreshing lime flavor, start with less lime juice than you might normally when mixing a michelada and adjust as needed.
Bud Light Lime
This beer features a noticeable lime flavor without losing its traditional malty taste. It is light and crisp with sweeter undertones and goes particularly well in a michelada that uses tomato juice.
If you’re looking to try something a little bit different, pick up a can of the Bud Light Chelada with Clamato.
Chuckanut Rye Lager
Definitely, the least expected option on this list, consider giving the Chuckanut Rye Lager a try in your next michelada!
Unlike a Mexican lager, this beer is toasty with mild bitterness. The subtle roasted malt accentuates the savory taste of a michelada, creating a completely different drinking experience.
Use this or any other rye lager as the base for a more experimental michelada.