Chelada is a traditional Mexican drink that is often drunk in the warm weather of the summer, it is notoriously light and refreshing. The drink is sort of a cocktail, that is basically beer and lime juice.
The recipe, as it is so simple, can easily be changed and customized by region and preference. As a result, there are many interesting Chelada recipes out there that riff on the traditional drink and make it new.
The term ‘Chelada’ is actually pretty interesting on its own. ‘Chelada’ is actually a Mexican slang term that refers to a ‘Michelada’ which is in fact the same drink.
Michelada is also a slang term which refers to the Mexican phrase ‘Mi chela helada’ which translates into English as ‘my cold beer’.
The terms can often change with the region of Latin America, and so do the ingredients. In its own convoluted way, this represents the cocktail well, a cold but refreshing take on the classic cerveza.
Let’s see some recipes, as well as the original, that can take this drink to the next level.
This is what we can refer to as the base recipe, or the classic. This is a really simple recipe, a whole lime juiced into a glass and topped with a Mexican/Latin beer of your choice., to finish the rim is salted with coarse salt.
The combination of the effervescent beer alongside the lime and salt is particularly refreshing and is a combination in Latin America that is as old as the sun itself.
A great, traditional, way to dress up the common man’s beer for almost any occasion, as long as it is sunny.
This is a fun take on the classic recipe that acts sort of like a Latin take on the Bloody Mary, just without spirits, another great advantage of the Chelada. This recipe is certainly spicy with the addition of hot sauce, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
This makes for a very savory but still spicy take on the Chelada recipe, the beer keeps the cocktail pretty light even though it sounds quite heavy. This is a great poolside sipper.
This Chelada combines the best elements of the previous two and gives them a peppery kick. If the sauciness of the previous recipe wasn’t to your liking, then this recipe could be better suited to your tastes.
This recipe, while still combining lager and hot sauce, certainly goes lighter on the sauciness. Yet, the cocktail gets more kick from the pepper then anything else which is a good balance to the other forms of spice.
This is an American take on the Latin classic that uses ingredients you will have in your cupboard for a salty yet savory kick. Old Bay is an American spice blend that is often used in Latin-American cooking.
The seasoning is available all over the US and combines spices commonly used in these recipes such as celery salt, black pepper, paprika etc. On the rim of this beer cocktail, it really makes the subtle flavors sing.
Clamato is a fun tomato juice blend that is often used in American cocktails, while in other countries they may go for a more bland tomato juice, like in a bloody Mary, Clamato has a different take.
Clamato has clam juice and MSG, as well as other spices that make it quite tasty and savory. In the Chelada recipe, this adds so much flavor and lip-smacking savoriness that is perfectly balanced with some bubbly beer.
This is a fun recipe that is pretty customizable and makes a large yield. Forget the alcohol with this one, this mocktail is very much a health drink, great for parties with large numbers of non-drinkers, this will keep them going all night without any help.
The punch recipe combines salt, lime juice, a Japanese spice blend known as ‘togarashi’, as well as ginger beer and a green juice blend.
Not only is this alcohol-free, but it’s jammed full of all the nutrition you could need at a party, as well as being super refreshing.
In 2008, Budweiser and Clamato teamed up to produce the first canned Chelada beverage dubbed ‘The Red One’; they attempted to bring the Chelada to an American audience with the inclusion of these two ingredients.
This is a copycat recipe that attempts to make the now discontinued drink. This is certainly an American take on the classic, but tastes pretty good, pumped full of savoriness.
This is a much smoother and more subtle recipe than the previous. Rather than opting for Tomato Juice, this cocktail utilizes tomato water, which is much nicer on the mouth and has a more subtle taste.
This combines quite well with the effervescent beer. Moreover, the addition of Old Bay seasoning provides the kick of spice and flavor that the cocktail needs every now and then.
This cocktail is a classic, but this helps dress it up into something a little more elegant, like something you might get at a fancy bar. Tamarind adds a delicate sour note to the cocktail that really marries with lime juice.
A sour take on this cocktail makes it additionally refreshing, but is also a flavor element not really tried in other recipes.
This Orange chelada is an interesting take on the original recipe that utilizes orange juice in tandem with orange juice. Lager naturally goes quite well with these fruity flavors, and the lime stops the orange from being too sweet.
The sourness of the citrus notes is perfect with the beer and is like a Latin IPA.
This one comes straight from the team at Clamato. They suggest that this one could be the perfect hangover cure, we’ll let you be the judge after trying all the cocktails on this list.
The addition of orange juice as well as the tomato Clamato juice does give the drink that tropical sweetness without any other tropical fruits beyond the orange.
It’s actually great and combines all the elements of the fry up you may have after a night out – a great one for your stomach.
Another one from the cocktail artists at Clamato. This one combines all the best things about Clamato juice and the Chelada: sweetness, tanginess, sourness, and ultimately the carbonated beer.
This one could be ideal for barbeque parties, thanks to the fruity touch of pineapple and the addition of liquid Chamoy – a Mexican delicacy. A true summer sipper when the sun is too much.
This recipe is straight from José Cuervo. They give a rather specific recipe that utilizes not only beer, but also their own silver Tequila. This recipe certainly has a lot more kick than previous recipes – and we aren’t talking just about spice.
Cholula, orange liqueur, and lime work together in merriment to bring a really tangy and fruity cocktail that has the kick to get any fiesta going. This one has room to be a classic.
We love this recipe from the guys at Liber and Co. They keep in mainly traditional with the usual suspects you would see in this kind of recipe.
Yet, they bring a sour and bitter note to the cocktail, something that hasn’t been explored in these recipes before, with the introduction of a blood orange cordial.
While adding many tastes you may not expect, the blood orange certainly brings a lot of flavor that is very subtle at the back of the throat.
This recipe uses the specific beer Montejo that may only be available in Latin America, although you could find it in a local ethnic shop. This is a quite detailed recipe that adds lemon, orange, and grapefruit juice, as well as tomato juice to make a complex cocktail.
Yet, don’t fear – the cocktail is excellent and brings a lot of nuances to what is a quite simple recipe. This is a great one for a more traditional yet still pioneering cocktail.
Our Final Thoughts
The Chelada, or Michelada, is truly a summer delight, whether it is providing relief from the suffocating sun of Sequoia, or whether you are sunbathing in Baton Rouge, the Chelada is a drink for the ages.
This drink is such a classic for its combination of sweet, salty and savory flavors. The drink often feels like a meal in itself with all the flavors going on but, fan or not, you can alter the recipe to how you see fit.
Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas on how to get your summer parties started. Many Americans may have never heard of a Chelalda, but all Americans love beer, so you will always be on to a winner with this cocktail.
Start your summer the right way with a Chelada recipe, today!