Chelada – Recipe & History

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Course: DrinksCuisine: Mexican






Total time



Learn how to make a Chelada.


  • 1/2 oz 1/2 Lime Juice

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Salt

  • 12 oz 12 Pale Ale or Lager


  • Technique: Build In Glass
  • Combine all ingredients except for the beer in a glass.
  • Mix the ingredients together.
  • Pour the beer into the glass. It will mix with the other ingredients at the bottom of the glass.

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History Of The Michelada And The Chelada.

It would be hard to pin down a single origin to the michelada and most likely there isn’t one. Doing a search of digitally archived newspapers, magazines, and books the earliest printed reference I can find to the michelada is in the early 1990s. In a 1992 Mexican book, “Cafión Castro, detective tropical y otras crónicas” by dámaso Murúa, the author mentions the main character stopping to get a michelada and in parenthesis explains it’s a beer with lime and salt. Which tells us the michelada existed but was obscure enough that it needed to be explained. In a 1998 mexican travel guide “Mexico – Traveler’s Companion” by Maribeth Mellin, the author explains that for ordering authentic local drinks “The latest beer concoction is the michelada , served in an icy mug with an inch or so of lime juice in the bottom , salt around the rim and ice”. She also points out that some regions add Maggi sauce to their micheladas and call michelada’s without Maggi sauce just cheladas. I found a few other examples that mirror this information but you get the idea.

The impression i get from these publications from the 1990s is the earliest form of the michelada was just lime juice and salt and the different recipes are regional. Micheladas made with Maggi Sauce, Clamato, or just lime and salt are all equally authentic and most likely developed simultaneously in different regions. So make the Michelada the way you like and flavor it as you feel fit.

These days the Michelada made with only lime juice and salt is usually referred to as a Chelada instead of a michelada. The modern naming of these drinks is a bit clearer than the older way as it helps distinguish between the variations. The Chelada is the lime juice and salt version, the michelada is the savory one with Maggi sauce or soy sauce, and the clamacheve is a michelada with clamato. Where I live, a clamacheva is the default michelada recipe, and nine times out of 10, this is what you will get when you order a michelada.

What Does A Chelada Taste Like?

The Chelada is fantastic, and the lime juice and salt mix beautifully with beer. The lime’s acid and freshness perfectly cut the beer’s malty flavor. It’s a great beach drink and a great beer to enjoy after a day of hard work outside.

The best advice I can give on making a good Chelada or Michelada is not to be afraid to load it up with spices and lime. I am not Mexican, so when I consulted my born and raised in Mexico friends on how to make these, they would tell me to add a little lime juice, a little this, a little that, etc. My idea of a little was very different from their idea of a little, and once I learned that my micheladas started to taste good. So add a good amount of spices, and don’t be afraid that you may have added too much. It might be the right amount.

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