Make Ahead

Zingy Michelada With Celery Salt

April 13, 2021
8 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

In June, we visited our good friends the Begerts down in Austin, TX...the heat was unreal, with every day of our long weekend a sweltering 105 degrees...the hottest summer on record! We spent as much time as we could indoors or in the local swimming hole...but while outside, the most cooling drink by far were the micheladas. Every bar in town served them: a savory, refreshing concoction of limey, spicy tomato juice with a cold, fizzy beer poured on top. There are many variations throughout Latin America (and Austin!), but this recipe is a great start. A nice change from the usual sugary-sweet summer cocktails, you can drink these all night long. And best of all, if booze is off-limits, just swap in a non-alc brew and join the party. —TheFlyingFoodie

Test Kitchen Notes

The recipe that inspired the Beer Cocktail contest theme, this Michelada is great if you're in the mood for something savory and refreshing that won't put you under the table. It's got some of the classic flavors of a Bloody Mary (tomato, citrus, Worcestershire sauce), but because you use beer in place of vodka, the general effect is gentler—better suited to a lazy afternoon than a pick-me-up brunch. TheFlyingFoodie has you coat the rim of the glass with celery salt, which is also in the drink; it's a little different than the traditional coarse salt or Tajín, but it's an old school touch that we love. —A&M

Refreshing and sessionable, micheladas are the ultimate summer drink, best enjoyed poolside, in the park, or posted up under an umbrella and floppy hat at the beach. It all starts with crispest beer you can find, preferably Mexican-style lager—think: Corona, Modelo, Pacifico, Tecate, Victoria, and the like—but any mild-ish beer you want to drink will suit. Next, we'll turn to velvety tomato juice, or better yet, Clamato (tomato juice mixed with mouth-puckering MSG and briny dried clam powder). To gild the lily, a few more flavor-packed components come into play, like umami-rich Worcestershire, vinegary hot sauce like Tabasco, and a healthy dose of lime to add some brightness that only fresh citrus can bring. Celery salt is great for an added herbal note, but feel free to skip it or use spicy-salty Tajín instead. Whatever you do, though, don't skip the salt (or celery salt, or Tajín) rim on the outside of the glass, plus plenty of ice—that mineraly burst of spice that hits your tongue before the first fizzy, savory sip is incomparable. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Zingy Michelada With Celery Salt
  • 4 lime wedges, for garnish
  • 1 pinch to 2 pinches celery salt, coarse salt, or Tajín, for garnish; plus 1/4 teaspoon celery salt for drinks
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato juice or Clamato
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or preferred hot sauce
  • 2 (12 oz.) bottles or cans light lager (Modelo is ideal)
  • 5 handfuls (or more) ice cubes
  1. Prepare the glasses: rub the rims of four tall glasses with the lime wedges, then coat the rims with either celery or plain salt.
  2. In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the tomato juice, lime juice, celery salt, Worcestershire, and Tabasco and mix well. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Add a handful of ice to each of the prepared glasses, then divide the tomato juice mixture between them (each should have approximately 4 tablespoons/60ml of juice). Top up the glasses with half a bottle of beer each, then garnish with a lime wedge.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Renee Appell-McGowan
    Renee Appell-McGowan
  • Stubor
  • CuisineXplorers
  • gingerroot
  • Tamio888

34 Reviews

Renee A. February 27, 2017
Where's the floater of vodka, people???
Alexis August 30, 2015
accidentally hit ENTER, oops! here's a link
Alexis August 30, 2015
Great recipe! Another suggestion is to just use Lava bloody mary mix instead of all of those other ingredients. Just add the beer and you're done.
Jesse July 18, 2015
The point is, you created a buzz, I make it many different ways, depending on my mood but yes clamato juice works best for me. Why do people really care where it was originally made? Just enjoy it and make it your own way. I use Siracha Hot Sauce and Tecate beer, its very acidic so be careful.
Maryhelen January 31, 2015
I first had a Chelada man years ago in a bar in Milwaukee, WI. It was simply, beer and lime juice over ice in a salted-rim glass. Years later in Austin, I had a Michelada thinking it was the same thing-- surprise ! It had tomato juice and was much like this one, and I was told it was a "Mexican bloody Mary." Nowadays, everyone orders "chelada', as just a shortened word for Mi--chelada. SAME THING!!!! ADn it is NOT Texas, as every bar in large cities in Mexico serves it.
Maryhelen January 31, 2015
Oh I forgot-- the Milwaukee Chelada also had Tabasco. And I ordered it because I had always really liked Tecate beer, whihc is taken with lime and salt
Eugene A. December 18, 2016
The makers of Tecate beer started the lime and salt and the use to advertise it calling it the Margarita of beers
Maryhelen December 18, 2016
I doubt that-- I've never heard tecate called the margarita of beers. I've been drinking it with or w/o lime and slat for 30+ years. Where or where did u get that tidbit of info.?
Eugene A. December 18, 2016
I saw the advertisement myself in 1977 as I crossed the border at Brownsville TX. And Matamoros Tamaulipas and sense I could already read Spanish from living in Costa Rica for 9 years so I know what the sing said, so you can doubt all you want. And for your info Tecate started that about 60 years ago. Así que disfrutas tu día y tomate otra cerveza Señora Mary.
Maryhelen December 19, 2016
It was either short-lived or non existent (which I believe. I was living in Brownsville and Houston then and never saw it.) Es posible que no entendiste biesn y ntu espanol no ers bueno en esos dias. Ahora simplemente busca eso en el internet y no encotrara nada! Sera un fantasia. ADios y olvidalo no es tan mportante
Eugene A. December 19, 2016
Yo tengo 55 años de edad y aprendí español cuando yo tenía 5 años de edad y yo tenía 11 años de hablar, leer y escribir en español cuando lo vi. Simplemente porque usted no lo vio no quiere decir que no existía.
Rich July 25, 2014
Replace the tomato juice with Clamato and it will make it a whole lot better
Lisa March 29, 2014
Definitely need to do this one with Clamato Juice!!
EvaW January 29, 2014
This is a Texas thing, not Mexico. This drink is called a Chelada which is made like a Bloody Mary. The Michelada is made like a margarita, served with a salted ring as well.
Stubor January 29, 2014
I use garlic salt to good effect on the rim, and celery salt in the drink.
mib December 30, 2013
no ice. use clamato juice. beer, I like bud light lime. and if you want a buzz, just do a tequila shooter. great
Rafatz May 5, 2013
Micheladas with ice??????. Where in Mexico are the micheladas served with ice????? Canned Modelo beer is Ideal????.
CuisineXplorers March 30, 2013
This recipe is definitely a bloody beer, and a tasty one at that, but absolutely not a michelada. At least not the way they are made in Mexico.
paddy January 29, 2014
the whole point of them is that they are prepared differently everywhere you go. there is no strict way of doing it and no two bars would make them the same
nhoudek April 26, 2012
Great Recipe. The only thing I would change is adding Tajin Chilli-Lime seasoning to the rim instead of salt or celery salt. Oh and leave out the tomato juice.
Donnie D. June 29, 2019
The Tajin 🌶 lime sounds great!
gingerroot July 5, 2011
I made these for a holiday bbq yesterday and they are fabulous! I'd never had one before and now may prefer them to their big sister Mary. So refreshing, perfect for hot summer afternoons/evenings. Will be making again and again. Thanks for a great recipe.
Tamio888 November 8, 2009
Oh, this was go-o-o-d... As good at the best Michelada I've had in a restaurant. I understand the hub-bub of 'not original' but, good is good... I used a coarse Hawaiian smoked red salt, combined with Portillo's Chicago hot dog salt for the rim, and Cholula for the hot sauce. Then, as I drink it down, a little more beer... a little more juice... Winner!
euramirez November 8, 2009
try adding less tabasco and instead, add white pepper to substitute. The best micheladas have the simplest recipes: 3 parts beer to 1 1/2 parts tomato juice mixture. The tomato juice mix should be simple: hot tomato juice (if you can get it), mix 3 parts tomato juice with 1 part lime juice, add salt and white pepper to taste. If you cant get hot juice, add tabasco to make it spicy. You can add about 1 tsp worcestershire sauce, but i dont really think it needs it! ENJOY
euramirez November 8, 2009
DON'T FORGET THE WHITE PEPPER!!!! i swear by this.
TheFlyingFoodie November 8, 2009
A pretty harsh, and unwarranted, accusation gregp. As the wiki link you've provided states, there are many variations of this popular regional cocktail (just like the bloody mary, margerita etc), but the key to great tasting classics are the right measurements and proportions of the given ingredients. I came up with this particular recipe after much enjoyable experimentation and tweaking this summer and if it works for others as it did for me, that's all I could hope for. Cheers! TFF 
gregp November 8, 2009
My apologies, I was out of line.
flavores November 6, 2009
I vote this recipe, it's great...if you have botana souce (tradicional from mexico) would be perfect!...and I prefer without ice!
Food52 November 6, 2009
At food52, we're looking for excellent recipes -- whether they're wildly inventive or great versions of basics that we think everyone would love. We understand that you may not always agree with our picks, and we always like to hear which recipes you would have chosen, but we do a lot of testing before we decide. This cocktail was delicious, plain and simple.
pauljoseph November 5, 2009
I made it for a family function and they all liked it second time i tryed without Worcestershire sauce I like without Worcestershire