Our local Mexican restaurant makes the best Micheladas. In fact, I’d never had a Michelada before my husband convinced me to try one during a meal there less than a year ago. The spicy original flavor is delicious, but they make about eight or ten flavored ones, too. The guava version is darn tasty as well.
I had an easy description of the drink in my head, ready to type, but then a little research showed me that explaining it was going to be more difficult than I had anticipated. That’s because I’ve learned there is a bit of controversy about whether you call this drink a Michelada or a Chelada.
In their book, Beer Cocktails, Howard and Ashley Stelzer say that the Michelada is the drink that contains no tomato juice (just lime, beer, salt and Worcestershire or Maggi seasoning). It’s the Chelada that has the added tomato or Clamato juice. But they also say that there are many others that believe it’s the exact opposite.
Last night we watched the Mexico episode of Parts Unknown and wouldn’t you know it, Anthony Bourdain had a Michelada. From what I could tell, it didn’t look like there was tomato juice added.
But our local restaurant has something different to say about it. The menu states that Micheladas became popular in Mexico in the 1940s when people started mixing beer with hot sauce or salsa, and it must include lime and salt to be a true Michelada.
Since my first experience with a Michelada was with tomato juice, that is what I’m going with here.
A few weeks ago, I was sent a sample of Tecate Light and that is really how I decided that this year’s Cinco de Mayo post would be a Michelada. After tasting it, my husband and I both thought it would be perfect mixed in with the tomato juice, lime and spicy seasonings.
Instead of using a prepared tomato juice, I decided to juice fresh tomatoes for a raw juice and add seasonings. I used a centrifugal juicer to make the juice and I fed through a handful of cilantro with the tomatoes. I spiced it up with hot sauce, garlic powder, black pepper and salt and added plenty of lime juice. The one thing I didn’t have was the Maggi seasoning. That is sometimes substituted with Worcestershire sauce, but I didn’t have that either. If you have either on hand, you can add a splash to make it more authentic.
The combination of the raw tomato juice with the cilantro and Tecate Light made this Michelada light and refreshing with a pleasant, lingering burn from the hot sauce. As tomato season gets into full swing, I have a feeling this may become our go-to summer cocktail. Cheers and ¡Salud!
Spicy Cilantro-Lime Michelada Recipe
5 small tomatoes (I used Romas)
¼ cup packed cilantro leaves
1 ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. hot sauce (I used Cholula)
¾ tsp fine ground sea salt
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2, 12 oz. cans light Mexican beer, cold (I used Tecate light)
To rim the glasses
3 tsp fine ground sea salt
Zest of 1 lime
Large pinch of ground cayenne pepper
Make the juice by processing the tomatoes and cilantro in a centrifugal juicer. Stir in the lime juice, hot sauce, ¾ teaspoon of sea salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. You can also speed this up by popping it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
On a plate, stir together the 3 teaspoons of salt, lime zest and cayenne. Rub a wedge of lime over the top edge of each serving glass and rim with the spicy lime salt.
Fill each glass half full with ice. Pour 3 ounces of tomato juice into each glass. Top with 4 to 6 ounces of cold beer. Add a lime wedge and serve.