Beer, lime juice, salt, peppers, and spices. If you think that sounds delicious, read on. If you don’t, read on anyway . . . and get yourself to the best Mexican bar you can find to try a michelada. I’m obsessed with these tasty drinks after a lifetime in California and three weeks in Mexico, and feel like shouting it from the rooftops.

Finding an “authentic” recipe for a michelada is as impossible as defining the recipe for a Bloody Mary: it’s personal, and everyone has an opinion. As a guideline, a michelada is a) beer-based, b) flavored with lime juice and spices, and c) served in salt-rimmed glass. There are a myriad styles: a clamato includes clam and tomato juice; a chelada is just lime juice and salt; a cubana includes Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, chili, and salt. The list goes on and on, I’m sure.

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My FAVORITE favorite? This tamarind michelada from a bar in Guanajuato.

 

Fun fact: the word “michelada” is a portmanteau of the phrase “mi chela helada,” which translates to “my cold beer” in Mexican slang. (“Chela” is slang for “beer” in Mexico.)

If you’re heading to Mexico, make sure that you know the typical michelada of the area: the preparation tends to vary by region.

Click here for a slideshow of photos from San Miguel de Allende, a photographer’s paradise, and here for an article on how tequila is made (plus a trip to the tequila capital, Jalisco).