Chelada vs Michelada – What is the difference?

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Chelada vs Michelada! A Chelada and a Michelada are two different types of Mexican beverages. A Michelada is darker than a Chelada due to the many ingredients used while it is being mixed.

A Chelada is a very simple Mexican beverage made with just lime and salt. A Michelada isn’t as simple as a Chelsea. It is a mixture of beer, tomato juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and even chili powder. A Michelada is a spicy beverage that most often has a Tajin rim.

However, a Chelada and a Michelada are cousins as they come from the same family. You shouldn’t use ice while making either beverage.

So far as the lime and beer are chilled then you are good to go. If you enjoy lemonades, you’ll therefore have a great time drinking any of these drinks. Read on to know more about these Mexican cocktails.

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Chelada recipes

I’ll begin with the etymological meaning of Chelada. “Chela” is Mexican slang that stands for “beer” and “helada” is a Spanish word that means “Ice”. Therefore, a mixture of ice and beer gives us a Chelada. The Chelada is a typical Mexican beverage, a Cerveza preparada (light beer with lime juice and salt).

Chelada is light and refreshing beverages that tastes almost like lemonade. It is fairly normal to consume a glass of beer in the morning or in the middle of the day in Mexico to reduce the discomforts of a hangover.


Ingredients used in making a Chelada

  • Beer: Traditionally, a Cerveza Clara (light, bright, crisp, pilsner-like lager) such as Modelo is the Mexican beer used for Chelada. It needs to be cooled, as it is way better when colder.
  • Lime. Before you juice a fruit, make sure it is as fresh as possible and that it has been chilled. Adjust to taste with one to one and a half limes per drink.
  • Salt. The salt must be a good coarse rimming salt of a decent grade. Tajin, a popular Mexican brand of chile-lime seasoning, is sometimes incorporated in modern versions. However, traditionally, basic rimming salt is used.


Here’s how to mix it;

  • Dip the rim of a glass in a bowl of coarse salt after wetting the glass with a bit of lime.
  • Use a trusty citrus squeezer and squeeze lime juice directly into the glass
  • Add a bit of salt and stir. You could do away with salt if you choose to.
  • Pour the beer into the glass, stir, and garnish with a lime wedge (optional)


  • Always make sure the lime and beer are chilled before you use.
  • Stop pouring the lager before it reaches the salt rim to avoid it from foaming over.
  • When salt comes into contact with beer, nucleation sites form, causing the beer to fizz. After the foam has scattered, you can top off the glass.

Read : how to make a Chelada drink – complete guide


What does a Chelada taste like?

The main concept behind this Mexican beer cocktail is to add a little lime to your beer. Because more lime juice is added to a tasty beer in combination with salt, it tastes vibrantly tart with fun salinity, or refreshingly balanced, as we like to call it.

Altogether, the flavor is really refreshing and very similar to gose ale, but the sour flavors are fresh and fragrant rather than mouth-puckering.

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Michelada recipe

A Michelada is a cocktail made with beer, tomato juice, spices, and lime. All these should be mixed in a glass rimmed with salt. The Mexicans have multiple different recipes for a Michelada.


  • Beer: 4-6 ounces of beer. You can use either a light beer or a Cerveza (depends on you)
  • Tomato juice. ½ cup of tomato juice. Regular tomato juice will do.
  • Fresh lime juice. 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice. The lime juice is supposed to be very fresh. An extra lime wedge will be used for garnish.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: About 1-2 teaspoons will do. This ingredient will give a Michelada a very good flavor.
  • Hot sauce: ½ – 1 teaspoon of hot sauce. You can use any type of hot sauce of your choice. It can be mild or spicy, depending on how you like it.
  • Chilli powder and salt for rimming the glass.



  • To begin, rim your glass with rimming salt, kosher salt, or chili powder. Chili powder and salt are added to this cocktail to give it a very good flavor.
  • Pour in the tomato juice and spices, stir well, and then top it off with beer. Keep in mind that the amounts will vary depending on the size of the glass you’re using when adding the spices and Worcestershire sauce.

Read : How to make a Michelada Cocktail – full guide


How to serve a Michelada

Serve extra lime wedges on the side for garnish and squeeze into the drink. This cocktail can be made ahead of time and kept in a pitcher for a simple serving.



Chelada vs Michelada: What’s The Difference Between A Michelada & Chelada?

The main difference between a Chelada and a Michelada is how there are seasoned. If you simply mix a beer with lime and salt, it’ll give you a Chelada.

Any addition to Worcestershire, hot sauce, and spices will make the drink become a Michelada. Also, it is essential to mix a Michelada using a dark beer while a Chelada cocktail is made using a light beer.

In all, a Chelada is a beer cocktail that is simply mixed using fresh lime juice and a salted rim. While a Michelada is a spicy drink due to the many seasonings used.

Read: How to make Chavela cocktail



Wrap up – Michelada vs Chelada

Conclusively, Chelada and Michelada belong to the same family. Chelada is a Mexican beverage that is made simply with chilled limes juice and salt and is mixed with a light beer. It is quite easy to mix, and it has a very refreshing taste. Michelada, on the other hand uses more ingredients than a Chelada. A Michelada is a mixture of lime juice and salt as well, including tomato juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, chili powder, and beer (darker beer). These many ingredients make it very spicy and good.



FAQ – Chelada vs Michelada


What does a Chelada have in it?

A Chelada is a popular Mexican beverage that is a combination of lime juice and salt. It doesn’t contain tomato juice or sauces in it.


What is the difference between a Michelada and a Chavela?

Chavela is a beverage that is similar to a Michelada drink. However, they have some differences. A Chavela is simpler to make than Michelada as it requires fewer ingredients. Also, Chavela is made with cerveza clara while Michelada is made with cerveza obscura.

A Chavela is a simplified version of a Michelada, made with just tomato juice, Tabasco, beer, and ice, and topped with a Tajin-seasoned rim. Chavela is occasionally served with a shot of tequila on the side, whereas a Michelada isn’t.


Why is it called Chelada?

Chelada is slang for the Spanish term Michelada which some argue is derived from the phrase “mi chela helada,” which means “my cold beer” in English. Both are classified as “cerveza preparada,” or “prepared beer,” in which juices, sauces, and spices are blended with beer to create a beer cocktail. While some people find it a sacrilege, others like how it tastes.


What is Michelada called in Mexico?

The Michelada is the apex of ‘Cerveza preparada,’ or prepared beer, which is Mexican slang for a beer with added ingredients like salt and lime. The practice began when metal caps were used to close Mexican beer bottles, leaving rust stains on the neck. Drinkers would wipe the rust off the mouth of the bottle with a wedge of lime, but more often than not, they’d throw the lime into the beer.

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