Many of my neighbors to the North seem to be wondering just what in the world a “Chelada” is when I tell them. Well, here’s the deal (because there’s a couple of different variations and definitions) depending on where you are and how you typically like to “mix it up.”
The “Chelada” is the name Annheuser-Busch gave to its Clamato Chelada beers that combine Budweiser or Bud Light with Clamato, spices, and a little twist of lime. It’s kind of like a Clamato Tomato cocktail with beer mixed.
It was originally introduced in March 2007 in select cities, and should now be available nationwide as of 2008.
To best enjoy a Budweiser Chelada, you want to make sure you gently rotate the can around in your hand before pouring (you may actually want to do this more than once). This will help “un-settle” all of the spices and ingredients up from the bottom and ultimately make for a much tastier consumption. Then, serve cold, or pour over ice, into a traditional goblet-style glass and garnish with a slice of lime or celery stalk. Personally, I’ve been known to consume these suckers straight out of the can, but they are indeed much more enjoyable when dressed up right – from a glass.
You may also wish to salt the rim of the glass, add a dash of your favorite hot sauce, or trick it out to your own further preference of pleasure.
A-B says the Budweiser and Clamato Chelada is 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and its Bud Light and Clamato Chelada is 4.2 percent ABV.
Ok, so that’s the canned Budweiser version of the “Chelada.” But there’s also another type of “Chelada” that I know pretty well, and it’s generally the more sophisticated real deal cocktail version.
Enter the “Michelada”
Now, before I go into explaining what a Michelada is, I must mention that are indeed a variety of types, depending on how it’s prepared and the ingredients used.
- Clamato contains tomato juice and clam juice.
- A cubana contains Worcestershire, tabasco sauce, chile, and salt.
- A chelada usually simply contains lime and salt.
There are always different strokes for different folks. And many people often enjoy trying new ingredients, adding more or less of a certain ingredient, and even mixing different types of beers in discovering their preferred blend.
The absolute BEST Michelada I ever had was at the Saba Blue Water Cafe in Austin (which, sadly, has just recently closed).
And I believe I remember the blend was made with Negro Modelo, a shot of tequila, and some of the best darn spiced-out Bloody Mary mix I think I ever had – with lime, olives on the stick, and a good line of salt around the rim. Muy bueno! It was like the best Bloody Mary I ever had X 90!
Anyhoo…The main difference with a Michelada (or cerveza preparada) is that it is generally known to be a more robust mix of cocktail.
Most Micheladas are made with additional types of assorted spices, peppers, and sauces, along with various types of beer and flavors of tomato juices or Clamatos.
In Mexico, the word “chela” is said to be a popular name for “beer.” It comes from the English word “chill”. Typically, when you ask for a chela you are asking for a cold beer. And then when you “mix” the various sauces added to the beer, you get something that sounds like “Mix-chela” or “Michelada.”
Others say that the most likely source of the term however, comes from the word “Michelob” when Mexicans in the U.S. began adding other ingredients to less expensive beers like Michelob, as they did not like the taste of it on its own. They pronounced “Michelob” like “mitchelob,” and therefrom came “Michelada.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Also…Micheladas are traditionally considered to be a good remedy for hangovers!
If you are unfamiliar with Micheladas, it’s always best to ask how it will be prepared, and what ingredients the bartender will use in the mix. Micheladas are made differently in different parts of the world, and it’s totally possible that one made in Mexico could taste much differently than one made in Maine. And there you have it!
For Further Reading:
- Annheuser-Busch Chelada Fact Sheet
- “How to Make a Michelada” at drinksmixer.com
- “The Best Micheladas in Austin” by Claudia Alarcon
- More Michelada Recipes at CHOW.com
- Saba Cafe