What you need to know about cheladas

Mexican Chelada beer

What is a chelada?

We’ll start at the beginning. Chelada is a Mexican beer cocktail using lager beer and lime juice. Mexican lagers are inherently refreshing, but the citrusy chelada flavors push them into another dimension.Chelada ABV usually hovers around 4%, making it a top-notch hot
weather drink. Let’s slice up a couple limes and get into some easy-drinking cheladas.

Basic chelada recipe 

What’s a good chelada beer? Grab your favorite
 Mexican lager.Modelo and Pacifico are great with limes.
Corona makes for a particularly breezy chelada, so
keep that in rotation, too.
We use fresh lime juice to guarantee brightness and
 you should too. Search our site for fresh whole limes
 our partners often have them. For a standard chelada
 beer, just add as much lime juice as you like. Cut a 
wedge off your lime for garnish.
Salt enhances flavor. This is known. Be sure to salt the
rim of your glass so you get a pinch with every sip. Coarse 
salt works best!

Yes, you can put ice in your beer. There’s no shame in it. 

You don’t need anything beyond those ingredients to make a
chelada, but you’ll probably want to try some other popular flavor combos.
Let’s dig a little deeper here.

Chelada variations

Unless you add motor oil, there’s no wrong way to make a chelada. We’ll give you some tips to make your favorite chelada, but since there’s no official recipe, let's keep it casual.


There are a ton of michelada recipes and they're all different. They can be spicy, tangy or refreshing! Our original recipe balances the spices for an eye-opening experience without tomato juice (although some call for it). Try not to add tabasco sauce until you know how much you like - too little is just right while adding more will make your drink spicier than desired.

Pre-made cheladas

Chelada’s popularity caught the ear of some of the big breweries, so now we’ve got plenty of ready-made options to round out your palate. Let’s take a gander at what’s out there.


Budweiser got into the chelada game with this tasty treat. It’s the standard Bud Light recipe of barley, hops and rice with the addition of clamato. What’s clamato? It’s a mix of tomato juice, clam broth and other spices. Like the bloody mary, this tomato-based drink has its lovers and haters. You’ll definitely taste the vegetal tomato flavor and savory spices. Bud light chelada has several different flavors to drink through if you like the overall concept, so give it a try! Does bud light chelada have MSG? Breweries aren’t required to show all ingredients, so we can’t say for sure. We’re pretty confident there’s some salt in there, though. According to the bud light website, a 12 oz can of the original bud light chelada has 151 calories and 15.6 grams of carbs. ABV is 4.2%


If you want to stick with the authentically Mexican motif, the Modelo chelada especial has your back. Modelo embodies the light, refreshing feel of the Mexican lager, so it’s a dead ringer for your chelada base. The original chelada is tomato-forward, but balanced by the bright lime and beer flavor. ABV and calories are a little lower than bud light, at 4.0% and 144 per 12 oz can, respectively.

Stronger Mexican beer cocktails

With their low ABV’s, cheladas make for great beach days and hot afternoons on the harbor. When the nighttime rolls around, you may find yourself looking for something stronger to sip on. We have  a plan for that.


Mezcal kind of rules. Tequila’s smokier, more aggressive relative, mezcal makes very distinctive cocktails and is a natural playmate of chelada. Our mezcal michelada leverages hot sauce/mezcal interplay for a spicy drink that’s at home at both brunch and cocktail hour. 


Cazadores blanco fortifies the beer in this cocktail, with the sweet and sour mix providing great acidity. Don’t forget the chile salted rim! Make a whole pitcher of it to share.


You won’t be shocked to hear that cheladas pair well with Mexican food. Their citrusy acidity and touch of salt brings out the flavors of pork tacos and ceviche in particular. Micheladas with tomato pair splendidly with brunch foods like omelettes, french toast and hashbrowns. 

Whether you sip it with tomato or without, there’s definitely an ice-cold chelada out there with your name on it. Getting through the hot summer can be thirsty work, so rest assured that Drizly can have you chilling with a chelada within the hour. Go place an order - and don’t forget the limes. Salud!

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