I’m no beer snob and am far from a brew expert, but I know a bad beer when I taste one. Inevitably, after hosting enough parties you’ll accumulate tons of random beers, some of which being the American “light beer” variety. Good news: these otherwise bland and unremarkable beers (as well as milder Mexican imports like Corona and Pacifico) are perfectly suited to be used in Cervezas Preparadas such as Micheladas, Cheladas and Chavelas.
After much research, groveling for recipes at Mexican restaurants and trial and error, the below are the best renditions I’ve come up with. Note that there is much debate over what exactly goes in a michelada, the difference between micheladas and cheladas, etc. but these recipes represent the most consistently agreed upon preparations.
You start all three the same way: Rim a frosty mug with salt, or better yet Tajin chile lime salt seasoning, then add the juice of half a large lime. From there, shit gets real…
Michelada: In my opinion the most delicious of all the preparadas. To the above mug, add two oz. Clamato, a pinch of salt, a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, more than several dashes soy sauce (preferably Maggi seasoning), and hot sauce to taste (I prefer Valentina or a similar Mexican hot sauce, but some go with Tabasco). Add a few cubes of ice then top with beer and stir. Side note: when we were in Puerto Vallarta two summers ago, there was a beer stand that served me a michelada in a giant foam cup, made with a one liter jug of Negra Modelo. Heavenly, and all for four bucks.
Chelada: As simple as it gets. To the mug, add a few cubes of ice and top with beer, then stir. In essence it’s your basic “Corona with a lime” except you have the salted mug. I actually prefer to squeeze in the other half of lime as well, since you can’t ever add too much flavor to one of these beers.
Chavela: Basically a Chelada, except you drop in a shot of tequila. This is typically made with plenty of juice from those tiny key limes (about three or four of them to a mug) so if using regular limes, use at least one whole one. Chavelas are especially good with Negra Modelo. Finally, the drink goes down very easily so take heed – you are having a tequila shot inside each mug. Pace yourself, kiddies! You’ve been warned.