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What’s not to love about a michelada? The drink is also known as a cerveza preparada and is generally made with beer, lime juice, spices, tomato juice, and a hint of chile poured into a chilled glass with a salted rim and lime. The combination of tangy citrus, spicy tomato, and light beer is the perfect cure for late nights—a beer-laden alternative to the bloody mary.
While the classic recipe sounds relatively easy, having all those ingredients around can be inconvenient. This is where a pre-batched mix comes in handy. Simply crack open a beer and add the mix.
Here are the best michelada mixes for your next at-home brunch or happy hour.
La Boîte Bloody Mary Spice Mix Sets
The brains behind these top-notch drink mixers are Food52’s spice expert Lior Lev Sercarz and master mixologist Jim Meehan, who is also the founder of New York’s famed speakeasy Please Don’t Tell. Technically, these blends are specifically designed for bloody marys, but they're particularly complementary to the flavors of beer in a michelada, too.
There’s the "Mary," a traditional bloody mary mix with pimento, celery seeds, pepper, salt, and spices; the "Maria," which looks to grapefruit, green chiles, cilantro, chipotle, salt, and spices; the "Marion" with gin botanicals, like juniper berries, horseradish, cardamom, coriander, salt, and spices; and the "Marlene," which blends caraway seeds, anise, orange, salt, and spices. All are made in New York and have a shelf life of 12 months.
Twang Reserve Michelada Classica Mix
Twang is all too familiar for southerners. The San Antonio-based, Mexican-American brand makes flavored salts designed to dress beers and beer-based cocktails. The michelada-flavored beer salt is a classic for rimming pint glasses, but the brand recently launched its mini michelada mixes, each made with top-quality tomatoes and spices. The teeny-tiny grab-and-go bottles slip easily into a cooler or pocket. Pair one with fresh beer and michelada beer salt for an inexpensive and easy way to make the savory libation.
LAVA All-Natural Authentic Michelada Craft Cocktail Mixer
Lava’s hand-crafted michelada mixes make a mean craft cocktail. The bottles are filled by hand with small-batch mixers made with high-quality ingredients, like fresh San Marzano tomatoes, ancho chile peppers, horseradish, carefully sourced spices, and tamarind. This does make the mix pricier than some of the other options on the list, but the premium flavors give it a fresh, authentic taste.
Even though it comes in a bottle (and a handsome one, at that), this is the closest you'll get to a fresh michelada. Just rim the glass, pour your beer, add a few ounces of the mix, sit back, and sip. Lava also makes a range of premium cocktail mixers for palomas, bloody marys, and Moscow mules.
Antojitos Michelada Mix Cup, 6-Pack
If you’re a fan of beach drinks or no-fuss BBQ beverages, this is the michelada mix for you. These small, easily transportable cups are ready to use—just peel open the top and pour in 12 ounces of your favorite beer. Give it a good stir and you’re ready to enjoy.
The Styrofoam cups are pre-filled with the perfect pour of michelada mix (made with purified water, tomato, chili powder, celery salt, and garlic powder) and a hand-dipped salted rim. Give the cups a good shake before using.
Note that some reviewers find this option too salty, but if that’s the case, you can remove the salt before pouring in your beer. This set comes with six 24-ounce cups. Because they're ready to drink, they're perfect for packing in a beach bag or cooler for drinking al fresco.
Pacific Pickle Works Michelada Shrub
What is a shrub? In drinking vocabulary, a shrub is concentrated flavor syrups made from fruit, sugar, and vinegar. These can be sipped on their own or as part of a wide selection of cocktails. This one is tart and spicy, adding the perfect Mexican-inspired flavors to a beer. The hand-filled batches are made with fresh lime, organic apple cider vinegar, sea salt, celery salt, two different types of pepper, dried chiles, and Thai lime.
It’s simple to use. Just crack open your beer and add a splash of the mix. Don’t forget to rim your glass with Tajin or salt. You can even use this shrub as a steak sauce or marinade for taco meats.
Kitschy Chic Spicery Michelada Red Beer Salt
While this isn't exactly a mix, this beer salt was inspired by the michelada. Use it to rim the glass of a beer or tequila drink for a spicy citrus kick. Each batch is carefully blended by hand in the U.S. with sea salt, chili powder, mint, Okinawa sea salt, and lime zest. Each order includes the maker’s favorite michelada recipe: two dashes of habanero pepper sauce, one dash of Worcestershire sauce, a few ounces of Clamato juice, and key lime juice.
Stone Hollow Farmstead Farm-to-Table Bloody Mary Mix
Here's another option that was crafted for bloody mary cocktails, but works just as well in a michelada. These jars are made at the family-run Stone Hollow Farmstead in Birmingham, Alabama, with local ingredients. They come in a variety of flavors, too.
The classic tomato mix features garlic and horseradish, but spice fans will love the "Scary Mary," a tomato-based mix with habanero and smoky chipotle peppers. Then there's the "Dirty Mary," which combines a salsa verde-inspired blend of tomatillos and tomatoes. The mix is saucier than others, so give it a good stir after pouring.
Add a few ounces of mix to a freshly cracked lager or Mexican beer. Each jar contains 32 ounces—more than enough for over a dozen micheladas. Of note, several of the flavors are not vegetarian.
For a range of gourmet flavors from industry professionals, the La Boîte Bloody Mary Spice Mix Sets (view at Food52) can't be beat. Plus, you'll have the ammo for micheladas and bloody marys. For convenient, grab-and-go bottles that fit in your purse or beach bag, we recommend the Twang Reserve Michelada Classica Mix (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in a Michelada
The ingredients in michelada—beer, juices, sauces, spices, and chile peppers—leave a lot of room for different variations. Read the list of ingredients carefully and let the flavors and the desired level of spiciness be your guide. If celery salt isn’t your thing, maybe you'd like a michelada mix with horseradish. The type of chile gives you a clue about the spiciness. A mix with ancho is on the mild side, one with chipotle is moderately spicy, and if you really like it spicy, choose a mix with habanero.
Micheladas come in many different forms. If you are mixing micheladas at home, a standard large glass bottle or dry spice mix in a jar works just fine. To bring a michelada mix along to a party, tailgate event, or a picnic, small serving-size bottles that you pour into a beer or serving-size cups to which you add beer are a convenient options.
If you are not a regular michelada drinker, and you don’t want to let the mix go to waste, it makes sense to pick a product with multiple uses, such as a mix that you can use for a bloody mary, as a rimming salt, or to marinate meats.
A michelada mix may contain Worcestershire sauce or clam juice, so the drink is not necessarily vegetarian.
The amount of sodium in michelada mixes varies greatly. To find the michelada mix with the lowest sodium content, compare the nutritional information of the products.
Is michelada a bloody mary?
Michelada is often referred to as the Mexican bloody mary, but the two drinks are different. A bloody mary is made with vodka, and a michelada is made with beer.
What is the difference between a chelada and a michelada?
A chelada is a chilled beer with a salted rim, flavored with fresh lime juice. A michelada, on the other hand, is more complex and spicier, with beer, lime juice, spices, tomato juice, and chile.
Which beer goes best with a michelada?
The best beer for a michelada is a light and refreshing beer such as a lager, ideally a Mexican lager.
What is a michelada Clamato?
It is a michelada with Clamato, which is the brand name of a flavored tomato juice and clam broth mixture. Clamato, unlike the original michelada, is an American invention.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Kate Dingwall is a sommelier and spirits writer. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for five years and has her BarSmarts and WSET certification.