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What is a Michelada

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FINCA TATIN, Izabel, Guatemala- A Michelada, or cerveza preparada, is a loose term which nomenclates the result of adding lime juice, hot sauce, spices, Worchester sauce, tomato juice, salt etc . . . to a beer. Micheladas are as popular in Latin America as most other standard mixed drinks, I have watched them prepared on numerous occasions.

It always perks my attention when I see someone pouring something into a beer. This act often produces me to responded with an automatic “What are you doing” response. It would seem to me that a beer is a complete package in itself — something that is almost perfect, almost sacred. Watching someone make a science experiment out of a perfectly good beer seems a sacrilege.

Then I had a Michelada handed over to me one morning at the Finca Tatin. It was prepared by a friend from Guatemala City, he says they are an exceptionally effective remedy for hangovers. I looked down into the cup, I saw beer with lime pieces, hot sauce globs, and black pepper floating around in a great melee on the surface. The additional elements seemed to be a great over compensation, unnecessary, a moot point — a naked beer would have been good enough for me. But a Michelada is a beer none the less, I took it with gusto and drank it down.

The tastes — beer, lime, hot sauce, salt, pepper — all pulled each other together. I drank another of my own volition.

How to make a Michelada

Add lime juice

Add salt

Add hot sauce

Add beer

Around the world there are many recipes for creating mixed drinks out of beer. In China, it is common to mix lemon/ lime pop with beer, in Latin America, Fanta. Mixing other ingredients in a beer seems to be a foreign idea in the United States and, from my observation, in Europe as well, but in Asia and Latin America it is common to pour juices, sodas, condiments, spices into beer and essentially make it into a cocktail.

It is said that the word Michelada comes from a combination of the Spanish phrase, “Mi Chele Helado,” which is a cool way to say “my cold beer.”

Michelada or Prepared Beer in Latin America

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Filed under: Central America, Food, Guatemala

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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