Three Chelada cocktails with lime and Tajin

Classic Chelada - A Mexican Beer Cocktail made with Lime

By Timo Torner / Last updated on October 17, 2022 

First published on July 6, 2022 

A Chelada is a cocktail from Mexico made with beer, lime juice, and a salt rim. A refreshing and unique way to enjoy a cold beer.

Beer cocktails are usually super easy to make and quite refreshing. And so is the Chelada.

I have to say that I value Mexican beer, in general. And no matter which, classics like Sol, Dos Equis, and Corona all pair perfectly with lime. So it's no surprise that a well-made Chelada is a great drink.

Like many other Mexican drinks, a Chelada also features a salt rim. An unpretentious addition that rounds off this drink.

Do you want to learn how to make this beer cocktail? Read on and find out how to create a perfect Chelada!

Ingredients of a Chelada

The Chelada is just one of many Mexican beer cocktails. In Mexico, this category of drinks is called Cerveza preparada - or "prepared beer". Another similar cerveza preparada is the Michelada cocktail.

The origin of both drinks is a bit murky, but most likely, they got their name from a combination of the words mi, chela, and helada

Lime juice squeezed with juicer

Chela is a common word in Mexico for beer, and helada translates to ice. Therefore, the words (mi) chela helada more or less translate to (my) ice-cold beer.

To make a great Chelada, you'll need three things:

  • An ice-cold Mexican beer like Sol, Corona, or Dos Equis
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Salt rim
Best beer for making Chelada cocktails

The salt rim of a Chelada

The salt rim in Mexican cocktails is always an essential part of the drink. You can make it with either fleur de sel, a flaky sea salt, or a mix of fleur de sel and a spice mix like Tajín.

Personally, in a classic Margarita, I prefer a rim made with fleur de sel or regular sea salt. Spicy cocktails, though, are often rimmed with Tajín, a spice mix including salt.

For a Chelada, I prefer a combination of both to pronounce the saltiness. Here's what you need to do to get a perfect salt rim for your Chelada:

  • Combine equal parts of fleur de sel and Tajín spice on a small plate and mix thoroughly. That will add just enough zing to the rim to lift the drink without overpowering the taste of your Chelada.
  • Use a lime wedge to wet the rim of the glass. If you want, you can cut into the lime flesh for easier handling.
  • Dip the glass into the salt and spice mix. Depending on your preference, you can dip only the outside of the glass or the inside, as well. Yet, keep in mind that salt on the inside can lead to salt and spice falling into your drink.

Once the glass is ready to go, set it aside while preparing the other ingredients.

Chelada vs. Michelada

Chelada and Michelada are both Mexican beer cocktails. As such, they belong to the so-called Cervezas Preparadas. While a classic Chelada consists of only three ingredients, the Michelada is way more complex.

The ingredients of a Michelada often vary from recipe to recipe but always include a variety of sauces like hot sauce, Maggi sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. 

Michelada cocktail

Both drinks feature a salt rim, although the Michelada often comes solely with the Tajín spice mix - as opposed to a blend of Tajín and salt for the Chelada. This only makes sense as the taste of the drink is already more complex and intense compared to a classic Chelada.

How to serve it

As easy as making a great Chelada is, there's a small trick to make it even better.

First, pour the lime juice into a chilled and rimmed glass. Make sure to use just enough to add that needed zestiness to the beer, not more.

Add a pinch of salt and stir until the salt has dissolved. That brings a nice salty touch to your Chelada.

Then add some ice cubes to keep the beer chilled before finally pouring in the ice-cold beer. Use a light, Lager-style beer from Mexico for this (preferably Sol or Corona).

As you pour in the beer, it immediately and automatically mixes with the lime juice - No stirring or mixing is required.

A chilled Chelada is a perfectly light drink to enjoy with some food. Serve it along with authentic Tacos, Nachos, and Guacamole.

Three Chelada cocktails with lime and Tajin

Chelada

A classic Mexican beer cocktail made with Lager beer, fresh lime juice, and a delicate salt rim.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Beer, lime
Servings: 1
Calories: 132kcal
Cost: $2.10

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 12 oz 12oz Mexican beer
  • 1 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 pinch Fleur de sel
  • 1 tbsp Fleur de sel (for salt rim)
  • 1 tbsp Tajín (for salt rim)

Instructions

  • Mix Fleur de sel (or flaky sea salt) with Tajín on a small plate until thoroughly mixed.
  • Use a lime wedge to wet the glass rim and then dip the glass into the salt and spice mix.
  • Add freshly squeezed lime juice into the glass, add a pinch of sea salt, and stir until salt dissolves.
  • Add ice cubes and pour in the chilled beer. If needed, stir gently to incorporate the lime juice with the beer.

Nutrition

Serving: 13oz | Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 117mg | Sugar: 4.1g | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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