Chelada - Mexico's Other Drink

Our family has been visiting Mexico for years, and on occasion, my photography company will be hired to do a photo shoot in Mexico. One tasty drink I was introduced to in Old Mexico several years ago is Chelada, a mix of cerveza and Clamato juice. Yes, Clamato. I just felt that shiver sweep across the back of your neck and shoulders. In the States, I used to run into gringos who created something similar, called Red Beer, but it usually was just a beer and tomato juice. Totally different from chelada; doesn't even come close.

Well, when I want a beer, it has to be a chelada. We create our own cheladas at home with just a few easy ingredients. About a year ago, while traveling in southern Arizona on a photo assignment for a travel magazine, we came across a new Anheuser-Busch product available in convenience stores and sold in individual tallboys - 22-ounce cans. It is Bud's version of cheladas. Bud's test-marketing of its chelada in the Southwest the past year has been very successful, we learn, and the company now is taking it nationwide. Kudos to Anheuser-Busch. But more importantly, a big Muchas Gracias to our neighbors to the south for inventing it.

I'm going to share our recipe for a great chelada. But if you aren't a mixologist or just don't want to bother, then check out Anheuser Busch's chelada in both regular Bud and also Bud Light. Now, AB has formulated theirs a bit differently, and it's pretty good. But it has more salt than I prefer. Otherwise, yummy.

Okay, here's our recipe.

1 - 12 ounce can of Mexican beer (American will do, but we much prefer Tecate, Tecate Light, Pacifico or Dos XX pilsner, not the dark for the chelada).

3/4 cup cold Clamato juice. You can adjust the amount after you've tried your first chelada to suit your personal taste. I prefer more Clamato to less.

1 small wedge cut from a lime OR 1/2 teaspoon lime juice.

4-8 drops of Worcestershire sauce.

A pinch of salt.


1-2 drops (no more to start with) of a pepper sauce such as Tabasco. If you have access to a Mexican pepper sauce, that works just as well if not better. If you aren't a person of heat, then dropping the pepper sauce is just fine. I love chile peppers but I often leave out the pepper sauce.