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The michelada became popular in Mexico during the 1940s, when people started to mix beer and spicy hot sauces. There are two versions to explain the origin of its name: one attributes it to Michel Ésper, who was said to have invented the drink at the bar of a sports club in San Luis Potosí; time went by and the invention became known as michelada as a tribute to its creator. The second, more simple version says that the name is just a contraction of the phrase “Mi cerveza helada” (my ice-cold beer).
Whatever the origin of the name, the fact is that are nearly as many ways to prepare a michelada as there are Mexicans who are of legal drinking age. OK, this might be a bit of an overstatement but it can be said that it is a very popular drink in Mexico and there are naturally many different versions depending on the region where it is prepared and consumed. The most standard version consists of a large glass that is rubbed with lemon along the rim and it is then impregnated with a mixture of salt and spicy ají. Next the glass is filled with ice to suit your taste (in some places they don’t use ice) and then a touch of Worcestershire sauce and tabasco is added, plus some lemon juice. Last of all, the glass is filled with the beer of your choice (it must be ice-cold) and it’s ready. There’s your michelada.
Micheladas can vary depending on the type of beer you choose. There is such a variety that the michelada is perfect to wash down Mexican food. Micheladas prepared using light Pilsen type beers are refreshing and help you distinguish all the food flavors, perfect for drinking with a cochinita pibil, for instance. If you prefer a stronger beer then you should try darker beers with an aftertaste of chocolate or coffee that will highlight the hardier tastes of certain dishes such as mole.
It is unforgivable not to try a michelada when travelling to any part of Mexico!