For some, a Michelada — or Chelada, depending on where in Mexico you are, and again, who you ask — is “just the mix of beer, lime juice and salt,” Ms. Acuña said.
The name comes from “mi chela helada,” approximately “my cold beer” in English. A light Mexican lager, such as Tecate, Corona, Pacifico, Carta Blanca, Sol or Modelo, is the classic choice for that cold beer, letting the flavors shine.
Beyond that, the drink’s final formula is more pliable, generating strong opinions and heated discussion over how, exactly, it is made. The most common additions can include but are not limited to: a dash of Worcestershire sauce (or salsa inglesa), a few — or many — drops of hot sauce and Maggi seasoning (which Ms. Acuña would call a Cubana), and splashes of Clamato or tomato juice, or both (some, she notes, would call that an Ojo Rojo).
And modern interpretations expand the choice of condiments to kaleidoscopic.
“Before everyone was aiming for the best classic Michelada, using the same ingredients, just with different amounts,” Ms. Acuña said. “Now, people are open to experimenting, but there’s always something acidic, something spicy, something salty.”
Switch out lime juice for another citrus, such as lemon, or even a tart dry vinegar. The Michelada at Ticuchi in Mexico City, designed by Yana Volfson, a partner, makes use of both fresh yuzu juice and a yuzu kosho made with chile de agua. When making Micheladas at home, Yola Jiménez, the founder of Yola Mezcal, often adds slices of fresh serrano pepper or jalapeño to her drink for spice. (A drizzle of Sriracha or a crack of black pepper work, too.)