Food and Drink

Canned Micheladas That You Need to Try This Summer

Whether you're looking for heat, lime, or strong tomato flavor, these are our favorite canned micheladas.

Design by Grace Han for Thrillist
Design by Grace Han for Thrillist
Design by Grace Han for Thrillist

There is no replacement for a michelada on a hot day in Los Angeles watching a baseball game. The beer cocktail-which is usually made with a combination of hot sauce, Clamato (a tomato and clam juice concentrate), lime juice, and a light lager-is a more refreshing and bubbly version of a Bloody Mary. It is the perfect summer beverage, which can be enjoyed any time of day, for people who want the refreshment of beer in cocktail form. . 

But if you don’t want to invest in an entire bottle of funky Clamato or squeeze the juice of fresh limes, there are still ways to get the bold flavors of micheladas in the convenience of a can. There are so many versions of this beer cocktail popping up now, but don’t be fooled: there are subdued cans that lack real flavor, ones that are cloyingly sweet, and others that are far too thick to be sipped on. We bypass those and share our favorites to sip on all summer long. 

Estrella Jalisco Spicy Piña Michelada

Estrella Jalisco’s collaboration with Los Angeles-based Golden Road Brewing and Clamato is what I’d describe as a perfect michelada. Inspired by fruit cart vendors in Los Angeles, it’s a marriage of fruity flavors, subtle heat, zippy tomato, and just enough salt. Thanks to the addition of Clamato, it even has that subtle funkiness that makes a michelada a michelada. If you prefer mango to pineapple, the mango version is a revelation as well-slightly sweeter and with more tropical flair. 

Modelo Chelada Tamarindo Picante

Tamarind is such a unique flavor; tangy, salty, sweet. The pulp from tamarind pods translates perfectly into a michelada. This version from Modelo is perfect for those seeking added heat and the zip of tamarind. It definitely has a kick thanks to chipotle peppers, yet is still reminiscent of sweet and savory tamarind candies. This is a great option for those less interested in a balance of sweet and fruity in their micheladas and fully committed to some spice. 

Estrella Jalisco Tropical Chamoy Michelada

Chamoy is the ultimate partner for fresh cut fruit, paletas, and micheladas. This thick, sweet and salty pickled fruit sauce-which can be made from apricots or plums-coaxes out the nuanced flavors of almost everything it touches, including beer. Estrella Jalisco’s tropical chamoy michelada is more sweet than savory thanks to the addition of pineapple juice but still has the familiarity of tomato and clam juice thanks to Clamato. It’s sweeter than it is savory but still a treat to drink.

Sol Chelada Limon y Sal

Some people do not enjoy the idea of drinking cold tomato juice and tend to avoid Bloody Marys and micheladas. If this is you, opt for Sol’s Limon y Sal Chelada. True to its name, Sol is a sunny beer with a bright flavor. Although the Limon y Sal version does without tomato juice, it’s still supplied with plenty of lime and salt-perfect as an accompaniment to a plate of tacos and eerily refreshing for something so wonderfully salty. 

Thorn Brewing Company Michelada Lager

It’s got clam juice. It’s got tomatoes. It’s got lime and hot sauce-all the necessary ingredients for a classic michelada. On top of that, this San Diego-based craft brewery kicks things up a notch with the addition of citrusy ponzu, cumin, and black pepper for a michelada bursting with savory flavor. It’s one of the saltier versions on this list; don’t expect syrupy sweetness or any fruit flavor. If you prefer a classic version of a miche, craft beer style, pick up Thorn Brewing

Tio Rodrigo Mango Michelada

Some michelada mixes have too high a viscosity, leaving your tongue coated in gloopy tomato juice-not the most pleasant way to experience a michelada. Tio Rodrigo is the complete opposite. This canned version of micheladas is refreshing, crisp, and bubbly and drinks like a sparkling water rather than a premixed beer cocktail. On top of that, these micheladas actually have a surprising amount of heat, with the tomato and mango flavor commingling playfully. It’s lighter than other canned micheladas and will certainly be easy to down a can (or three). 

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Kat Thompson is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn

Food and Drink

Why Makrut Lime Makes a Star Ingredient in Cocktails

The Southeast Asian citrus is intensely aromatic and pairs with rum, gin, tequila, and more.

Photo courtesy of Fish Cheeks
Photo courtesy of Fish Cheeks
Photo courtesy of Fish Cheeks

I grew up with a makrut lime tree in my backyard, admiring the double leaves and dimpled citrus fruit that frequently made their way into our family dinners. Makrut limes, which are sometimes referred to kaffir limes (although the term is controversial and has been widely retired), are native to Southeast Asia, but somehow my mom willed a tree to grow in our Southern California home with great success.

To me, makrut meant savoury Thai food: steamed fish curry wrapped in banana leaves and sprinkled with chiffonade makrut, simmering tom kha gai with floating bits of the hand-torn citrus leaves, and glistening green curry accentuated by the plant’s aroma.

But to others, makrut is an ideal ingredient in cocktails and other drinks. Such is the case for Fish Cheeks, a Thai restaurant in Manhattan known for its seafood dishes and eclectic, complementary cocktail menu. Beverage director Beau Fontano knew he had to include makrut in his creations, especially because the ingredient is so prominent on the food menu. Makrut lime finds its way in several drinks, most notably as a garnish atop the Thank You Kha, a riff on the acidic coconut stew tom kha gai, and the Manao Mao, a rum-based drink that uses makrut lime bitters.

“I don’t love using the word tiki, but if you think of those tiki rum cocktails, makrut definitely works well in those,” Fontano says. “But I also love it in martinis-there’s something really clean about it. And with makrut lime, if you’re just using the leaves, you can do a lot of rapid infusions.”

Fontano only uses the leaves, because the rinds and juice of makrut limes are famously bitter. “Regular lime has a little bit more sugar content, so that’s why it’s much more approachable in cocktails. Makrut limes tend to be more dry,” he explains. “But when you use the leaves in cocktails, you just smack it to wake it up a little bit and it gets that nice citrusy, refreshing aroma which is really fun.”

The leaves are cut fresh, so each drink has the scent of makrut lime leaves wafting off of them. “I’m sure at one point I will get around to it and try to figure out how to use the juice,” he laughs.

Further north at Paper Tiger in Portland, Maine, makrut lime leaves are also prevalent in a cocktail called Something Scandalous, a tequila-based drink intended to be, in the words of bartender Nick Reevy, “crushed easily.”

Paper Tiger
Paper Tiger
Paper Tiger

“I went with tequila, specifically, because in Maine it’s 80 degrees and humid pretty much all summer,” Reevy explains. “So I made something you kick back easily. Agave has a really nice softness that elevates the makrut lime, and the main flavour in that drink is the Thai basil.”

The drink is an alluring shade of green and is rounded out by cinnamon syrup and falernum. “Makrut lime is really herbal and bright in a way no other citrus is,” Reevy adds. “It’s interchangeable with other limes, but it just adds this whole other depth of flavour.”Makrut lime has even made its way into hard seltzer, albeit a limited edition drop from Lunar. Founder Kevin Wong knew he wanted to add another citrus drink to his rotation as he witnessed the successes of hard lemonades, but already had a yuzu iteration. Makrut lime seemed like a natural follow-up.

Photo courtesy of Lunar
Photo courtesy of Lunar
Photo courtesy of Lunar

“It has a very intense citrus fragrance, almost perfumey or soapy,” Wong ponders. “Like I could see Le Labo putting out a makrut lime fragrance. It has such a commanding presence and body.”

To tamper down some of the boldness of the makrut lime, the hard seltzer uses makrut lime leaf extract, lime juice, and cane sugar. The aromatics of the lime are present without too much bitterness; instead, the seltzer is grassy, acidic, and dry. Wong recommends pairing the can with spicy foods, especially Szechuan dry pot.

The makrut lime seltzer is currently sold out, and Wong is unsure whether or not another batch is in the works. “I feel like makrut lime is the greatest secret unknown to the Western world,” he says. “It’s in medicine, candy, herbal drinks, cosmetics and aromatherapy. I think we did the seltzer too early, and I don’t know if the world is ready for us to bring it back yet. Maybe in a couple of years.”

But judging by the growing popularity of makrut lime in beverage menus, the comeback might be sooner than he expects.

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Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.


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