Move Over Bloody Marys, Micheladas Are Brunch's Best Cocktail

Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Pull up to a nice, lazy Sunday brunch just about anywhere in America and you’re immediately confronted with a very important decision: Bloody Mary or bottomless mimosas? Dainty mimosas won’t always do the trick, especially when you’re battling last night’s aching hangover. And a Bloody -- a thick mix of acid, spice, and booze -- can be just as brutal as an 8am whiskey shot. It makes me nauseous just thinking about it.

Next time, skip the liquored-up gazpacho and head straight for your brunch’s new secret weapon, the michelada. The cocktail’s exact makeup can vary from joint to joint, but the basic rundown is tomato juice or Clamato, chilled Mexican lager, lime juice, hot sauce, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce, topped off by a chili powder and a sea-salt rim.

Why does Mexico’s favorite breakfast beverage trump that old, soupy standby you call a Bloody? Why should you go with a beer cocktail over a Champagne one? Well, allow me to explain.

michelada and taco
Flickr/Sara Elizabeth

They've got the whole "more flavor, less filling" thing on lock

Anyone who can make it through multiple Bloody Marys and put away a lumberjack special is either a professional competitive eater or a straight-up beast. For those of us with average-sized digestive tracts, making the switch to micheladas is a no-brainer. They taste enough like a Bloody to satisfy those spicy inclinations, but their light, bubbly, tart, and citrusy profile keeps you floating pint after pint. Plus, they leave tons of room for all the gorgeous brunch you’re about to shove down your gullet. Beer beats the hard stuff every time.

Micheladas ditch vodka in favor of a low-ABV Mexican-style light lager

That means they’re a cinch to track down (i.e. no full bar needed) and much cheaper. They're ideal for day drinking, unless you want to fall fast asleep and/or make terrible decisions in broad daylight, in which case drink up, ya bum.

They're better at easing the quease

Sipping beer -- especially a darker amber like Negra Modelo or Dos Equis -- is a pretty well-recognized folk cure for nausea. Loads of people -- including yours truly and pretty much the entire country of Ireland -- swear by it. Unlike vodka, beer’s soft carbonation can help settle the tum and soothe a sour stomach while still supplying ethanol’s calming, anesthetic effect. And as an extra incentive, real-deal scientists found that drinks with a more moderate alcohol content effectively stimulate gastrin release, a fancy medical term for the bacteria-killing digestive aid that lives in your stomach.


They're the ultimate in hot-weather refreshment

“Michelada” is actually a compound Spanish term that mashes up the words for "beer," "cold," and "mine," -- aka “my cold beer.” It's no wonder that our hermanos down south, especially in regions where the temperature regularly rises well above the 90-degree mark, created the wondrous beverage. And while the crispy lager keeps you cool as a cuke, the cocktail’s chili-fueled heat helps you sweat out last night’s toxins.

Sea salt is basically nature's Gatorade

That pretty salted rim isn’t just for looks. Simply put, our bodies need sodium, and the sodium found in sea salt is a great source of those little hydration machines known as electrolytes as well as a slew of other minerals that help you feel better. To top it off, salt’s rejuvenating powers are all the more effective when balanced out by potassium, and luckily, that tomato juice swirling around your highball is just bursting with potassium.

Micheladas just tastes better

Maybe not the most convincing argument, but it’s the truth.

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Meredith Heil is a staff writer for Thrillist. What is a jam if you don't spike the punch? What's a brewski if you don't bite brunch? She wants to know. Follow her at @mereditto.