Red Eye / Red Beer: A History and a Recipe

If you’re looking to shake up your brunch game, we suggest adding a little tomato juice and Secret Aardvark to your beer!

What is a Beer and Tomato Juice Drink Called?

A cocktail made with beer and tomato juice has several names depending on what region you’re ordering it in. Popular names include Red Eye (what we call it), Red Beer, Spicy Beer, Michelada, or Chelada. 

In theory, a Red Eye is a take on a Bloody mary. The biggest difference is that instead of a vodka base (or the tequila base of a Bloody Maria), you start with your beer of choice. Personally, we think that a Mexican lager is the best choice with a Red Eye — after all, there are plenty of folks who know this drink as “spicy Mexican red beer” or simply “Mexican red beer.”

Our spicy Red Eye / Red Beer recipe couldn’t be simpler. All you need is: 

  • 14 oz of beer
  • 2 oz of tomato juice or V8 juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce or more!

To make your Red Eye, simply combine the ingredients in a pint glass! Shaken or stirred — dealer’s choice!

If you want to take it to another level, try it with a salt rim. You could even mix some chipotle powder or taco seasoning with your salt for an extra kick (but since you’re already using Secret Aardvark, we don’t think you’ll need. it.)

Technically, a difference between what we call a Red Eye and a traditional Michelada are a few additional ingredients. Most people add lime juice to their Michelada, but some recipes call for soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce for an even stronger flavor, but those are largely considered optional.

What Does Red Beer Taste Like?

A Red Beer, or Red Eye, taste varies based on the beer you use to make this cocktail. It’s safe to say that a Red Eye’s taste will vary depending on the beer you use with it, we think it tastes like a carbonated Bloody Mary, but with a fuller taste.

Where Did Red Beer originate?

While it’s hard to find an exact origin story for a Red Beer or Red Eye, some sources say the Michelada cocktail as we know it was created by Michel Ésper at Club Deportivo Potosino in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. 

Is Michelada a cocktail?

A Michelada, or Red Eye, is indeed a cocktail! However, instead of hard liquor, it uses beer as its base. 

How much beer is in a Michelada?

We recommend putting 14oz of beer in a Michelada (or Red Eye), but you can and should change the amount of beer you use based on personal taste and flavor of the beer. For example, if you’re using a stronger, more flavorful beer, you might 

What is the difference between a Chelada and Michelada?

Depending on who you’re talking to, there might be no differences to a Chelada and Michelada. Some just call a Michelada a Chelada for short. However, some make a Chelada as a simplified Michelada that omits hot sauce and tomato juice for lime juice and a salt rim.