HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!
An excuse to drink margaritas? Yes, please!
Cinco de Mayo is primarily celebrated in Puebla, Mexico, but in the United States it is a big holiday dedicated to Latin American culture — with specific emphasis on good food and drinks with friends and family. It’s the time to try that taco recipe you’ve been craving, or grab a margarita with friends after work. It’s an opportunity to get together with family and friends mid-week, and enjoy some quality time together.
But why is Cinco de Mayo celebrated?
Contrary to a popular theory, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day (that holiday is on September 16th). Rather, Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of a single victory by Mexican troops over a French invasion at the Battle of Puebla. The Mexicans were poorly organized, but overcame the French army in a battle that lasted a single day. This bolstered Mexican troops and brought momentum to the resistance movement against European powers in the 1800s.
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of culture. It also happens to fall at a beautiful time of year when spring is in full swing. After all, what better way to kick off warm weather than with a delicious salt-rimmed margarita.
Here are the top tequila-based cocktails to try for Cinco de Mayo (and all summer long) — cheers!
The key to any simple cocktail is to bring your A-game when it comes to the liquor. That’s why the best margaritas are made with the best tequila, or the highest quality you can afford. Play around with different colored salts and flavors (like a chili-lime salt rim) for an extra special touch.
The only thing better than a margarita is a spicy margarita to wake up the senses! This drink is absolutely essential to enjoy with chips and guac, and strawberries and basil are welcome additions. Wear gloves when handling the jalapenos, and use a pair of mini bar tongs to grab any later on.
Grapefruit and tequila — a match made in Mexico! This drink might be the most refreshing summertime cocktail out there, and it’s incredibly difficult to mess up. Grapefruit soda, or a combination of soda and real grapefruit juice work here! Drop in a wedge of grapefruit and pour into a glass with a salted rim for a drink that is a welcome addition to the Cinco de Mayo table.
You’ve heard of a Whiskey Sour, but it’s no wonder why a Tequila Sour is delicious too. Citrus and tequila have always paired well together and this cocktail is no exception. Try this drink with a Reposado tequila for a richer flavor, and beautiful golden color. Top with a lime wedge AND a cocktail cherry for extra colorful flair.
Feeling formal? Celebrating on a cold and rainy night? The Reposado Old Fashioned is a tequila riff on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail, and perfect for Cinco de Mayo. Who knows! You may even like the tequila version more than the original.
But if you don’t have time to make any of these …
It doesn’t get easier than pouring a quality tequila over ice and stirring in some tonic water. A wedge of lime or salted rim isn’t totally necessary — but do it on Cinco De Mayo for a festive and easy tequila drink.
Erin Hooker is a writer with experience creating wine, food, and interior design content. She began contributing to Graham + Fisk’s blog in 2021.