Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner! This Mexican holiday commemorates the battle between Mexican soldiers and the French (May 5, 1862), therefore aiding the United States in winning the Battle of Gettysburg against the Confederate Army. The French were trying to support the Confederates, and the Mexican nation played a big role in preventing it. Ok history lesson is over, you came here for the booze!
Some of these are well-known cocktails, and others you might learn something new about, so let's get to it:
The Margarita: Everyone knows it and loves it. Served frozen or on the rocks, this legendary Mexican coctail offers layers of refreshment with some flair. The stories of it's origin are varied, however the common tale involves a woman named Margarita as it's namesake. Here is a very traditional recipe for a classic Margarita:
- 1 & 1/2 ounces Tequila
- 1 ounce fresh-squeezed Lime Juice
- 1/2 ounce Orange Liquer (Contreau is preferred, but Triple Sec works also)
- Salt to rim the glass
Salt a margarita glass. Shake the ingredients with crushed ice, strain into the salt-rimmed glass, and serve.
The Tequila Sunrise: It's not exactly a Mexican-derived cocktail (close enough though), but it involves the essence of the country, tequila. The origins of this drink go back to a place called the Arizone Biltmore in Phoenix, that named the drink after the beautiful sunrises in the Southwest. The original recipe is a bit different from what is served everywhere, so I'll list both versions:
Tequila Sunrise - Traditional
- 1 & 1/4 ounces Tequila
- 3/4 ounces Creme de Cassis
- a squeeze of fresh Lime Juice
- Club Soda
Fill highball glass with ice. Add tequila, creme and squeeze of lime. Fill the remainder of the glass with club soda.
Tequila Sunrise - Simplified
- 1 ounce Grenadine
- 4 ounces Orange Juice
- 2 ounces Tequila
Build cocktail in highball glass with ice in that order and do NOT stir.
La Paloma: Translated in english, it means, "the Dove." Perhaps a lesser known cocktail up north, but still fairly common in the south. In Mexico, La Paloma is tremendously popular, moreso than the famed Margarita.
- 2 ounces of high quality Tequila
- 3 ounces Grapefruit Juice
- 1/2 ounce fresh Lime Juice
- 1/2 ounce Agave Nectar or Simple Syrup
- Club Soda
In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine Tequila, juices, and nectar and shake well. Strain into highball glass of ice. Top with a splash of club soda.
Micheleda: Perhaps the strangest concoction, and demands an acquired taste. It has some relation to a bloody mary, and with a peculiar addition of beer. The color of this cocktail always reminds me of a red enchilada, so during my youth that was often what I called it when my relatives drank it, haha!
- 12 ounces Mexican Beer (such as Modelo, Tecate, or Corona)
- dash of Tabasco Sauce
- 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 1 dash Soy Sauce
- 1 pinch Black Pepper
- squeeze of fresh Lime Juice
In a highball glass with ice, add all ingredients, but pour the beer in last.
Cocktails that are mistakenly known as Mexican, but are NOT:
In case you were wondering why these drinks weren't listed, it's because they aren't Mexican-based cocktails! Here's the list and their origins to clear up those misconceptions-
- Pina Colada (Puerto Rico)
- Mojito (Cuba)
- Sangria (Spain)
Please enjoy your Cinco de Mayo responsibly, and enjoy the spirited flavors of Mexico! If you need more tips on planning your memorable Cinco party, I'll be posting a recipe or two for some authentic Mexican dishes in the very near future, so stay tuned for more authentic flavors!