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6 Essential Drink Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

by Madisyn Taylor on May 05, 2021

Everyone loves Cinco de Mayo, even if most have no idea why they even celebrate it. After all, do we really need a reason to enjoy the wonders of Mexican cuisine and all of its related libations? Absolutely not.

Still, let’s clear a few things up. First of all, despite what many assume, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day — you’ll want to mark September 18th on your calendar for that one. Cinco de Mayo is actually the celebration of the Mexican Army’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5th, 1862. The state of Puebla began celebrating the anniversary each year after, which eventually spilled over into Southern California. The holiday became more of an American sensation in the 1980s thanks to some smart advertising on account of a few beer and wine companies. Fast forward to 2005, when the United States Congress issued a resolution recognizing and encouraging the celebration of the holiday, and here we are now… doing whatever it is we do on this day.

Regardless of your reasons for celebrating, Cinco de Mayo is an ideal time to indulge in some of the best food and drinks in the world and recognize the many contributions Mexican culture has made to this country. To help you celebrate properly, we’ve put together six easy Cinco de Mayo drink recipe ideas you can serve at your own party.

Enjoy! (Responsibly, of course.)

 

Paloma

If you’re going to do Cinco de Mayo the right way, the official cocktail of Mexico is probably a good place to start. This vibrant and refreshing drink is made with simple ingredients and assembled right in the glass — no shaker required. It’s also forgiving to variations when it comes to the grapefruit soda part. Grapefruit Jarritos soda is a popular choice in Mexico, but you can also substitute Squirt, Fresca, or if you’re feeling fancy, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice mixed with sparkling water and some simple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Grapefruit soda, chilled, to top
  • Garnish: lime wheel
  • Garnish: salt rim (optional)


Directions:

  1. Rub a lime wedge around the edge of a highball or rocks glass, then dip the rim in salt (optional).
  2. Add the tequila and lime juice, and fill the glass with ice.
  3. Top off with grapefruit soda and give it a vigorous stir.
  4. Garnish the glass with a lime wheel.

 

Sangrita

Your party is probably going to involve tequila shots at some point, so why not ditch the lime as a chaser and make some sangrita instead? Not only is it delicious, but you’re also getting a serving of vegetables to counteract everything else going on, so that counts for something, right? Besides, you can do the lime thing literally any other day. This is Cinco de Mayo, baby. Time to go for it. Make a spicy pitcher of this stuff and watch the compliments pile up alongside your empty shot glasses.

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces tomato juice
  • 6 ounces grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
  • 6 ounces orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 ounces lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 ounces Tabasco
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, halved (with seeds)


Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients into a chilled glass pitcher and stir until you see the salt fully dissolve.
  2. Let the sangrita stand for about 15 to 30 minutes, then take the jalapeño out. Keep it in longer if you want to feel the burn a bit more.
  3. Pour 4-6 ounces into a rocks glass and serve alongside your tequila shots.

 

Michelada

There’s really no wrong way to make this wildly popular beer cocktail, but there’s always been a debate about whether or not they should have tomato juice — a version most are probably more familiar with. This recipe is more aligned to the micheladas you’ll find in places like Mexico City, and it’s every bit as good (and easy) to make. Use any kind of Mexican lager you want, but we prefer it with Negra Modelo.

Ingredients

  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch celery salt
  • Mexican lager beer, chilled
  • Garnish: lime wedge


Directions:

  1. Add equal parts salt and cayenne pepper to a plate or shallow bowl. Rub the lime wedge along half the pint glass rim, and then dip the rim into the salt-cayenne mixture.
  2. Mix salt and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl, rub the lime wedge along half the rim of your beer glass, then dip it into the mixture.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, then add the lager.
  4. Garnish with a lime wedge.

 

Mexi-Mosa

Feeling brunchy at your get-together? Well, a Mexi-Mosa is in order. This simple recipe is essentially a “Mexican” version of a mimosa, and we think you’ll probably be making it well past the holiday once you try it out, cringey name notwithstanding.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • ¾ ounces fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 Bottle of prosecco


Directions:

  1. Pour the tequila, simple syrup, and grapefruit juice into a shaker.
  2. Shake and strain into a champagne flute.
  3. Top with prosecco.
  4. Garnish with a mint leaf, strawberry, or orange wedge if you want to be fancy.

 

Colsa Martini

For those who want to look a bit more refined at their party, this excellent Colsa Martini will certainly do the trick. This cocktail opts for tequila instead of gin or vodka, and it definitely hits the spot. Don Julio tequila is preferred, but use whatever you want; it’s a holiday. If you can’t find any grapefruit bitters, regular bitters will do, along with a tiny splash of grapefruit juice.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 ounces Don Julio 70 tequila
  • 1/2 ounce white vermouth
  • 2 dashes of grapefruit bitters
  • 1 grapefruit twist


Directions:

  1. Pour the tequila, vermouth, and grapefruit bitters into a mixing glass. Add ice and stir well.
  2. Strain into a coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

 

Margarita

Did you think we’d forget the margaritas? No way. The unofficial cocktail of Cinco de Mayo needs no introduction.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces blanco tequila
  • 1/2 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce agave syrup
  • Garnish: lime wheel
  • Garnish: kosher salt (optional)


Directions:

  1. Run a lime wedge along the edge of your glass of choice. Dip the edge into kosher salt in a shallow bowl.
  2. Pour your tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and agave syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake vigorously.
  3. Strain into your glass.
  4. Garnish with a lime wheel (optional)

 

Bonus Variation: The Spicy Margarita

This is exactly what it says. And all you need is a spare jalapeño, which you should obviously have around already.

Ingredients

  • 1 lime wedge
  • 2 jalapeño slices, seeds removed
  • 2 ounces blanco tequila
  • 1/2 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce agave syrup
  • Garnish: salt rim
  • Garnish: jalapeño slice


Directions:

  1. Run a lime wedge along the edge of your glass of choice. Dip into kosher salt in a shallow bowl.
  2. Add the jalapeño slices to your shaker and muddle them, oh so gently.
  3. Add the blanco tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and agave syrup, and ice. Shake vigorously.
  4. Strain into a glass over fresh ice.
  5. Garnish with a jalapeño slice.

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