Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday that celebrates Mexico’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla. But for many of us it is a great excuse for a day of patio drinking! And since we are drinking in honor of Mexico, it only seems right that we should feature some drinks made from the blue agave plant, a spiky-leafed member of the lily family. By Mexican law the agave spirit called Tequila can be made only from one particular type of agave, the blue agave, and can be produced only in specifically designated geographic areas, primarily the state of Jalisco in west-central Mexico.
Please enjoy some of these traditional Tequila drinks:
- 1 1/2 oz tequila
- 1/2 oz triple sec
- Lemon or lime juice
- 3 oz sour mix
- Lime wedge for garnish
- Salt or sugar to rim the glass (optional)
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. If desired, salt (or sugar) the rim of a chilled margarita or highball glass. Pour contents, with ice, into the glass. Garnish with the lime.
Blended Version: Pour the liquid ingredients into a blender and add 1 cup crushed ice. Blend to your preferred consistency.
Fruit Version: In addition to the liquid ingredients and the crushed ice, add one half to one cup of your favorite fresh or frozen fruit. Adjust the fruit and ice to get the consistency you prefer.
For serious drinkers only who wouldn’t ever think of having a drink watered down by blending it with ice or letting a silly umbrella get in the way.
- 1 ½ oz premium reposada or anejo tequila (don’t go cheap, you’ll regret it)
- ½ oz Cointreau
- ½ oz Grand Marnier
- 1 oz lime juice
- Salt if desired
- Lime squeeze (garnish)
Rim a margarita or highball glass with lime and coat with salt if desired. Next, fill the glass with ice and set aside. In a shaker with ice combine tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Shake well a strain into the glass. Float the Grand Marnier on top, and squeeze the lime and drop it in.
This is one of Mexico’s most popular cocktails year round, a fizzy favorite in warm weather and one of the smoothest tequila drinks. Pick a blanco style tequila. If you use a diet soda, you’ll keep the calorie count down.
- 2 oz blanco or reposado tequila
- 6 oz fresh grapefruit soda (regular or diet)
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- Salt (optional)
Rim the glass with salt if desired. Fill the glass with ice and add the tequila and lime juice. Top it off with grapefruit soda.
This is the traditional Tom Collins with tequila. Use a high quality plata or silver tequila and the best fresh lemon juice for the best Juan Collins.
- 3 parts plata or silver tequila
- 1 part lemon juice
- 1 tsp superfine sugar
- 6 parts club soda
Pour the tequila, lemon juice, and sugar into a Collins glass with ice cubes. Stir thoroughly, and top with club soda.
Sure, it’s straight out of the 70s but there’s a reason the Tequila Sunrise is still around. It taste great, it looks good in the glass, and it’s easy to mix. It was reportedly first served in the beach resorts of Cancun and Acapulco in the 1950s to tourists who brought the recipe home.
- 4 oz orange juice
- 2 oz tequila
- 1/2 oz grenadine
- Orange slice for garnish
- Maraschino cherry for garnish
Pour the tequila and the orange juice into a highball glass with ice cubes. Stir. Slowly pour the grenadine around the inside edge of the glass. It will sink and slowly rise to mix with the other ingredients naturally. Garnish with the orange slice and cherry.
A refreshing alternative if you like something a little less sweet than a traditional margarita.
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 4 tsp sugar
- 12 large fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup blanco or reposado tequila
- 1/4 cup club soda
In a highball glass, mix lime juice, sugar, and mint. Mash mint leaves with the back of a spoon until the sugar dissolves. Fill the glass with ice. Add tequila and club soda; stir to blend.
Be sure to have plenty of fresh juicy limes handy on Cinco de Mayo, a must.
This drink combines tequila with Mexico’s other famous contribution to cocktail hour, Kahlua or coffee liqueur.
- 2 oz tequila
- 1 oz Kahlua or coffee liqueur
Pour the tequila and Kahlua into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes. Stir well.
Not a margarita person? Try one of these popular Mexican beers at your Cinco de Mayo party.
Bohemia: This Mexican beer is made in the Czech pilsner style, so it’s hoppy and dry with a hint of malt.
Carta Blanca: This golden beer is brewed in the Mexican lager tradition, is lightly carbonated, and has a clean, crisp aftertaste with a hint of sweetness.
Corona: One of the most well-known Mexican beers, Corona is a typical light lager that’s slightly sweet with a hint of hops.
Dos Equis Amber: This light lager is pale yellow with a quickly dissipating head that opens to aromas of grain and corn.
Negra Modelo: This thick, dark Mexican ale is brewed in the Vienna style and is prized for its coppery color, hearty body, and toffeelike aftertaste.
SOL: This Mexican beer is dark gold and crystal clear, with minimal carbonation, a hint of hops, and a slightly bitter finish.
Pacifico Clara: This pale gold Mexican lager carries flavor notes of corn and yeast with a citrusy, grassy, dry aftertaste.
Tecate: Pale yellow and perfectly clear, this Mexican beer is a light, bright lager with a smooth body, clean aroma, and crisp aftertaste.