If your plans for Cinco de Mayo involve a fake mustache this article is probably not for you. However, if you’re looking for an excuse to honor Mexico with some tasty riffs on the nation’s classics, read on.
Cinco de Mayo celebrates the 1862 victory of General Ignacio Zaragoza and the Mexican Army over occupying French troops at the Battle of Puebla. (An event that should not be confused with Mexican Independence Day which falls on September 16.)
In Puebla, the battle is commemorated with a raucous carnival style street party–around Mardi Gras time, not on May 5. On Cinco de Mayo, itself, the festivities are a bit more subdued and really limited to a few spots in Mexico.
However, in America, the date has been appropriated and bastardized into sloppy binge of margaritas and tequila. Please avoid this practice. However, if you do feel like honoring Mexico, here are a few of the nation’s most popular beverages.
The Michelada is everywhere in Mexico. And, everywhere in Mexico there is a different opinion on how the drink should be made. There is consensus that the Michelada is made with a flavorful mix of spice, savory, and citrus combined with beer and served on the rocks.
The version featured here is a common, tomato juice based recipe akin to a beer based Bloody Mary.
- Rim a pint or pilsener glass (or plastic cup) with tajín.
- Mix the tomato juice, lime juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and celery salt in a glass.
- Add ice cubes to 1/4 inch below the rim.
- Top off with beer and garnish with lime.
- Continue to freshen up the glass with the remaining beer as you drink.
Charles H. Baker found this drink (originally called “Mexican Firing Squad”) at the La Cucaracha Bar in Mexico City during his travels in the 1930s. If you’re craving tequila, but want something other than a Margarita, then this is an easy fix.
- Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin and shake briskly without ice.
- Then, pour contents into an ice-filled glass.
- Serve with a lime wheel.
This classic cocktail is the perfect go-to for the beach house because you can do all of your work ahead of time and keep the bottles on ice or in the fridge. Just crack it open and it’s ready to drink from the bottle. If you’re feeling inspired, you can rim a glass with chili, salt, and lime to spice it up a bit.
- Open up the bottle of Squirt, and drink a swig, then pour the other ingredients into the bottle. If you have a crown capper, you can cap it and keep it chilled to serve later.
- If you must, you can mix the ingredients in a Collins glass and add ice.
Spanish for “fresh waters,” agua fresca is ubiquitous in Mexico and much of Central America. Commonly sold by street vendors, aqua fresca is a mix of pureed fruit, flowers, or seeds mixed with a little bit of sweetener (if needed), citrus, and water. The result is delicious.
Below is a very basic recipe for a cucumber variety, but go wild experimenting. Hibiscus and tamarind are popular varieties for those taking their game to the next level. otherwise, start by subbing in different fruits.
- Combine ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.
- Strain into a large jar and refrigerate until service.