Five Great Drinks to Have on Cinco De Mayo


Cinco De Mayo is usually mistaken for a celebration of Mexican Independence. It commemorates the day Mexicans defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. According to Indiana History, this Mexican holiday has been commercialized and is a celebration usually emphasizing the consumption of margaritas, Mexican food, and tequilas. Therefore, as we prepare to celebrate this holiday, here is a list of five great drinks to have on Cinco De Mayo.

1. Oaxaca Old-Fashioned

This drink was invented in 2007 at a bar, Death & Co, in Manhattan. According to Punch, the creator, Phil Ward, was the bartender at the time, and he does not remember the guest for whom he made the cocktail. The bar owner, David Kaplan recalls that Ward never tweaked drinks, but for some reason, he still preferred using mezcal to make cocktails. Mezcal is a clear or golden distilled alcoholic beverage made from agave cooked inside earthen pits lined with lava rocks and filled with charcoal and wood. It is then distilled in clay pots. Ward had only used mezcal in two other drinks – Cinder and Daiquiri – before finally discovering Oaxaca Old-Fashioned. However, the creation would not have been possible without Kaplan providing Los Amantes Joven mezcal. The bar owner even came up with the name “Oaxaca” explaining that he had always wanted an excuse to use the name.

Upon its invention, the cocktail quickly became popular such that when Ward finally opened his own bar, Mayahuel, in East Village in 2009, customers adopted the drink as their favorite. You can make your own Oaxaca Old-Fashioned at home with 1 ½ ounce of reposado tequila, two dashes of Angostura bitters, ½ ounce of mezcal, a spoon of agave syrup, and a flamed orange twist for garnishing. Combine the mezcal, Angostura bitters, reposado tequila, and syrup in a rocks glass and stir. Add ice cubes and garnish with the orange twist. You can tweak it with whatever you prefer, some add chocolate bitters while others use kirsch. Ward noted that the key to a good Oaxaca Old-Fashioned cocktail is to use quality ingredients. He recommended El Tesoro for the reposado tequila and Del Maguey San Luis del Rio for the mezcal. The creator added that skipping the flamed orange twist would erode the favor of the drink.

2. Paloma

Texas Monthly published that one writer David Wondrich regarded Paloma as the National drink of Mexico and is deemed Mexico’s favorite cocktail. While some cocktails are loved for their complexity, Paloma is a favorite due to its simplicity, it only comprises only three ingredients at most: tequila, grapefruit soda, and maybe some lime juice. In Mexico, grapefruit-flavored soda such as Jarritos is preferred, while in America, Squirt is most preferred. To make a glass of Paloma, mix 50 ml of tequila, 50 ml of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, 15 ml of agave nectar, and 15 ml of lime juice. Mix these four ingredients in a shaker with some ice pour the contents into a glass filled with ice cubes, then top up with grapefruit soda and garnish with a slice of lime or grapefruit. However, adding an overly sweet soda can ruin the taste, so be cautious when picking the soda.

3. Margarita

According to Thrillist, the margarita seems to always be the drink of choice for Americans celebrating Cinco De Mayo. It also is beloved for its simplicity since it is only a mixture of tequila, salt, orange liqueur, and lime. The history of its invention is murky, with many theories having been floated around to explain its creation. For instance, it is believed that the margarita was invented in 1938 by Carlos Herrera, who owned a restaurant in Tijuana. Herrera chanced to have a picky customer who claimed to be allergic to all spirits apart from tequila, so Herrera used the usual ingredients but decided to sweeten it a bit with some orange liqueur, and the margarita was born. Whatever the story is behind its invention, the fact remains that the different versions all have the same main ingredients. All you need is 1 ½ ounce of tequila, an ounce of orange-flavored liqueur, ½ ounce of lime juice, a cup of ice, a lime wheel, and a tablespoon of kosher salt. Sprinkle salt on a plate and coat the wet rim of a cocktail glass with the salt. In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine the tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice then pour the drink into the salt-rimmed cocktail glass, and garnish with the lime wheel.

4. Michelada

Seeing that Cinco De Mayo commemorates the day the Mexicans defeated the French, sipping Michelada is the perfect way to celebrate it. Legend has it that Michelada originated during the Mexican revolution when General Don Augusto Michel would try to uplift the spirits of his soldiers at a local cantina in San Luis Potosi. He would order beer and spice it up with hot sauce and add lime juice. Thus, the bar owner named the drink after Michel. The Nibble cotes it as the drink to have on Cinco De Mayo or any other day you crave a beer cocktail. You will need 6 ounces of Mexican beer, a slice of cucumber, 2 fresh lime wedges, a tablespoon of chipotle source, and chipotle rimming salt. Wet the rim of a glass with some lime juice and coat the rim with chipotle salt. Pour the remaining lime juice into the glass, add the lime wedges, and the chipotle sauce, and stir in with the ice. Lastly, pour the beer and mix gently before garnishing it with a cucumber slice.

5. Mezcal Pineapple Sour

It is allegedly adopted from a recipe, the “Mezcalero” by Jason E. Clapham, and some say it is a version of the traditional Pisco Sour. To make it, you need 1 ½ ounce of mezcal, 2 ounces of fresh pineapple juice, ½ tablespoon of agave syrup, an ounce of lime juice, one egg white, a cup of ice, aromatic bitters, and an edible flower. Combine the egg white, mezcal, agave syrup, lime juice, and the ice in a cocktail shaker, then shake it until it foams. Add the ice and shake again until the mixture is chilled. Pour the mixture into a glass, add three drops of aromatic bitters and garnish with the edible flower. If you are interested in making the drink more appealing, you can use a toothpick to create a design with aromatic bitters.

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