The 5th of May is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over the French at the Battle of Pueblo on May 5th, 1862. This day is observed in Mexico, and has become widely popular in the US as a day to celebrate Mexican- American culture. And here are some fun facts:
- It is NOT Mexican Independent Day, which takes place on September 16th. You’ve got two chances to celebrate important historical dates with our Southern neighbor.
- Fiesta Broadway in Los Angeles is the biggest Cinco celebration in the world. The first Fiesta Broadway took place in 1990, with over half a million people in attendance.
- Americans consume over 81 million avocados on Cinco de Mayo, and up to 4.25 BILLION avocados in the year 2015. Presumably, starting next year, these avocados will have to be hurled over The Wall, which may actually become a method for producing guacamole.
- US also spent more than $2.9 billion on margaritas each year and consumes twice as much Tequila as Mexico. To put that in perspective, that’s 29 times as much as we paid Mexico for Arizona and New Mexico.
Which leads us to our favorite subject: libations.
Tequila is distilled from the blue agave plant specifically made in Jalisco, Mexico. The Blanco (white/ silver) is obtained without additional aging process, a simple and pure form of the spirit. The Reposado (rested) is barrel aged in oak for 8 months adding additional flavor complexity and mellowing out some of the spirit’s rouger edges, while Añejo (aged) stays in the barrel for 18 months or more. Tequila is meant to be sipped, and not as a shot w/ a wedged lime as your chaser (as entertaining as that might be). High end tequila is sold and sipped just as a single-malt scotch might be in many restaurants across the country. [Check out our partner Geronimo Bar and Grill, featuring the largest selection of tequila (and some tasty Mescal) on the east coast]
The best-known tequila cocktail, of course, is the classic Margarita, invented by Carlos “Danny” Herrera in 1938. He created the drink for Marjorie King, a customer who happens to be allergic to many spirits, but (thankfully for all of us) not tequila. The Original Margarita is as simple as it is delicious, calling for:
- 1 part tequila (blanco)
- ½ part Cointreau
- ½ part freshly squeezed lime juice
The classics are wonderful, but why not try something new? Here are a couple of our favorites that you must try over the weekend with your friends:
- 2 blackberries
- 3 basil leaves
- 1 ½ oz Tequila Blanco
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 agave nectar
- Muddle blackberries & basil in shaker
- Add remaining ingredients and fill with ice
- Shake well and strain into martini glass
- Garnish with blackberry & basil leaf
- Sip. You may have to return to step 1 sooner than you think
It’s like juicing, but infinitely cooler.
- 2 oz tequila blanco
- 1 oz lime juice
- ¾ oz agave nectar
- ½ oz ginger-kale juice
- salt for rimming the glass
Fill shaker with ice and pour all the ingredients. Shake well, and pour over ice into salt rimmed glass. (homemade ginger- kale juice should be 1 part kale, and 2 parts ginger)
Mezcal is a lesser known, and somewhat misunderstood (no worms in the good stuff!), distilled spirit from Mexico. Tequila can only be made from blue agave and most of them are produced from Jalisco, Mexico. Mezcal, on the other hand, are made with 30 different varieties of agave (most notably Agave Espadin), and produced in other states of Mexico such as Oaxaca, Durango, and Guerrerro. Mezcal carries a “peaty” note akin to Scotch, thanks to the processing of the agave that infuses it with smoke. Many also say that it carries a complex tropical tone such as bananas and pineapples, which paired with it’s smoky tone lends itself to creating fascinating cocktails. [The smokiness from the Mezcal pairs beautifully well to pork dishes such as the Cochinita Pibil or Pork Adobado that you’d find at our partner MXDC]
Here are a few cocktails that should entice you with a taste of mescal over the weekend:
- ¾ oz Mezcal
- ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- ¾ oz Luxardo maraschino
- ¾ oz Green Chartreuse
- 1 small slice of serrano pepper
- Add mescal, lime juice, maraschino, Chartreuse, and serrano pepper to cocktail shaker. Fill 2/3 full with ice and shake vigorously until outside of the shaker begins to frost.
- Double strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with pepper slice and serve.
A great party cocktail you can make in batches, if you’ve already got the BBQ lit up
- 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1” slices
- 1 jalapeño, sliced
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- 1 ½ cups mescal
- ¾ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ cup agave syrup
- Grill the pineapple until charred on both sides (about 4 minutes), remove from pan or grill and let cool completely.
- Place grilled pineapple, jalapeno, and cilantro and into a 2qt pitcher and using a wooden spoon, crush fruit and herbs until broken down. Fill with ice, and then add mescal, lime juice, and syrup. Stir well and pour into glasses filled with ice.
- Sit back on your patio chair and bask in the sun
We hope you enjoy these cocktails as much as we did this weekend.