Sip on This: Cinco de Mayo Cocktails

How many of us celebrate Cinco de Mayo without even knowing the significance? *raises guilty hand*  Well, you’re at the right place!

On May 5, 1862, a group of 4,500 Mexican soldiers won a hard fought battle over 8,000 well-equipped French soldiers in Puebla, Mexico. This victory helped Mexico establish a sense of national patriotism and spirit.  Celebrations on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) commemorate this day in Mexican history.

In Mexico, most of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations occur in Puebla. There are large parades where people dress up as Mexican and French soldiers. Sometimes there’s a reenactment of the Mexico’s victory over the French troops.  How festive!

In the U.S., while it’s a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture, we tend to use Cinco de Mayo as a reason to dress up and drink heavily (as if we need a reason…ha!).

Here are 5 cocktails to order during your Cinco de Mayo bar crawls:

1) Michelada – A “beertail”, this drink isn’t for the faint of heart.  It’s spicy so drink with caution.


  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 limes, cut into wedges
  • 4 (12-ounce) bottles beer
  • Hot sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce


Combine the salt and chili powder in a small bowl and then transfer to a flat plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the beer mug and dip it into the chili-salt to coat the rim. Squeeze the juice of 4 lime wedges into the mug. Add a lime wedge to the mug and fill with ice. Add 1 bottle of beer, a dash of hot sauce and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.



2) Paloma – This cocktail isn’t too sweet but the grapefruit juice makes it a nice refreshing drink.


  • 2 oz tequila (blanco or reposado)
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 4 oz grapefruit juice or soda
  • 1 pinch of salt


Mix the tequila, lime juice and salt and then fill with grapefruit juice. Garnish with a lime wedge and pour over a tall glass.


3) Tequila Sunset – A sweet but potent drink…and it actually resembles a sunset!


  • 1 ½ oz blanco tequila
  • 1 oz pomegranate juice
  • ½ oz framboise (raspberry) liqueur
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz agave nectar
  • 3 oz soda water
  • Lemon twist (garnish)


Place tequila, lemon juice, and agave nectar in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass. Stir in soda water, and top with framboise and pomegranate. Mix into drink and serve with a lemon twist.

Tequila Sunset

4) Margarita – Margaritas are classic and no Cinco de Mayo is complete without one.


  • Salt, for rimming the glass (optional)
  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila (blanco)
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau


Moisten the rim of a rocks glass with a dampened paper towel, then dip in salt.  Fill the glass with ice; add tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau; and stir a few times until chilled. Serve immediately.


5) Cucaracha – While this means cockroach in Spanish (gross), the drink is actually quite delicious.


  • 2 oz. Tequila
  • 1 oz. Coffee Liqueur


Pour tequila and coffee liqueur into an old-fashioned glass. Flame the drink and use a straw to drink it.  If you don’t want to add the flame, you can mix and serve over ice.




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