With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, Americans have another scheduled day of drinking. But, there are a lot of misconceptions about the “holiday.”
For starters, it’s not the day that Mexico celebrates its independence. That would be 16 de Septiembre (September 16). So, what is Cinco de Mayo all about?
The Fifth of May is honored in Mexico as the day that celebrates the defeat of the French army in Puebla. But, Puebla is the only state that truly celebrates it as a holiday in Mexico. Today, just like St. Patrick’s Day, us gringos have adopted it as an annual event to get our drink on.
If you’re going to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, then you might as well do it as authentic as possible. There are more delicious drinks from Mexico than just Corona or Cuervo, and here are the five best.
I guarantee that almost everyone has at least tried a margarita once. And, yes. It is an authentic Mexican drink. However, most places have created their own variations that include blended fruit, ice, and terrible bottled sour mixes. A true margarita is simply tequila, triple sec (or Cointreau), and lime juice served on the rocks. The salted rim is optional. But for the love of everything holy, do not use Cuervo Gold. Make sure the tequila used is marked 100% de agave.
This concoction is a drink made out of masa (the corn-based flour that’s used to make tamales with) mixed with piloncillo (unrefined Mexican sugar). It’s boiled, then fermented for a bit. This unique beverage is sometimes served with a scoop of lemon ice floating in it and is so low-grade alcoholic that even kids are permitted to drink it.
Many of us may just want to stick with beer on Cinco de Mayo, and believe it or not, Mexico does have a rich history of producing a number of quality beers. However, microbreweries aren’t that big in Mexico and most brews will come from either the two big companies FEMSA and Grupo Modelo. Regardless, there are plenty of options besides Corona. There’s Sol, Pacifico, Victoria, Dos Equis (Amber and Lager), and Carta Blanca. But the two that we’ll recommend are Bohemia (a complex European lager with 5.7% ABV) and Negra Modelo (a dark and malty German style lager with a 5.4%ABV).
2. La Paloma
La Paloma is the most popular tequila drink (besides straight shots) in Mexico. And, it’s a simple cocktail to make. It’s a shot of tequila, three shots of Squirt, Jarritos Toronja or another grapefruit soda and served on the rocks in a tall glass. It’s a refreshing twist on the margarita.
If you really wanna a throwdown, Raicilla will absolutely do the trick. This distilled spirit is known as Mexican moonshine. It’s made from the agave plant, like mescal and tequila, and can be difficult to come be. Raicilla is also rumored to have hallucinogenic effects, so be cautious if you can find this elusive spirit.
Raicilla has a mild flavor, so it can sipped on just by itself. But, it’s also versatile enough to be used in mixed drinks. A popular and traditional way to enjoy it is to mix it in a terra cotta cup with ice. Just use one or two measures of Raicilla, grapefruit juice, or orange juice, lime juice, and grapefruit soda. Mix and coat the rim of the cup with a little salt.
Images via Wikimedia Commons