Hats Off to National Hispanic Heritage Month

Next week begins National Hispanic Heritage Month, held Sept. 15-Oct. 15 every year since 1988. The month provides the opportunity to recognize the positive contributions of Hispanic Americans and also uncover and celebrate how the Hispanic culture has become part of the U.S. culture, from food to music to family.

The timing of National Hispanic Heritage Month incorporates the independence of many Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua declared independence Sept. 15, 1821, while Mexico’s Independence Day is Sept. 16 and Chile’s is Sept. 18. Additionally, Columbus Day/Día de la Raza takes place Oct. 12.

For a preview of the celebratory month, check out this weekend’s 7th Annual Spirits of Mexico Festival, taking place Sept. 11-12 in San Diego. The festival includes The Polished Palate’s third annual private Agave Spirits Competition as well as two public events: the Spirits of Mexico Tasting Reception & Dinner, held at Old Town Mexican Café, and the main tasting event, which features dozens of agave spirits for tasting, food, seminars from master distillers, blenders, authors and tequila aficionados and an Andalusian horse show and parade.

To celebrate the influence of Hispanic culture on the U.S. in your own bar, try out one of the festive cocktails below. Salud!

Grito de Herradura
Courtesy of Tim Laird, America’s CEO (Chief Entertainment Officer).
2 ounces Herradura Reposado tequila
4 ounces Bloody Mary mix
1 ounce jalapeño-cilantro juice, previously prepared (see below)
1 whole jalapeño
2 cocktail onions
Red pepper for garnish

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into Martini glass with one jalapeño-cilantro ice cube (see recipe below). Garnish with jalapeño, cocktail onions and red pepper.

Jalapeño-Cilantro Ice Cubes (approximately two ice trays)
24 ounces water
½ cup sliced jalapeños
Rind of ½ lemon
1 lemon, cut in quarters
¼ cup fresh cilantro
1 tsp. sea salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender until liquefied. Strain and pour into ice cube trays. Reserve 1 ounce of liquid for every cocktail you plan to make.

Honey Ginger Caipirinha
Courtesy of Junior Merino and Leblon Cachaca.
1 ½ ounces Leblon Cachaca
1 ½ ounces Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
½ ounce Alchemy Thyme Honey (2 bar spoons)
¾ fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir until honey dissolves completely. Add ice, shake and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with a crystallized ginger wheel.

Boca Rita
Courtesy of Boca Loca Cachaça.
1 ½ ounces Boca Loca Cachaça
½ ounce triple sec
1 ounce lime juice

Rub the rim of a cocktail glass with lime juice and dip in salt. Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into the glass and serve.


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