Cinco de Mayo is almost here — known as the day U.S. residents celebrate Mexican culture with dancing, eating and especially drinking. But it’s not all about revelry. May 5 marks the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in 1862, during which Mexican troops were outnumbered three to one by Napoleon-led French troops and yet still came through with the victory. It’s a little-known fact that outside of the state of Puebla, the day is virtually ignored in Mexico,. Too bad for them! The day is marked with events all over the U.S., especially bars and restaurants, which can tap into the south of the border appeal and offer signature cocktails like Margaritas and other tequila-based drinks or Mexican beer alongside Mexican cuisine. Read on for tips on successful Cinco de Mayo promotions and recipes to try out at your venue.
Celebrate with Baja Sharkeez, locations in Southern California
The fifth of May is Baja Sharkeez busiest holiday of the year as patrons flock to the Baja/Mexican-themed restaurant/nightclub venues to celebrate. This year, the seven Baja Sharkeez locations will feature a taco-eating contest, a “How Far Would You Go for Cash” contest with prizes and pesos, a Mucho Grande Happy Hour with two-for-one drink specials from 2-5:30 p.m. and a Sexiest Senorita Salsa Dance contest. Additionally, groups of seven or more can book a happy hour party from 2-7 p.m. www.sharkeez.net.
Latin-inspired Fun at Nacional 27, Chicago
For just $27, Cinco celebrants can head over to Latin-themed restaurant/salsa club Nacional 27 for a salute to Mexican culture. The party package includes Margaritas, Sangria and Corona alongside paella, tapas and Latin snacks. Additionally, a live percussionist will be on hand to perform. After 9 p.m., drinks will be $5 each. www.n27chicago.com.
Fiesta in Hollywood at Happy Ending Bar and Restaurant, Hollywood, Calif.
The Happy Ending Bar and Restaurant will host a parking lot party for Cinco de Mayo. The parking lot will be shut down and transformed into a fiesta, with outdoor bars, beer trucks, music by DJ Mariachi. Additionally, there will be other live bands, drink specials, games and giveaways. The event runs from 5 p.m.-2 a.m. www.thehappyendingbar.com.
Bike Nite Goes Loco at Quaker Steak & Lube, Greenville, S.C.
Patrons in Greenville, S.C., can celebrate Cinco de Mayo Quaker Steak & Lube style with the restaurant’s weekly Bike Nite. The evening will feature live music from South Bound Traxx, and celebrators can enjoy buckets of Corona for $10. www.quakersteakandlube.com/Greenville_SC.
Cinco Ways to Celebrate from Dos Equis and Tecate
Dos Equis and Tecate present their “Cinco Ways to Celebrate” Cinco de Mayo/spring on-premise program. Five creative themes elevate the party experience, including: incorporating Musica, creating an Outdoor Cantina, dressing up to increase the Mysterioso, hosting a Fiesta de Luna (after-party) and serving The Great Feast, pairing Dos Equis and Tecate with different foods. Dos Equis will provide a range of POS materials, including three-dimensional table tents, coasters, viewfinders and posters. Additionally, Dos Equis will supply Cinco celebratory drums, Talavera Cinco shakers, branded compass key chains and necklaces. In select markets, venues can host a Lost Art of Cinco “flash” tour, which will bring to life an Aztec goddess of Cinco along with her dancers and drummers. www.dosequis.com. www.cervezatecate.com.
Feliz Cinco de Cabo from Cabo Wabo Tequila
Cabo Wabo Tequila founder and Van Halen rocker Sammy Hagar presents his party tips for a successful Cinco de Mayo, which can be used at any bar or restaurant. Have guests start the night off with a shot of Cabo Wabo Blanco and start a game of Michelada Beer Pong (beer with lime juice), all while playing Hagar’s “Mas Tequila” in the background. The décor should be authentically Mexican, with a red, white and green theme and can even include a piñata filled with candied lime and peppers — after that, they’ll be reaching for an ice cold Margarita. Put a spin on the classic Margarita with the recipes below, all courtesy of Cabo Wabo Tequila. www.cabowabo.com.
Cinco de Cabo Modern Classic Cocktails
Created by Mixologist Alex Straus.
2 ounces Cabo Wabo Blanco
3 dashes of hot sauce
2 small slices of serrano pepper
1 ounce fresh orange juice
½ ounce agave nectar
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
¼ ounce orange Curacao
1 orange twist
Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
1 ½ ounces Cabo Wabo Blanco
1 ounce pomegranate juice
½ ounce framboise liqueur
¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce agave nectar
3 ounces soda water
Lemon twist (garnish)
Place Cabo Wabo, 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.
Creative Cocktails, from Gran Gala Triple Orange Liqueur and Corazón Tequila
This year, Gran Gala Triple Orange Liqueur and Corazón Tequila teamed up to give the typical tequila-based Cinco de Mayo cocktails a facelift. Try these out on your menu this year. ¡Salud! www.geminispiritswine.com.
Gran Gala Tequila Cooler
½ ounce lime juice
1 ½ Tbsp. fresh cilantro
2 ounces Corazón Blanco Tequila
1 ounce Gran Gala Triple Orange Liqueur
Orange, for garnish
Muddle lime juice with cilantro. Stir with ice and strain into an ice-filled glass. Top with Pellegrino and garnish with an orange.
½ ounce Gran Gala Triple Orange Liqueur
2 ounces Corazón Blanco Tequila
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce agave nectar (or simple syrup)
Shake together with ice and strain into a Margarita glass. Optional: rub the cut side of a lime on the glass rim and dip it into salt; and add a lime wedge to the rim of the glass as a garnish.
Tequila Time with Tequila Corrido
New on the market is Tequila Corrido, and to celebrate the day, the brand concocted cocktail and food recipes using the 100 percent blue agave spirit. See how they work on your menu May 5 and throughout the summer. www.tequilacorrido.com.
Corrido Hangoverita (For the day after Cinco de Mayo)
2 ounces Corrido Cristalino (Blanco)
Juice of 1 lime
4 ounces vegetable juice
Dash Mexican hot sauce
Lime wedge or celery stick for garnish
Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into an ice-filled tall glass. Garnish with lime wedge or celery stick.
1 ½ ounces Corrido Cristalino (Blanco)
4 rip Hass avocados, peeled and seeded
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 ripe, medium Roma tomato, seeded and diced
½ medium sweet white onion, diced
½ medium red onion, diced
2 Serrano chilies, seeded and minced
1/6 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Sea salt and white pepper, to taste
Cut avocado in large chunks and mash coarsely in large bowl with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and blend gently. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serves six.
Party with PaQuí
We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out the most popular cocktail on Cinco de Mayo: the Margarita. The folks at PaQuí Tequila put together their list of the top 10 tequila cocktails, with the Marg taking the top slot. Here’s the list in full:
1. Margarita (traditional)
2. Frozen Margarita
3. Cadillac Margarita
4. Tequila Sunrise
5. Tequila Sour
7. Bloody Maria
9. Texas Tea
10. Mexican Coffee
As for how to make the popular cocktails, PaQuí provided recipes. Below are their suggestions for two of the top five drinks. www.paquitequila.com.
1 ½ ounces PaQuí Silvera tequila
½ ounce Triple Sec
Dash of lemon or lime juice
3 ounces sour mix
Lime wedge for garnish
Salt or sugar to rim the glass (optional)
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. If desired, salt the rim of a chilled Margarita glass. Pour contents, with ice, into the Margarita glass and garnish with the lime wedge.
4 ounces orange juice
2 ounces PaQuí Silvera tequila
½ ounce grenadine
Orange slice for garnish
Maraschino cherry for garnish
Pour PaQuí tequila and the orange juice into a highball glass with ice cubes and stir. Slowly pour the grenadine around the inside edge of the glass — it will sink and slowly rise to mix with the other ingredients naturally. Garnish with the orange slice and cherry.