Cinco de Mayo signifies an important day in history. However, it’s not Mexican Independence Day (that day is celebrated on September 16th). This holiday occurred in 1862. On that day, the Mexican Army won a battle in Puebla against the French during the Franco-Mexican war; an unlikely outcome, as the French were not only better equipped than the Mexicans, they also outmanned them 2-to-1. The United States also had an interest in this little battle, as there was concern that the French might use Mexico as a base to assist the Confederate Army (the American Civil War had just begun).
CELEBRATING CINCO DE MAYO
Today, the holiday is celebrated in parts of Mexico, and throughout the U.S., particularly in cities with large Latino populations. Festivities include parades, carnivals, and fiestas featuring Mexican food, its music, and of course, one of our favorite exports: tequila.
Although there are many bartenders these days who use tequila in cocktails in wonderful, surprising ways, it’s best to keep things simple and classic on this day. Below you’ll find five tequilas showcasing the many styles of this category. We also offer you a suggested serving for each one. ¡Salud!
CINCO TEQUILAS, CINCO TEQUILA COCKTAILS
You can’t go wrong with a classic Margarita. We recommend a blanco tequila. Read more on this drink, in our ode to the Queen of Sour Cocktails.
– 1 ½ oz blanco tequila
– ¾ oz freshly-squeezed lime juice
– ½ oz Cointreau
– 1 tsp. Agave syrup
Pour all ingredients in to a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled, salt-rimmed glass. You can serve either on the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass or similar tumbler, or served up in a coupe or cocktail glass.
Pro tip: DON’T use the ice your refrigerator makes. Using larger ice cubes will ensure your Margarita isn’t a watery mess. Float a ¼-½ oz mezcal such as Del Maguey Vida to add another dimension.
El Tesoro Platinum is the Los Altos (aka Highlands) benchmark. It is bright and vivid with a myriad of flavors including lemongrass, sweet agave and mint.
For reposado tequilas, try using in a Paloma cocktail.
PALOMA COCKTAIL RECIPE
– 3 oz. blanco tequila
– 3 oz. grapefruit soda (like Jarritos, Ting, or Squirt)
– ½ oz lime juice
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled Highball or Collins glass. Stir gently. Add a wedge of grapefruit to glass.
Notes: We recommend you rim the glass with Tajín seasoning or salt prior to building your drink. Or you can just add pinch of salt/seasoning directly into the glass after you prepare the drink. Important: if you use fresh grapefruit juice instead of grapefruit soda, make sure to add a touch of sweetner (½ tsp agave syrup or simple syrup) and top with seltzer/club soda.
There’s a little smoky quality to this that the Jack Daniel’s barrels bring along with a bit of barrel spices, but not too much that it overwhelms the agave flavors.
TEQUILA OLD FASHIONED RECIPE:
– 2 ounces añejo tequila
– 1 sugar cube (1 tsp simple syrup or agave syrup can be substituted)
– A few dashes of bitters (Angostura will do nicely)
– Splash of water or seltzer
Add sugar cube (or syrup) to the glass. Dash bitters onto the cube and muddle. Add a splash of water or seltzer. Pour añejo tequila into the glass.Add large ice cubes to the glass. Stir to chill. Garnish with an orange peel.
Don Julio 1942 is technically an añejo, as it is aged for only 2 1/2 years in used American oak barrels, though it misses the extra añejo qualification by only 6 months. It delivers flavors of butterscotch, cinnamon and Mexican chocolate. Perfect for an Old Fashioned.
EXTRA AÑEJO TEQUILA
Serve extra neat or on the rocks. Cocktail not required.
A complex tequila with notes of coffee, caramel, vanilla and oak, while retaining the agave flavors, which make appearances throughout your tasting. One to sip and savor.
It is expected that Cristalino tequila will be an official category with the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) sometime in 2018. While parameters aren’t yet defined, you can think of them as aged tequilas which are then filtered to remove the color. We recommend that you serve them up (chilled with ice, then strained into glass) with a Michelada sidecar.
TIPS FOR THE PERFECT MICHELADA
We like to keep our Micheladas somewhat basic using a salt-rimmed glass of Mexican Lager, several dashes of hot sauce and the juice of half a lime. If you have it on hand, though, add a few dashes of Maggi seasoning or Worcestershire sauce to add some depth. Some like to use Clamato, but know that it can be overpowering. If you use, do so judiciously.
For Ultra, Herradura used añejo and extra añejo tequilas. The color was removed using a proprietary filtering system. The palate provides flavors of vanilla and caramel along with ripe agave and dried fruit. A surprising and satisfying experience!