What you need to spice up your day with these Cinco de Mayo favorites taken from CNN’s Eatocracy:
1. Guacamole is required
“Nothing sets up your fiesta for success like a big bowl of homemade guacamole. Don’t be ‘culinarily blasphemous’ with pre-packaged purées and spice mixes when you can spend a few extra minutes doing guac right.
Once your guests taste your recipe, you will undoubtedly have the Cinco de Mayo respect of all your fiesta patrons. The key to guacamole is starting with fresh, ripe ingredients: Haas avocados, cilantro, onion, jalapeño, tomato and a bit of salt for seasoning.
The secret to perfect guacamole is to start by making a paste with jalapeño, onion and cilantro in a molcajete - a lava-rock mortar found in Mexico. You can purchase one at an upscale kitchenware stores or use a traditional mortar and pestle to approximate the paste.
Once you try our recipe, you’ll be hooked - no lime juice necessary. I frequently make it for parties and it’s always the first appetizer to go.
2. Margaritas, of course
“Equally as important as guacamole on Cinco de Mayo is the margarita. If you’ve never made one, don’t be afraid! They are among the simplest drinks to make, but only if you pay attention. The keys to the perfect margarita are quality, balance and shaking.
If you use great ingredients, you will get a great margarita. Simply take two parts tequila to one part fresh lime juice and one part orange liqueur (Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec). I’d recommend using a 100% blue agave, silver tequila like 1800, Herradura or Tres Generaciones. Make sure you the lime juice is fresh and you’re all set.
To achieve balance, measure your ingredients. Just as a chef follows a recipe, a great bartender does the same. Use a jigger (or tablespoon if you don’t have one) and take your time.
For Cinco de Mayo and future parties, I’d recommend making a pitcher of them at a time. It will save you time to enjoy your own party and will keep your thirsty guests well-hydrated.
Once your ingredients are measured, add ice and shake it like you mean it. These viscous ingredients are begging to be combined, but it takes commitment to make it happen. Shake for about 30 seconds (yes 30 seconds!), pour into a glass rimmed with kosher salt, garnish with lime and enjoy.”
3. Try a Michelada
“Nothing beats a cold one, and a Michelada takes it to the next level. Few things are more Mexican than beer, and Mexico has some great ones: Corona, Pacifico, Negra Modelo and Tecate to name a few.
While beer is great on its own, a Michelada, a beer cocktail famous in Mexico and gaining popularity worldwide, is a great way to spice it up. It’s the perfect antidote for a warm day.
There are many variations of the Michelada, but the simplest combines Cholula or Tabasco, lime juice, and Worcestershire sauce.
Pour equal amounts of these ingredients into a tall, salt-rimmed glass, top with ice, your favorite beer and serve. You can play with the recipe, adjusting for spice and flavors by adding different juices.
At Rosa Mexicano we will be offering our collection of Micheladas for Cinco de Mayo, including a version that features beet juice - which our guests love.”
4. Be Old Fashioned
“Tequila is one of the most versatile spirits and obviously the most appropriate for celebrating Cinco de Mayo. But, if you’re looking for a more sophisticated celebration, try a variation on one of the most famous cocktails around, the Old Fashioned.
Though most people know an Old Fashioned as being made from whiskey (often bourbon or rye), it can in fact be made from any spirit. The requirements for an Old Fashioned (in the classic sense) are: spirit of any kind, bitters, a little sugar (or other sweetener) and a twist of citrus.
My variation is fantastic and simple. Start with two dashes of Angostura bitters, making sure to dash assertively. A dash is not a drop - so fully upturn the bitters bottle! Add two ounces of Tanteo cocoa-infused tequila, and only then add the ice. This will help you make sure the drink isn’t too diluted – an Old Fashioned should be strong.
Stir for only about 5 seconds to chill everything down, top with ice if necessary, then garnish with a large orange twist. You will be hooked!”
5. Mix it Up with Mezcal
“Mezcal is tequila’s bold older brother. It’s made from agave as well, but cooked to impart a smoky flavor, even more aggressive than Scotch.
Mezcal is gaining popularity in the U.S. and is definitely worth a try. You can find Mezcals at high-end liquor stores, some made with infusions and there’s even one variety, Pechuga, that includes chicken breast in the mash during the fermentation process.
The best way to enjoy Mezcal is to substitute it for tequila in a margarita, drink it neat or on the rocks. It’s a really unique, interesting and delicious spirit whose popularity is on the rise.”
How do you plan to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Be sure to share your fiesta details in the comments.