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What to Drink on Cinco de Mayo: Play with Tequila!

What is tequila?

Tequila is a spirit made from the agave plant. Who doesn’t recognize the name Jose Cuervo? Countless songs have been written about this drink – and rightly so. Tequila can go down very smoothly but it does leave its mark after you’ve had several shots.

Based on Mexican law, only spirits made in Jalisco and limited regions in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas are allowed to be labeled tequila. Of course, one would still find tequila brands made from other parts of the world, but the most discerning will only touch authentic tequila.

Arguably, the best way to enjoy tequila is to take some salt, down a shot, and chase it with lime. People have been known to do away with the salt and lime, though, especially well into the night. ;)

Tequila drinks

Flaming Flag of Mexico

Cinco de Mayo is all about celebrating and having fun. And what better way to do both by creating a drink that has the same colors as the flag of Mexico? The colors of the Mexican flag are green, white, and red; and with a little playing around with the ingredients, you can easily create the “bandera”, which is the Spanish word for flag. To add to the fun, this drink can be set aflame! How to make the bandera? Here’s a simple recipe.


  • 1 cup of tequila
  • the juice of 2 1/2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Green seedless grapes
  • Banana

Dissolve the sugar into the lime juice and then mix with the tequila. Pour over ice and garnish with a cherry, a grape and a slice of banana.


Legend has it that this classic drink was named after Marguerite Hemery who lived in the Rio Grande Valley in the early-mid 1900s. She was supposedly a regular at a restaurant called Los Dos Republicas and was close friends with the owner. As it sometimes goes with regulars, she got a special drink made for her by the restaurant’s bartender. The resulting drink: Margarita.

That is only one of the many stories that surround the creation of this refreshing drink. A margarita may be called by a lady’s drink by some people, but you and I know very well that it can pack a punch, especially when drunk by the pitcher!

On Cinco de Mayo, make sure that you have an ample supply of classic margaritas – you can’t go wrong with that. However, margaritas come in all sorts of flavors these days, many of which are fruit-based. For margaritas with a kick, try Guava Jalapeno Margarita. If it’s sweetness that you’re looking for, then Strawberry Margaritas is what you ought to make.

Other margarita variations that you might like:

Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Sunrise
The Eagles hit big time with their song Tequila Sunrise, and the same can be said of the cocktail. Tequila Sunrise was first served by Gene Sulit either in the 1930s or 1940s at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. The rest, as they say, is history. This cocktail is definitely something that you would see on almost any bar list. The classic recipe calls for tequila, creme de cassis, lime juice, and soda water. Today, though, you will probably be served a cocktail with tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup instead.

Here are some recipes – why not try them all? Three different variations = three times the fun!

Tequila for dessert

Almond Cupcakes with Blueberry Tequila FillingTequila is definitely one of the most popular spirits when it comes to parties, but it can also be used to satisfy those cravings for something sweet. Have you ever thought of making cupcakes with a dash of tequila? No? Well here is something that you will want to try: Almond Cupcakes with Blueberry Tequila Filling. It only uses about a teaspoon of tequila, so no worries about the teetotalers in your group. And since everyone loves cupcakes, you should make a huge batch as I am betting the cupcakes will go really fast.

Tequila Bars are another tequila-inspired dessert. The tequila gives this dessert enough kick while the combination of lime juice and condensed milk and sugar makes for a very interesting flavor.

Now popcorn isn’t really dessert, but let’s just throw this recipe in the mix anyway: Chile Lime Tequila Popcorn. If you’re not up for celebrating big time on the 5th, maybe you can put on “The Mexican” and whip up some popcorn!

Tequila-enhanced dishes

Tequila-Lime-ChickenIf you are not satisfied with tequila shots, margaritas, and Tequila Sunrise – not to mention those yummy desserts with tequila – then here are a few more things you can do with tequila.

Use tequila in your chicken marinade, and you’ll have wonderfully flavored meat! This Tequila Lime Chicken recipe requires overnight refrigeration so make sure you prepare it the day before. Trust me though – it is worth the wait!

If it’s red meat you’re yearning for, then some Cilantro-Tequila Marinated and Grilled Flank Steak will do the trick. Seafood lovers will not be able to resist this Chipotle Tequila Lime Shrimp And Fried Rice Recipe while those who want to stick to salad can have some Cucumber-Tomato-Avocado Salad with Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette.

I know a lot of people who just might stop at the “drinks” section of this post, but hey, if you love tequila that much, it would be a waste not to use it on “real” food! Have a blast on Cinco de Mayo, everyone. And remember, don’t drink (or eat in some cases) and drive!

Photo credits: Drunken Monkey, TheCulinaryGeek
Mexican Flag Recipe Source: Gear Live

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