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9 delicious drink recipes for Cinco de Mayo (that aren’t all margaritas)

Want something besides a margarita this May 5? Whip up one of these essential drinks

Holding a Cinco de Mayo drink
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Cinco de Mayo has become a global celebration. From Mexico City to Montreal, people embrace the holiday with festive Cinco de Mayo drinks in hand. And to do it right, you’ll need the appropriate cocktail.

While most Cinco de Mayo cocktails hover around tequila and other agave spirits, it doesn’t mean you have to be sipping the usual suspects like margaritas and Palomas. No, holidays require creativity and flair, and these nine drinks offer that and more. And if tequila is not your thing, try something new, like Sotol. It’s an age-old Mexican spirit that locals love and is just becoming popular north of the border.

Here are nine essential drinks to help you ring in Cinco de Mayo. ¡Salud!

Italian Rita

Italian Rita cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Martini & Rossi Fiero
  • 2 ounces Patron tequila
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce honey
  • Lime wheel

Method

  1. Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake together.
  2. Pour over ice into a rocks glass and garnish with a lime wheel.

Diablo en la Pista de Baile

Diablo Don Papa cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Don Papa Rum
  • 1/2 ounce Reposado tequila
  • 3/4 ounce guava juice
  • 1 thin disc of serrano chili
  • 1/2 ounce lime
  • 1/2 ounce agave

Method

  1. Muddle chili disc in a shaker.
  2. Pour in Don Papa, tequila, guava juice, lime, and agave.
  3. Add ice and shake.
  4. Strain into rocks glass with fresh ice.
  5. Garnish with lime wheel.

Mijenta Paloma

Mijenta Paloma cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ingredients

  • 2 parts Mijenta Blanco Tequila
  • 1 part grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 part lime juice
  • 1 part agave/cinnamon syrup
  • Top with Prosecco

Method

  1. Shake all ingredients with plenty of ice.
  2. Strain into a wine glass filled with ice and top with Prosecco.
  3. Garnish with grapefruit peel.

Oaxaca Express

Oaxaca Express cocktail
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(Created by Alex Valencia, La Contenta)

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces of Doña Vega Espadín
  • 1/2 ounce of jalapeno-infused agave nectar
  • 2 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce of freshly blended cucumber juice
  • 6 to 7 basil leaves

Method

  1. Start with basil leaves and combine all ingredients in your shaker.
  2. Add ice and shake for about 6 to 7 seconds.
  3. Serve on the rocks with a cayenne salt spice rim.

Buena Vista

Buena Vista cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

(Created by Mike Callan, Tamarindo del Mar)

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Corralejo Reposado
  • 1/2 ounce Magdala
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 3/4 ounce aquafaba 
  • 2 small pieces of ginger (muddled)

Method

  1. Shake all ingredients together.
  2. Microplane orange zest on top for garnish and serve up.

Spicy Mexican Mule

Spicy Mexican Mule cocktail
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Ingredients

  • 1 part Ancho Reyes Original
  • 1/4 part fresh lime juice
  • 3 parts ginger beer

Method

  1. Fill a copper mule with ice.
  2. Add Ancho Reyes and fresh lime juice, and gently pour ginger beer on top.
  3. Stir lightly and garnish with lime and crystallized ginger.

The Curious Margarita

The Curious margarita
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(Created by Joseph Mortera)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces The Lost Explorer Espadín
  • 1/2 ounce Ancho Reyes Verde
  • 3/4 ounce agave syrup
  • 1 ounce lime juice

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake it up.
  3. Strain into a Tajín-rimmed Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with a single jalapeno slice.

Los Arango La Reina

Los Arango La Reina cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ounce Los Arango Blanco Tequila
  • 3/4 ounce dry Rosé wine
  • 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 4 dashes pink peppercorn tincture
  • 2 drops rose water

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake well.
  2. Rim a cocktail glass with cracked pink/black peppercorn salt.
  3. Fine strain the cocktail into your prepped glass.
  4. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and rim with the pink peppercorn tincture.

TiNegroni

Negroni
Nuff / Unsplash

The TiNegroni is a great smoky twist on the classic Negroni. This riff uses tequila instead of gin, adding a touch of agave for a smoky twist.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce tequila or mezcal (mezcal will add a smokier flavor)
  • 1/2 ounce Campari
  • 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Orange twist (for garnish)

Method

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add the tequila, Campari, and vermouth to the shaker.
  3. Cover the shaker and stir well to chill and dilute the drink.
  4. Strain the TiNegroni into a chilled rocks glass (or a shot glass if you prefer it stronger).
  5. Garnish with an orange twist.

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Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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