Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner. You’ve got the ingredients for your tacos all lined up, as well as the Mexican beer. If your planning on impressing your party guests with your mixology skills remember that for a complete Cinco de Mayo bar set-up you’ll need more than just tequila and limes — you’ll need mezcal.
Mezcal is to tequila as Scotch is to whiskey. Both will add an unmistakably complex, smoky flavor to any cocktail. We reached out to eleven professional bartenders around the nation to bring you some of the most delicious Cinco de Mayo cocktails around. Some of them are complex and have ingredients we never heard of until we tracked them down. Some of them are simple, but all of them are scrum-diddly-umptious.
Mezcalito de Amor
This recipe comes from David Ortiz, Beverage Director at Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar in West Palm Beach, Florida. This is a quick and easy mezcal cocktail that goes down quickly and easily.
- 2 oz. Zignum Reposado Mezcal
- 1 oz Naranja orange liqueur
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- .5 oz lime juice
- 2 basil leaves
- 2 jalapeño slices
- Add jalapeños and basil in with the pineapple juice mighty muddle and then add rest of ingredients.
- Shake hard for 20 seconds and strain into a pint glass.
- Garnish with a rim with chili salt 2 basil leaves and a jalapeño wheel.
Hemingway was a fan of booze, so surely he would have been a fan of the kick of this double tequila cocktail. This recipe comes from one of the most popular tequila brands in the world. It was developed by Patron’s Manager of Trade Education & Mixology, Stephen Halpin. This tart and tangy cocktail has a sweet and smoky finish that won’t disappoint.
- 1 oz Patrón Añejo
- 1 oz Ilegal Mezcal Joven
- .75 oz Grapefruit juice
- .5 oz Lime juice
- .5 oz Luxardo Maraschino syrup
- .25 oz Simple syrup
- Lime wedge for garnish
- Cherry for garnish
- Combine all ingredients in a shaker with crushed ice.
- Shake to chill.
- Pour into glass and add additional ice.
- Garnish with a lime wedge and a cherry.
Smokey and the Bandit
This simple yet full-flavored, three-ingredient cocktail is courtesy of New York mixologist Michael Gellert. Liquore Strega and Averna Amaro ingredients give this cocktail a minty and sweet caramel flavor profile, combined with the light smoke of the Espadîn with undertones of fruit and white pepper.
- 1 oz Doña Vega Espadín
- 1 oz Liquor Strega
- 1 oz Averna amaro
- Stir and strain over a fresh large cube in a rocks glass.
- Garnish with a smoked salt rim.
The Travellin’ Mule
This cool and refreshing mezcal cocktail is brought to us by Adam Oliveras and Advanced Mixology. If you’re a fan of any mule-based drink, you will have to try this delicious mezcal version.
- .5 oz Lime Juice
- .25 St. Elizabeth All-Spice Dram
- .5 oz Angostura Amaro
- .75 oz aged rum
- .75 oz Mezcal
- 1 dash Angostura Bitters
- Bundaberg Ginger Beer
- .25 oz Overproof Rum for garnish
- 1 sprig rosemary for garnish
- Add Lime Juice, St. Elizabeth, Amaro, Aged Rum, Mezcal, and Bitters to shaker tin.
- Add ice and shake it up.
- Strain over ice into a copper Moscow mule mug.
- Top with Ginger Beer.
- In a separate glass, pour .25 oz Overproof Rum.
- Dip rosemary sprig into the glass.
- Use the rosemary for garnish then flame it with a kitchen torch.
Read more: Best Rums for Mixing
Be careful. Consuming too many Smoke Shows can result in another kind of show that most are not fond of. This tasty yet slightly more complex cocktail from Mike Haley (Bar Manager of Belle’s Nashville Kitchen in Scottsdale, AZ) involves tracking down or creating your own unique ingredients. However, the little extra work is worth the reward.
- 1.5 oz Union Mezcal
- .25 oz Torani Orgeat (Almond)
- .5 oz passion fruit-infused simple syrup
- .25 oz fresh lime juice
- .25 hibiscus infused simple syrup
- Hibiscus salt rim and lime wedge
- Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake well.
- Strain over fresh ice.
Social Media Influencer
This Paloma-inspired cocktail from Paul Morrison (Lead Bartender at L.A. Jackson in Nashville) influenced us to recommend it to you. Like any good influencer, you can get easily enamored with this cocktail without even realizing it. It goes down smooth with hints of smoke from the mezcal and slight bitterness from the Pamplemousse liqueur rounded out by a pinch of citrus salt.
- 0.75 oz Espolon Blanco
- 0.75oz Bahnez Mezcal
- 0.75 oz Giffard Pamplemousse
- 0.25 oz Aperol
- 0.25 oz Simple Syrup
- 1 oz Lime Juice
- Pinch of Salt
- Soda Top
- Add all ingredients, minus soda, into a cocktail shaker and shake.
- Pour into a tall Collins glass over ice, top with soda water.
- Garnish with a slice of grapefruit.
This fruit-forward mezcal cocktail from Diana Novak (Bartender and Craft Spirits Educator) is perfect for sipping on the beach or by the pool. It’s the tiki bitters in this drink that really brings out the island flavors and will have you playing the Guantanamera on repeat.
- 1.5oz Gracias a Dios Mezcal Espadin
- .75oz simple syrup
- .5oz Orange Juice
- .5oz grapefruit juice
- .5oz lemon juice
- 2 dashes of tiki bitters
- Top with soda water
- Combine ingredients of mezcal, syrup, juices, and bitters with ice in a shaker.
- Shake to combine flavors.
- Strain over fresh ice into a highball glass.
- Top with soda water and garnish with an orange wedge
This beverage is from James Simpson, Beverage Director of Espita and Las Gemelas in Washington, DC. Since May is also National Strawberry Month, James created a Mexican cocktail to incorporate mezcal and strawberries for Cinco de Mayo. This drink opened us up to a variety of tasty ingredients we never heard of. We hope we can make this delicious, herbally complex cocktail with sweet undertones totally famous.
- .75 oz El Buho Espadin Mezcal
- . 25 oz Xtabentun
- .50 oz Mezzodi Aperitivo
- .75 oz Lime Juice
- .75 oz Strawberry Syrup
- Add all ingredients to a metal cocktail shaker with cracked ice.
- Shake well and double strain into a chilled coupe glass.
- Garnish with a strawberry fan.
For the Strawberry Syrup
- Macerate the strawberries by placing 1 pound of strawberries (stems removed) in a large freezer bag with 1,000 grams of granulated sugar.
- Press air out and store in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next day add 500ml hot water to the bag and pour contents into a blender.
- Blend and strain through a fine colander/chinois and store chilled. Lasts 7 days.
Sexy, Spicy, Sacrvm Mezcal
This drink by Peter Stepanek (Bar Manager at Kiki On The River in Miami) will heat you up in more ways than one. Peter created the sour/sweet concoction using the award-winning Sarcvm mezcal. The coffee salt rim is a great palate cleanser for the next sip and tones down the spice.
- .5oz Passion Fruit syrup
- .5oz Habanero syrup
- .5oz Fresh lime juice
- 1.5oz Sarcvm Mezcal
- Coffee/Salt Rim
- Crushed ice
- Build in a shaker over ice, shake vigorously, strain over crushed ice.
- Garnish with 2 dehydrated lime wheels and fresh-cut habanero peppers.
This classic cocktail isn’t exclusive to gin or bourbon; you can put a Cinco de Mayo twist on it with your favorite mezcal. This recipe comes from TT Liquor, a virtual one-stop shop for spirits, cocktail classes, and more. This take on the classic Negroni retains the original herbaceous bitterness of the original and adds a rich smoky element by replacing the gin with mezcal.
- 25ml Mezcal
- 25ml Campari
- 25ml Sweet Vermouth
- Orange Slice or Twist for garnish
- Find yourself a rocks glass and, using your jigger to measure, add the mezcal, Campari, and vermouth to the glass. Then, fill the glass ⅔ up with cubed ice.
- Hold your bar spoon between your thumb and forefinger, gently stir the cocktail, and be careful not to chip the ice. Stir briefly to combine the ingredients and incorporate the ice, and top up your glass with a little more ice if needed.
- Garnish with an orange slice or orange twist.
- Serve and enjoy!
No Cinco de Mayo drink recipe roundup would be complete without a margarita. This smoky take on the classic cocktail comes from Dan Oskey, co-founder of Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis.
- 1 oz. Mezcal Joven (La Luna)
- 2 oz. Tattersall Salty Dog (or sub with Grapefruit Vodka)
- ½ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
- ¼ oz. Agave Syrup
- In a shaker tin combine ingredients with ice and shake vigorously.
- Strain over fresh ice in a lowball (salt rim optional).
- Garnish with a lime wedge.
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