Held annually on the September 16, Mexican Independence Day is a time for Mexican people around the world to celebrate the history and culture of their home country – and whether you’re celebrating in Mexico or toasting from afar, a delicious cocktail is a necessity.
Not to be confused with Cinco de Mayo (which commemorates Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862), Mexican Independence Day takes place to honor the country’s fight for independence from Spain, which began in 1810 with the famous “El Grito de Dolores” battle cry.
The celebrations are widespread across Mexico, with street parades, marches, folk dancing, mariachi bands and, of course, traditional cuisine and drinks all enjoyed throughout the country. We’ve called on our favorite Mexican hotels, tequila brands and mezcal producers to share their favorite cocktail recipes ahead of the big day.
[See also: The Best Sipping Tequila Brands in the World]
Maya’s Nectar by Mijenta
Crafted with a commitment to sustainability using agave sourced from deep within the Jalisco highlands, Mijenta is on a mission to restore the artisanal craft and the sense of community back to the world of tequila. Every detail is thought of with Mijenta, from its locally made and recycled packaging, to its work with local jimadors to protect the traditions of tequila making.
Its award-winning blanco tequila is vibrant and fresh, allowing the traditional flavors of the agave to shine through. Team it with the zingy taste of pineapple and the earthiness of honey turmeric and you’ve got a seriously delicious cocktail on your hands.
- 2 oz Mijenta Blanco Tequila
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- ¾ oz honey turmeric syrup
- ¾ oz fresh lime juice
Shake all ingredients vigorously with plenty of ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a thyme sprig.
Mezcal Oaxacan Spritz by The Lost Explorer
The Lost Explorer’s award-winning mezcal boasts plenty of smoke with a touch of herby sweetness / ©The Lost Explorer
While everyone has heard of tequila, its older (and arguably more traditional) cousin, mezcal, is a little newer to the mainstream cocktail scene. Distinguished by its signature smokey flavor, mezcal is also derived from the agave plant, but unlike tequila, it can be produced in any Mexican region, making it the perfect spirit to toast to the country’s Independence Day.
The Lost Explorer’s double-distilled, handcrafted Espadin mezcal uses 100% agave from the sun-soaked Oaxaca Valley. The result is an award-winning spirit that boasts plenty of mezcal’s signature smokiness, with a touch of herby sweetness.
- 1 oz The Lost Explorer Espadin
- 1 oz green chartreuse
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 oz Luxardo Maraschino
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, before straining into a coupe.
[See also: Tequila’s Sunrise: From Nightclub Shot to Premium Spirit]
El Quemado by Montage Los Cabos
The El Quemado is one of Montage Los Cabos’ best loved cocktails / ©Montage
With its wide views across Santa Maria Bay, world-class spa and sumptuous suites, Montage Los Cabos was a natural fit on our recent round-up of the most opulent resorts in Los Cabos. However, for those who can’t be there in person to celebrate Mexican Independence Day, the team behind the resort’s appropriately named signature restaurant, Mezcal, has shared the recipe for one of its best-loved cocktails: The El Quemado.
Along with the expected mezcal lead, the El Quemado also calls for Nixta Liqueur, which is another distinctively Mexican ingredient made from maize grown in the foothills of the Nevado de Toluca volcano.
- 1 oz Mezcal Rey Zapoteco Espadin
- ½ oz Ancho Reyes Liqueur
- ½ oz Nixta Liqueur
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz lime juice
- ½ oz agave syrup
- Tortilla ashes salt
Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and serve over ice in an old fashioned glass with a tortillas ashes salt rim.
Avocado Margarita by One&Only Palmilla
The Avocado Margarita pairs two of Mexico’s most famous exports / ©One&Only Palmilla
With direct access to one of the only swimmable beaches in the region, One&Only Palmilla is a go-to for discerning vacationers in the Baja Peninsula. At the resort’s Agua bar, guests can enjoy seasonal farm-to-table cuisine alongside a carefully crafted cocktail menu in a relaxed beachfront setting.
The bar’s specialty Avocado Margarita is the perfect cocktail to sip on Mexican Independence Day, with the recipe calling for two of the country’s largest exports: tequila and avocado. While avo in a cocktail might sound unusual, the fruit’s creamy texture creates a delightfully smooth drink.
- 2 oz Casa Dragones tequila
- 1 oz Cointreau
- ½ oz agave syrup
- Juice of ¾ of a lemon
- 1/8 avocado
- ¼ oz spinach juice
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
To make the spinach juice: blend five spinach leaves with one cup of water and measure amount necessary per drink.
For the cocktail, shake all ingredients for 20 seconds, strain and serve in a glass on the rocks with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Mezcal Negroni by Agua Mágica
Switching out the usual gin element for mezcal offers a unique smokey twist on the classic Italian aperitif fm/ ©Agua Mágica
Yes, you read that right: a mezcal negroni. Switching out the usual gin element for mezcal offers a unique smokey twist on the classic Italian aperitif – and is the perfect way to pay homage to Mexico this Independence Day.
Although typically reserved for sipping rather than mixing, Agua Mágica actually works perfectly in a mezcal negroni thanks to the simplicity of the recipe. The herby notes of this mezcal complement the bitterness of Campari, while the sherry-led Lustau Vermut adds a touch of much-needed sweetness.
- 1¼ oz Agua Mágica
- ¾ oz Campari
- ¾ oz Lustau Vermut
- ¼ oz Carpano Antica
Stir ingredients to temperature in a chilled mixing glass. Strain over ice into a chilled rocks glass and garnish with grapefruit or orange.
See more Cocktail of the Week recipes here.