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The Best Cocktails to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

How better to celebrate than with a tequila cocktail in hand?

By Kim Ayling

Although initially held to honor a great Mexican victory over the French army, Cinco de Mayo (which is Spanish for ‘fifth of May’), has now adapted to become a celebration of Mexican-American culture, with people from across the two countries getting involved in the festivities – and how better to celebrate than with a Mexican-inspired cocktail in hand?

Naturally, the universally beloved margarita would be the go-to, but for those hoping to push the boat out, our round-up of the best Cinco de Mayo cocktails features a selection of alternative tequila and mezcal-based serves

Our favorite Cinco de Mayo cocktails are selected from a range of Mexico’s most prestigious luxury resorts (and some from further afield), as well as a handful of premium tequila and mezcal brands, promising an ultra-delicious tipple to celebrate the vibrant holiday.

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The Lima by Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell

zetter townhouse lima cocktail
The Lima is Zetter’s take on a margarita / ©Zetter Townhouse

Tucked away in an unassuming corner of Clerkenwell, London, Zetter Townhouse is a city-center secret. While the 13 guest bedrooms are delightful, Zetter Clerkenwell’s award-winning cocktail bar is the real treat and a surprisingly boutique addition to the area’s more corporate haunts. The menu is playful and intriguing with some fun riffs on the classics, but for Cinco de Mayo, only Zetter’s version of a margarita will do, obviously. Combining both tequila and mezcal for a hit of subtle smoke, the Lima is all at once earthy and fresh. The method is a touch more extensive than others on our list, but the result is well worth it.

Ingredients:

1 ¼ oz Ocho Blanco sous vide Lime Flower & Frankincense

¼ oz Mezcal

1/3 oz Muyu Vetiver

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1 1/3 oz Spent Lime Flower Cordial

Method:

To make infused tequila:

Add edible frankincense and lime flowers to a jar, cover with tequila and seal. Allow to infuse at least overnight before straining with a fine mesh sieve.

To make the Lima:

Add all liquid ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly before fine straining over a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a twist of lime.

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Mezcal Molly by El Silencio

Making a delicious cocktail needn’t require complicated ingredients, nor a lot of effort – in fact, many of the world’s most classic cocktails use no more than two ingredients. For a simple yet impressive Cinco de Mayo cocktail, opt for the Mezcal Molly by El Silencio (pictured above), which combines mezcal with honey and lime. Self-proclaimed industry disruptor El Silencio is on a mission to revive the traditional artisanal methods of mezcal production, delivering a hand-crafted spirit to a new generation of drinkers. Its mezcal is full-bodied, with a distinctive smokey finish.

Ingredients:

2oz Mezcal El Silencio Espadin

1oz lime juice

.5oz honey syrup (2:1)

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin filled with ice and shake briskly for 15 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Tiger Lily by Ojo de Tigre Artesanal Mezcal

ojo de tigre cinco de mayo cocktail recipe
The Tiger Lily recipe combines the acidity of pineapple with the spiciness of ginger for a fresh Cinco de Mayo cocktail / ©Ojo de Tigre Artesenal Mezcal

Ojo de Tigre Artesenal Mezcal combines espadín and tobalá agaves to produce an impressively smooth mezcal – without the smokey finish. In addition to making mezcal more accessible, Ojo de Tigre is also committed to working in a way that is easy on our precious earth, using naturally fertilized agave seeds for a more sustainable approach to growing. The Tiger Lily recipe combines the acidity of pineapple with the spiciness of ginger for a fresh Cinco de Mayo cocktail with a sizeable kick.

Ingredients:

1.5 Parts Ojo de Tigre Mezcal

1.5 parts pineapple juice

2 parts ginger beer

fresh pineapple

Method:

Build all liquid ingredients over ice in a highball or rocks glass. Garnish with a pineapple slice.

Catrina Cocktail by Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort

Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico is a fixture in our Top 100 lists year after year. Whether you’re heading down to this gorgeous Mexican retreat or simply want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the Catrina cocktail is the way to go. The citrus-based cocktail is the perfect fruity drink to kick off the summer wherever you are. 

Ingredients:

1oz Clase Azul Mezcal

.5oz peach schnapps

2oz fresh tangerine juice

.5oz agave honey

Method:

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and garnish with a twist of tangerine peel. 

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Casa Noble Spicy Buck

Casa Noble tequila, started by Pepe Hermosillo, is a 100 percent blue agave tequila from Mexico. Triple-distilled and certified organic, Casa Noble is an everyday drinking tequila with exceptional expressions. The tequila is perfectly tasty on its own or mixed in with a cocktail.

Ingredients:

2oz Casa Noble Resposado Tequila

2 thin slices jalapeño

1 tbsp sliced ginger

1oz lemon juice

.75oz simple syrup

Ginger ale or ginger beer

Dash of bitters

Lemon wedge

Method:

Muddle jalapeño, ginger, lemon juice and simple syrup then add ice. Shake until chilled and strain into glass over ice, top with ginger ale or ginger beer. Add bitters and garnish with lemon wedge. 

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Grapefruit Collins by Volcán De Mi Tierra

LVMH’s new tequila, Volcán De Mi Tierra is made from volcanic-ash soil in the Los Valles of Jalisco, Mexico. The volcano erupted 200,000 years ago and today, tequila is being made from an indigenous rock-based soil compound. The brand has two tequilas, Blanco and Cristalino, released in 2017.

Ingredients:

2oz Volcan De Mi Tierra Blanco Tequila

.75oz fresh lemon juice

.75oz simple syrup

1oz fresh grapefruit juice

Soda water to your liking

Method:

Shake tequila, lemon juice, simple syrup and grapefruit juice with ice and strain into a double-rocks glass over a large cube of ice. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

Tanteo Chipotle Margarita

Tanteo Tequila is the original 100 percent agave spicy tequila from none other than Jalisco, Mexico (the tequila capital of the country). Blue agave is first cooked in brick ovens and infused with local peppers. The chipotle margarita is infused with chipotle spices. The result? A smooth tequila with a kick.

Ingredients:

2oz Tanteo Chipotle Margarita

1oz fresh lime juice

.5oz agave nectar

Method:

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake well and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with an orange slice, lime wedge or your choice of fruit.

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