Happy Cinco de Mayo! Before you don that sombrero and guzzle that mango margarita, we need to educate you on a couple of things.
Did you know that Cinco de Mayo is not, as many people might be screaming through the streets today, "Mexican Independence Day"? That's actually September 16. Cinco de Mayo commemorates an unlikely victory against the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 – more than 50 years after Mexico won its independence. The holiday signifies resistance to imperialism and is only recognized as a holiday in Mexico's Puebla region. Otherwise, it's more of an American thing.
Another thing you might not know – the margarita, a drink you probably associate with the mostly-American holiday, is hardly even Mexican. An Irish bartender accidentally created the Tequila Daisy in Tijuana when he reached for the wrong bottle. As it happens, "margarita" is Spanish for "daisy."
Don't get us wrong! We love a good margarita as much as anyone else, and if you find yourself craving one, check out these great recipes.
But when you go forth celebrating today, why not try making some libations that people actually drink in Mexico? Here are some suggestions:
This popular tequila, grapefruit, lime and soda drink will leave you feeling refreshed and light – a welcome change from sugary margaritas.
Pulque, the ancient maguey cactus sap drink, is tequila's predecessor and has been around since Aztec times. How does it taste? Creamy, delicious, and it really sneaks up on you. If you can get your hands on it, it's a must try!
This classic beer cocktail combines beer, lime juice, tomato or clamato juice and sometimes a few other fixings for the ultimate cerveza preparada. It'll also be great for tomorrow's hangover if you need some hair of the dog.
This fermented corn drink has a low alcohol content and is a favorite in Jalisco. If you want a refreshing, super easy to make drink, give this a try.
This milky, cinnamon rice drink is so delicious and tastes great with a little booze. If you want something easier to make, you can't go wrong with a Rumchata/Fireball shot.
If you want to make some less-traditional tequila cocktails, here are some more great ideas.