A celebration that originated to commemorate the Mexican army’s victory over the French empire at the Battle of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo is a wonderful time to celebrate Mexican culture no matter where you live.
Whether you’re throwing a party or simply inviting over a few friends to celebrate, here are 10 cocktail recipes to serve your guests on Cinco de Mayo.
According to Bon Appetit magazine, the Paloma is Mexico’s most beloved cocktail, making it a no-brainer choice for your south of the border celebration. This fresh cocktail is perfect for a warm day and enhances any spicy appetizers you may be serving.
- 1 grapefruit wedge
- ¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup tequila or mescal
- ¼ cup club soda
- Kosher salt
Rim a highball glass with the grapefruit wedge and then with the kosher salt.
Combine the grapefruit juice, lime juice and sugar in the glass until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the tequila.
Top with club soda, garnish with grapefruit wedge, and serve.
For those Bloody Mary-lovers on your guest list, you can create a fun Mexican drink with many of the same ingredients. The Michelada uses the same sauce and spices, but adds in a Mexican beer to create this unique and savory libation.
- 1 lime, juiced
- 4 ounces Clamato or tomato juice
- 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
- 2 dashes hot pepper sauce
- 12 ounce bottle of beer, preferably Corona or Pacifico
- Optional: kosher salt, chili powder, and lime juice for rimming the glass
Combine the lime juice, Clamato, Worcestershire sauce and pepper sauce in a shaker with ice and shake well.
Pour into tall glass with ice. Fill with beer.
Garnish with lime wedge and serve.
Horchata is a traditional Mexican rice drink that tastes of delicious cinnamon and vanilla. Like coffee or eggnog, horchata is easy to spike and the result is a boozy indulgence for any Cinco de Mayo celebration.
- 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
- 2 quarts warm water
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup rum
Mix the warm water and rice in a bowl and let stand for half an hour. Drain and reserve the water.
Place rice in a food processor and add the cinnamon, pulsing until a paste forms. Return the mixture to the water and let stand two hours, stirring occasionally.
Strain through a fine sieve into a pitcher and stir in milk, condensed milk, vanilla, and rum. Refrigerate at least two hours.
Pour into a glass filled with ice and serve.
Watermelon Agua Fresca
Agua Fresca is Spanish for “fresh water,” which is exactly what this fruity, refreshing drink will remind your guests of! This is a perfect complement to chips and salsa or just to be enjoyed by itself as you gather around the pool.
- 3/4 cups watermelon juice
- ¼ rum or vodka
- ¼ cup agave nectar or honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 4-6 fresh basil leaves, shredded
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Watermelon wedges for garnish
Add the watermelon juice, agave nectar, lemon juice, basil, salt and rum into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake until mixed and chilled.
Strain into a glass filled with ice and garnish with watermelon wedge.
Would any Cinco de Mayo celebration be complete without a Margarita? We don’t think so! Though there’s plenty of dispute over where the Margarita was invented and by whom, there’s no dispute that this versatile drink is a delicious staple. Here’s a simple recipe that is a sure crowd-pleaser.
- 1 to 1 ½ ounces silver tequila
- 1 ounce orange liqueur
- ½ ounce fresh lime juice
- Splash of simple syrup
- Course salt for glass rim
- Lime quarter for garnish
Combine the tequila, liqueur, lime juice and simple syrup in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled glass rimmed with salt and garnish with the lime wedge. This recipe can also be made in a blender if you prefer a blended version.
Invented in a Prohibition-era resort in Tijuana, the Tequila Sunrise was originally called a Tequila Daisy and had a bit of crème de cassis added. We like the updated, simpler version better, and we know your guests will as well, especially when it’s served in a highball glass so the colors can shine through.
- 1 ½ ounce tequila
- 4 ounces fresh orange juice
- Dash of grenadine
- Cherries or orange wedges for garnish
Pour the tequila and orange juice into a highball glass filled with ice and stir. Pour grenadine over the top and allow to sink to bottom. Garnish with cherry or orange wedge and serve.
Sangria is basically wine kicked up with some fruit and extra booze. Though you can also make sangria with white wine and change up the recipe with rum instead of brandy or with different fruits, this basic recipe is a tried and true crowd-pleaser.
- One bottle of red wine, such as Merlot
- 4 ounces brandy
- 3 ounces simple syrup
- 1 cup of chopped mixed fruit such as lemons, limes and oranges
Combine the wine, brandy, simple syrup and fruit in a large pitcher and refrigerate for 4-8 hours or until chilled. Serve in chilled, ice-filled wine or daiquiri glasses.
The minty Mojito is a summertime favorite. Although it originated using spearmint or yerba buena, you can use the mint leaves you find in the grocery store.
- 10 fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 ½ ounces white rum
- ½ lime cut into four wedges
- ½ cup club soda
Combine the mint leaves a one lime wedge in a Collins glass.
Crush the mint and lime with a muddler and add two more lime wedges and the sugar. Muddle again.
Fill the glass with ice and pour in the rum. Add the club soda. Stir and serve.
We’ve all heard of – and probably tasted – that delectable combination of vodka and ginger beer served in the iconic copper mug known as a Moscow Mule.
However, you may not know that you can easily create a Mexican variation of this same drink by swapping out the vodka for your favorite tequila. The result is just as delicious.
- 1.7 ounces tequila
- 1 can ginger beer
- 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
- ¾ tablespoons simple syrup
- 2 small pieces of peeled ginger
- Lime wedges for garnish
Muddle the ginger in a shaker and add the remaining ingredients except for the lime wedge.
Shake, then strain into a copper mug. Top with ginger beer.
Add crushed ice and lime wedges for garnish and serve.
The Pina Colada is a great choice for those who want something sweet – and not made with tequila – this Cinco de Mayo.
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup rum
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 4 tablespoons white sugar
- 8 ice cubes
- Optional: pineapple wedges, whipped cream for garnish
Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve in glasses and garnish with pineapple wedges or whipped cream for extra sweetness.