5 Cinco de Mayo tequila cocktails that aren’t margaritas


Luckily, Cinco de Mayo falls on a Friday this year. Say salud with 5 Cinco de Mayo tequila cocktails that aren’t margaritas.

Cinco de Mayo is a good reason to toast to Mexico and its delicious food and drink. While margaritas are often associated with Mexican cuisine, the margarita’s history is muddied. From mentions to Jose Cuervo to a Dallas restaurateur, the exact origin isn’t clear. But, tequila is clearly a Mexican spirit. For this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, say salud with Cinco de Mayo tequila cocktails that aren’t margaritas.

Made from the blue agave plant, tequila is often thought of as Mexico’s national liquor. Generally, tequila has three classifications, blanco, reposado and anejo. The classifications are named for the aging process. The flavor of each classification is distinct and nuanced. Any of the three can be served neat or in a cocktail.

Tres Agaves tequila teamed with Alex Valencia of La Contenta of NYC, New York. These cocktails celebrate the Mexican spirit, history and culture. The flavorful cocktails pair perfectly with Mexican cuisine. From a robust carne asada to a spicy chile relino, any of these cocktails would quench a thirst. With Cinco de Mayo being on a Friday, why not try several of these cocktails throughout a weekend celebration.

Mr. Agave & Ms. Tuna

Prickly pear is a popular ingredient in Mexican cuisine. Known as the national fruit and featured on the Mexican flag, the prickly pear (la tuna) is featured in this tequila cocktail. This cocktail blends the favorite fruit and a spicy liquor. The flavor indulges the hunger for a spicy Cinco de May cocktail

"Mr. Agave & Ms. TunaIngredients6 drops of the tequila-infused with Habanero¾ parts Lime Juice½ part Prickly Pear Puree (such as boiron)¾ parts Tres Agaves Agave SyrupDirections: Add all ingredients in the shaker; add ice, shake and strain in coupe or martini glass."

Jalisco Express, photo provided by EVINS Communications

Jalisco Express

Cocktails are blending herbaceous elements for a more savory taste. The Jalisco Express adds basil to create some brightness to the cocktail. This cocktail was created and named for the Tequila Express in Jalisco. Jalisco is home to many agave fields. The train would take people to the Jalisco lowlands.

"Jalisco ExpressIngredients¾ parts Lime Juice¾ parts Tres Agaves Agave Syrup1 slice of Jalapeno (no seeds)2 Cucumber SlicesPinch of basil (6-8 small leaves)Directions: Place basil first, then Jalapeno and cucumber slices in shaker; add agave syrup and muddle. Add in rest of the ingredients and ice. Shake, double strain and serve over ice in lowball glass; garnish with a Tajin rim."

El Galvin, photo provided by EVINS Communications

El Gavilan

Palomas are popular Mexican cocktails. Made with grapefruit soda and tequila, the cocktail is generally refreshing. This variation references a favorite Mexican song, GAVILAN O PALOMA (sparrow or dove). El Galvilan, the sparrow, this tequila cocktail is refreshing on a hot day.

"El GavilanIngredients½ part Grapefruit Juice¾ parts Lime Juice¾ parts Demarara Syrup1 dash Angostura BittersTop with Mexican grapefruit soda (such as squirt or Jarritos)Directions: Add all ingredients except soda in the shaker; add ice, shake and strain over ice. Top off with Mexican soda and garnish with lime wheel; serve in highball glass."

El Vampiro, photo provided by EVINS Communications


A sangrita is a non-alcholoic drink that is served with a straight shot of tequila. The sangrita is meant to compliment the peppery component of tequila and refresh the palate in between sipts. In the Vampiro, the cocktail blends the sangrita and tequila together.

"VampiroIngredients5 parts Sangrita*.5 parts Lime juiceBalance with grapefruit soda (squirt or Jarritos)Directions: Build the drink in the glass by first putting the tequila in the glass, then add the sangrita mix and top off with grapefruit soda; stir ingredients together in highball glass and garnish with grapefruit wheel.*How to Make the SangritaBlend together the following ingredients:– Pinch of salt– hot sauce– Orange juice (from 1 orange)– Lime juice (4 limes)– Grapefruit juice (2 grapefruits)– A touch of ground black pepper"

Tepache Kid, photo provided by EVINS Communications

Tepache Kid

The ancient drink, tepache has been around longer than Mexico itself. A fermented pineapple drink, the drink is often served by street vendors. The drink is part of the Mexican culture. This tequila cocktail blends the tepache flavor with sophistication.

"Tepache KidIngredients2 parts Tres Agaves Añejo1 part pineapple puree1 part tamarind syrup (tamarind paste mixed with equal parts refined sugar and water)2 dash angostura bittersDirections: Pour all ingredients into the shaker with ice; shake and strain on the rocks and garnish with pineapple wedge."

Next: Travel Tuesday: Virgin Hotel Chicago offers style, sophistication and sheep

So go out and enjoy Cinco de Mayo this year with some of these great drinks! You probably won’t regret it tomorrow morning.