It’s Cinco de Mayo, which means that it is an especially popular day to drink here in Southern California—unsurprising given our proximity and strong cultural ties to Mexico. The fifth of May is not, as is commonly thought, Mexican Independence Day; that holiday is observed on September 16. Cinco de Mayo is a largely regional holiday observed primarily in the Mexican state of Puebla that celebrates the success of a small Mexican force in defeating a much larger French army in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla. It is immensely popular in the US as a day to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage—much as St. Patrick’s Day is to Irish-Americans. As I type there are gallons of margaritas being consumed, and though I love a good margarita it seems only fitting to put the best-known liquor of Mexico to a more novel use on a day of cultural celebration.
This recipe comes from Food & Wine Cocktails ’09. Created by Joaquin Simo of the venerable NYC cocktail bar Death & Co., it has the same light, crisp qualities as a margarita with a brighter, slightly more brash flavor. The little twist here comes from using marmalade and agave nectar in place of triple sec, which also imparts a stronger bitter orange flavor and a bit more texture.
2 oz blanco tequila
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz agave nectar
1 tsp orange marmalade
Shake all ingredients well with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.
Sweet, tart, refreshing, delicious and simple—this one hits all the right notes. ¡Salud y feliz Cinco de Mayo, amigos!