Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day, which actually takes place on September 16 and gives us yet another reason to celebrate our neighbors to the south. In reality, the May holiday marks the day the Mexican Army won the Battle of Puebla, defeating Napoleon III in 1862. Restaurants across the U.S. join in the celebration with special drinks all day and well into the night. Raise a glass to our amigos with one of these muy magnífico Cinco de Mayo cocktails.
Pineapple-Habanero Margarita at Beatrix, Chicago, Illinois
Tropical sweet meets chili heat. The fruity-spicy, beach-worthy sipper is powered by tequila blanco, the spirit responsible for countless Cinco de Mayo antics that are only remembered thanks to the invention of camera phones. Make a reservation at Beatrix.
Spicy Señorita at Bulla Gastrobar, Coral Gables, Florida
We likey this saucy dame. Built on a base of Don Julio añejo tequila and Napoleon Amontillado sherry, it gets a sweet lift from pineapple juice and cherry bitters. Make a reservation at Bulla Gastrobar.
Viva Pisco! at Pisco Y Nazca, Miami, Florida
We could drink a dozen of these, but then we’d probably wake up on a beach in Cabo with a killer hangover, a painful sunburn, and no clue as to how we got there. It’s made with Jimador reposado tequila, triple sec, cilantro, and habanero. Make a reservation at Pisco Y Nazca.
Crimson Crown at Crimson & Rye, New York, New York
Artfully poured, the cocktail features the three colors of the Mexican flag: red, white, and green. It’s crafted with Buen Bicho mezcal, grapefruit cordial, fresh cucumber, lime, Serrano and rosemary syrup, Peychaud’s bitters, and a splash of soda. Make a reservation at Crimson & Rye.
$100 Prime Margarita at Fleming’s, Denver, Colorado
This margarita is all about the Benjamin. Featuring Selección Suprema tequila, Grand Marnier’s 100th Anniversary Cuvée du Centenaire, and fresh lime juice, it arrives in a beautiful crystal glass that you get to keep. Make a reservation at Fleming’s.
Corazón Valiente at Tanta, Chicago, Illinois
Made with the restaurant’s special barrel Patrón reposado, Zucca (a rhubarb-based Italian aperitif), lime juice, and blood orange syrup, it’s a worthy way to toast Cinco de Mayo. Better still, 50 percent of all proceeds from cocktail will go to Farmer and Landscaper Advocacy Project, whose mission is to improve the working conditions for migrant and seasonal workers in the agricultural and landscaping industries in Illinois. Make a reservation at Tanta.