The 9 Best Cocktails for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is an excuse to sit in the sun and drink margaritas.

Christopher Osburnby Christopher Osburn
Photo: arinahabich, Getty Images.

Cinco de Mayo is finally upon us. In the same way that St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect excuse to day-drink Guinness, various green beers, and Irish whiskey in early spring, Cinco de Mayo is the mid-spring reason to get your day-drink on with tequila, mescal, Mexican beers, margaritas, palomas, micheladas and countless other staples from south of the border.

El Diablo

El Diablo

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Jose Cuervo Especial Silver
  • 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 part crème de cassis liqueur
  • Ginger beer (for top-off)
  • Lime wedge (for garnish)

Preparation:

Shake first 3 ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled Collins glass. Top with ginger beer.

Cocktail by Jose Cuervo Especial 222.

Lemon Thyme Margarita

Photo: Cali Zimmerman of Lion and Lamb.

Photo: Cali Zimmerman of Lion and Lamb.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 ounces Herradura Silver
  • 1/4 ounce St. Germain
  • 3/4 ounce lemon thyme syrup
  • 1/4 ounce lime juice

Preparation:

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain over ice into rocks glass. Garnish with lemon twist or lime wheel.

Cocktail by Anejo Tribeca.

Sunrise with Maria

Sunrise With Maria

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Avión Reposado
  • 1 ounce agave nectar
  • 1 ounce POM juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 5 – 8 thyme sprigs

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients. Shake until cold. Pour over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with 1 thyme leaf from the shake.

Cocktail by Tequila Avion.

Spiced Strawberry Margarita

Spiced Strawberry Margarita

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 2 ounces blanco tequila
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 strawberries
  • 3 dashes angostura bitters

Preparation:

Muddle the strawberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add Cointreau, tequila, fresh lime juice, and bitters; shake with ice. Strain over ice in a rocks glass with a cinnamon sugar rim. Garnish with a strawberry.

Cocktail by Cointreau.

Jalisco Express

Jalisco Express

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Tres Agaves Blanco
  • 3/4 parts lime juice
  • 3/4 parts Tres Agaves agave syrup
  • 1 slice of jalapeño (no seeds)
  • 2 cucumber slices
  • Pinch of basil (6-8 small leaves)

Preparation:

Place basil in shaker first. Add jalapeño and cucumber slices. Add agave syrup and muddle. Add in remaining ingredients and ice. Shake, double strain, and serve over ice in lowball glass. Garnish with a Tajín rim.

Cocktail by Tres Agaves Tequila.

The Ultramaroon

Photo: The Lately NYC.

Photo: The Lately NYC.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Tequila Cazadores Reposado
  • 1 1/2 ounces watermelon/beet root shrub
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 6 drops Moroccan bitters

Preparation: 

Combine all ingredients; shake. Serve in a rocks glass.

Cocktail by Grant Wheeler. Served on the menu of The Lately in NYC.

Caliente Cucumber

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Tequila Cazadores Blanco
  • 1 ounce Triple Sec
  • 2 ounces jalapeño-infused cucumber water
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients; shake. Serve on the rocks with a fine sea salt rim. Garnish with a fresh cucumber slice.

Cocktail by award-winning mixologist Donna Francis. Available at Harvest on River in Tucson.

Hot Hands

Photo: Leyenda NYC.

Photo: Leyenda NYC.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Cazadores Reposado
  • 1/2 ounce chili infused Cazadores repo
  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • 1/4 ounce lime
  • 1/4 ounce agave nectar
  • 6 – 8 mint leaves
  • 1 grapefruit peel
  • 1 1/2 ounces  Martini and Rossi Prosecco (on bottom)

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Rim a chilled champagne flute with salt and pour Prosecco into the glass. Fill shaker with ice and hard shake. Fine strain into the flute over the Prosecco.

Cocktail by Joshua Campbell at Leyenda, NYC.

Sandia Slurpee

Ingredients: 

  • Jalapeño salt rim
  • 1 3/4 ounces Cazadores Blanco
  • 1 ounce watermelon puree
  • 1/2 ounce Campari
  • 1/2 ounce strawberry syrup

Preparation:

Make jalapeño salt rim by finely chopping dehydrated jalapeños; mix with Maldon sea salt. Make watermelon puree by blending fresh watermelon; strain. Combine all remaining cocktail ingredients in a blender with ice. Blend and pour into a glass with a jalapeño salt rim.

Cocktail by Ignacio Jimenez at Ghost Donkey in NYC.