Tuesday, May 5, 2020

How to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo: Mix the Most Delicious & Healthy - Margaritas!

Rosa Picante Margarita - Patrón - from Art of the Garnish
Before taking that first sip or bite, sink your teeth into the history of Cinco de Mayo.

You’ll be the champion and star of the annual homage to Mexico and it’s celebrated food and drink.

Know this: Cinco de Mayo originated in the Mexican state of Puebla. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican army over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War in 1862. The win in Puebla represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government and bolstered the resistance movement eventually leading to France withdrawing from Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo has evolved from a salute to brave warriors, to an ever-elevated salute to the extraordinary Mexican cuisine and its distilled beverages -- especially the country’s incomparable signature tequilas, mezcal, and chile liqueurs.


Say margarita and the brand Patrón Tequila is the name that most readily comes to mind for discerning drinkers. For good reason. Patrón is the global leader in the 100 percent Weber Blue agave ultra-premium tequila category, crafting a crisp, flavorful spirit, marked by hints of floral notes yet is still made in small batches in the Highlands in Jalisco, Mexico.

Patrón graciously provided the recipe for the delicious Rosa Picante Margarita for my book, Art of the Garnish. I adore the rose petal garnish and a slice of jalapeno pepper! This is what I will be shaking up later to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Here’s another recipe from Art of the Garnish. Can’t get to Las Cabos? Here’s the next best thing. (well, kinda’) The Hilton services this welcome drink at their Azul Bar.

Here’ a few other drinks that you’ll love sipping for Cinco de Mayo.

Photo courtesy of Patrón Tequila

Coralina Margarita
Created by Riesler Morales of Mexico City, Mexico

  • 1.75 oz Patrón Reposado
  • .75 oz Patrón Citrónge Orange 
  • .75 oz Simple syrup 
  • 1 oz Fresh lime juice 
  • .5 oz Red Wine (Mexican, or other) 
  • + Sugar-salt rim* 
Garnish: *Sugar-salt rim:

Pulverize .25 cup dried hibiscus in a spice grinder. Add .25 cup sugar and .25 cup kosher salt and pulse until combined.

1. Combine Patrón Reposado, Patrón Citrónge Orange, simple syrup and lime juice in a shaker tin; add ice and shake vigorously.

2. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe rimmed with sugar-salt rim.*

3. Carefully float red wine on the surface of the cocktail and garnish with a lime wheel.

Mezcal has become increasingly popular in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing spirits over the past several years.

Choosing the right mezcal for you may be tricky, but if you’re looking for an authentic Mexican spirit with an approachable and complex taste, look no further than Montelobos Mezcal. Made in Mexico, Montelobos Mezcal is a mezcal created in collaboration by world-renowned agave spirits expert Iván Saldaña and five generations of Lopez family mezcaleros using the finest, 100% organic agave espadin. The result is a mezcal with a balanced smoke that shifts between chili and dark chocolate. While Montelobos can be enjoyed neat, its complexity makes it an excellent cocktail companion.

A Montelobos Mezcal Ambassador, Camille Austin’s knowledge and enthusiasm for innovative cocktails play a complementary role to brand creator Iván Saldaña. Together, they set out to share the unique taste and versatility of Montelobos Mezcal and the artistry behind agave.

The below flavorful and festive cocktail recipes include Montelobos Mezcal and another authentic Mexican spirit, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, and are the perfect way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Ancho Reyes was born from the sacred earth of Puebla and with a recipe dating back to 1927, Ancho Reyes is the original chile liqueur. Ancho Reyes Verde, launched just in 2016 to much acclaim, also derives from the poblano chile like Original, but some slight tweaks in the production process results in a wildly different flavor profile.

Puebla and poblano are inextricably linked - the peppers are named after the citizens who refer to themselves as poblanos. “Ancho chiles are widely considered a culinary delicacy and Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur is created using Puebla’s signature crop,” reports Camille Austin, the celebrated Mexican mixologist. He continues, “Pleasantly sweet, followed by the moderate heat from the chile, Ancho Reyes is delicious in all types of cocktails.

Pair your rajas -- a savory Mexican dish -- with robust cocktails that can stand up to the food.

Juan to Juan

Shake, serve in a coupe glass

Lemon wheel

Ancho Verde Margarita

  • 1 part Milagro Silver Tequila
  • 1 part Ancho Reyes Verde
  • 1 part Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/3 part Agave Nectar
Add all ingredients to a shaker, add ice, shake hard and strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass

Salt half the glass rim. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Montelobos Picador

  • 2 parts Montelobos Mezcal
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • ½ part simple syrup
Combine ingredients over ice and shake well. Serve over fresh ice in a rocks glass.


Rim the glass with a salt & black pepper; Add an orange slice.

Mexican cuisine is as diverse and rich as the country’s landscape, thanks to its wealth of regional ingredients and deep roots in ancient civilizations and traditions. In the southern state of Oaxaca, the cuisine is defined by two staple ingredients: mezcal and insects. Here, mezcal is not only a drink, but a source of pride and a foundation of cultural identity.

Cricket Cuisine - Photo courtesy of Meutia Chaerani / Indradi Soemardjan

Traditional Mexican flavors have been fused into healthy options that include new ingredients, no frying or oil, a gluten free menu, antibiotics and hormone free steak, an innovative juice bar and more.

Not too long ago - BC - (before coronavirus) Bill and I attended a hands-on New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) lecture class on Mezcal - detailing the plant, the region where it grows, the distillation, and a tasting.

Oh - and the news about that worm?

The worm - is ground into a powder and sprinkled on the hand - no worms in the bottle, please! The worm powder has a umami taste. Terrific!

FYI, NYBG offers online education classes - now you have the time to take all those courses you meant to attend but couldn’t find the time in your schedule. Boost your botany IQ!

With longing, I look back to enjoying just about the best Mexican food anywhere -- at Empellón. The James Beard Award winning chef, Alex Stupak had opened his fourth dining emporium in Midtown, NYC. I met friends there to dine right after it opened having reviewed and enjoyed his menu at the other locations downtown. Chef Alex came to our table and we were brimming with praise. The homemade chips dipped into fabulous, spiced sauces.
And Yellow Beets with Coconut Crema and Green Chile Ice -- that’s an ice infused chile that is the most curious and incredible taste!

How to celebrate a healthy Cinco de Mayo on a budget at home
Skip the sour cream. Skip the sugary mixers. Take a look at some health snacks and party ideas, and don’t worry, it still involves alcohol.

Enjoy a festive nacho bar with half the calories for you and your friends by having low-calorie toppings such as beans, tomatoes, quinoa, spinach and ground turkey.

Create your own calorie-friendly True Lime Frozen Margarita or True Lime Mojito.

Each True Citrus True Lime packet equals the taste of 1 lime wedge and is made with only 3 ingredients. It has 0 calories, 0g of sugar and no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors.

Art of the Garnish ~ Finishing Touches using Herbs and Spices
Lime Frost Sea Salt - was pretty much 'born to rim' classic Margaritas. A tangy hint of lime in a crunchy coarse salt stylishly smooths tequila's bite.

Chipotle Smoked Sea Salt - This is perfect if Ancho, Chipotles, Poblanos, or any other smoky chili pepper is on your menu. The smoky-aromatic hint in the salt will turn that tart tequila concoction into a mellow, fruitier experience.

Coconut Sugar with Chardonnay Oak Smoked Sea Salt - Tropical or fruit flavored margaritas, like peach and mango, beg for this rim! 2 parts sweet to 1 part (or less) salt gives you a sweet tropical hit of coconut with a gentle note of smoke and salt.

Ghost Pepper Sea Salt and Brazilian Petite Sea Salt- This rim brings fire to the fiesta! Grind 3 parts Brazilian Petite Sea Salt with 1 part Ghost Pepper Sea Salt for the ultimate hot & salty rim!

Habanero Sugar, Lemon Sugar & Raspberry Sugar - Who says rimmers have to be salty? Add tangy, spicy and/or fruity sweet to your rims with these flavorful sugars.


MIX desired salt(s) and sugar(s) on a saucer or plate for rimming. Ensure that the mixture covers an area larger in diameter than the rim of your glass.

MOISTEN rim of glass with a slice of lime.

RIM glass by turning moistened rim in salt/sugar mixture. - See more at: http://www.spiceandtea.com/drink-rimmers.html#sthash.iqx7Dov6.dpuf

See more at: http://www.spiceandtea.com/drink-rimmers.html#sthash.iqx7Dov6.dpuf


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