Margaritas are great and all, but sometimes you've just got to think outside of the traditional lime-kissed, salt-rimmed box. Thankfully, Cinco de Mayo is here, giving us the perfect reason to experiment with festive non-margarita Cinco de Mayo drink recipes that call for much more than your typical tequila-salt-lime ingredients.
That's right. These five Cinco de Mayo-themed craft cocktails will let you get, well, crafty. So get ready to expand your libation loving mind, and prepare to add a few atypical items to that May 5 grocery list. Think grapefruit soda. Think aloe liqueur. Think blue agave-infused beer aged on tequila barrel staves. I know what you're thinking, and yes, tequila-inspired lager is totally a thing, and it's a refreshing springtime dish best served cold — ice cold, mixed with muddled strawberries, freshly torn basil, and your go-to tequila.
Not only do these party-pleasing cocktails travel well (oh hello, transportable free-flow mason jar with pouring lid), they also pair fabulously with classic Mexican cuisine. Whether you're indulging in mango-cilantro guacamole or coconut lime mahi mahi tacos with tequila soaked watermelon salsa, at least one of these five craft cocktails will be sure to satiate your thirst for fresh ingredients and fine liquor. Just don't be alarmed when partygoers gather for an exuberant "¡Salud!" to cocktail innovation by night's end.
And trust me, with these delectable recipes in hand, I guarantee no one will miss those margaritas.
1. The Paloma
This classic tequila-based cocktail is refreshingly simple — just mix grapefruit soda, fresh lime, and salt with your favorite white tequila. I recommend Partida Blanco Tequila. Garnish with a lime wedge, and party on. Follow the step-by-step video recipe here, courtesy of liquor.com and Jacques Bezuidenhout of San Francisco's Eastside West Restaurant & Bar.
2. The Temptress
Inspired by and brewed for partygoers, Oculto beer is Anheuser-Busch's latest creation that combines the smoothness of a lager with the bright citrus flavor of blue agave. It's no surprise that this tequila-inspired beer mixes beautifully with fresh strawberries, basil, lime, and you guessed it... tequila. First, muddle two strawberries with a sprig of fresh basil and a splash of agave nectar. Then add 1/2 ounce tequila, 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice, and 3/4 ounce agave nectar. Shake well, pour over ice, top with an Oculto float, garnish with a fresh lime wedge, and behold... The Temptress.
3. Saint Ambrose Cup
Created by Jeff Bell, mixologist at the iconic Manhattan speakeasy Please Don't Tell, the Saint Ambrose Cup's lemony-cucumber layers create a lovely light contrast to its bold tequila-Campari base. But if you're not Beyonce and if you didn't make a reservation at least six months in advance, chances are you won't be able to enjoy this revitalizing concoction barside, so feel free to seize the day and follow the 5-ingredient, 3-step recipe here.
4. Cilantro Julep
Leave it to Patrón to create a first-class Cinco de Mayo tequila cocktail. First, muddle freshly torn cilantro leaves in a mixing glass. Then add two ounces Patrón Añejo, one ounce pineapple juice, 1/2 ounce lime juice, and a 1/4 ounce amber agave nectar. Shake, strain over ice, and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and a pineapple wedge. And if you're interested in similar out-of-the-box tequila-based cocktails, head on over to Patrón for their uniquely delicious list.
5. Aloe You Long Time
The Arrogant Butcher's master mixologist Mat Snapp uses Maestro Dobel tequila and chareau — an all-natural California aloe liqueur — to create this bright and balanced craft cocktail. Take a page out of Mat's book and DIY this festive elixir at home by combining 1 1/2 ounces Maestro Dobel with 3/4 ounces chareau, 3/4 ounces simple syrup, 1/2 ounce lime juice, and 1/2 ounce lemon juice. Vigorously shake and strain mixture over ice. Garnish with fresh lime and lemon wedges.
Images: Fotolia; Partida Tequila; Getty Images; Campari; Patrón; Mat Snapp/The Arrogant Butcher