August 11, 2022

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the United States than in Mexico — mostly as an excuse to have some drinks and guacamole, rather than celebrate an unlikely win against French invaders in the 1860s. But right now, you might be craving a cold, festive beverage. So we’ve pulled together a few of our simplest cocktails for Cinco de Mayo and some tasty food pairings from our recipe archives.

5 festive cocktails and food pairings for Cinco de Mayo

[You probably already have everything you need to mix up great cocktails]5 festive cocktails

About festive
A festival is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community and its religion or culture. It is often marked as a local or national holiday, meal, or Eid. A festival constitutes a typical case of globalization, as well as the high culture-low culture interrelationship.

Next to religion and folklore, a significant origin is agricultural. Food is such a vital resource that many festivals are associated with harvest time. Religious commemoration and thanksgiving for good harvests are blended in events that take place in autumn, such as Halloween in the northern hemisphere and Easter in the southern.

Festivals often serve to fulfill specific communal purposes, especially in regard to commemoration or thanking to the gods and goddesses. Celebrations offer a sense of belonging for religious, social, or geographical groups, contributing to group cohesiveness. They may also provide entertainment, which was particularly important to local communities before the advent of mass-produced entertainment.

Festivals that focus on cultural or ethnic topics also seek to inform community members of their traditions; the involvement of elders sharing stories and experience provides a means for unity among families.

In Ancient Greece and Rome, festivals such as the Saturnalia were closely associated with social organization and political processes as well as religion. In modern times, festivals may be attended by strangers such as tourists, who are attracted to some of the more eccentric or historical ones.

The Philippines is one example of a modern society with many festivals, as each day of the year has at least one specific celebration. There are more than 42,000 known major and minor festivals in the country, most of which are specific to the barangay (village) level.

5 festive cocktails and food pairings for Cinco de Mayo

About cocktails
A cocktail is an alcoholic mixed drink, which is either a combination of spirits, or one or more spirits mixed with other ingredients such as fruit juice, flavored syrup, or cream. There are various types of cocktails, based on the number and kind of ingredients added. The origins of the cocktail are debated.

Strawberry-Jalapeño Non-a-Rita (or Margarita), above.  Tequila is optional for this here margarita. Frankly, you don’t even need it. I loved this zero-proof cocktail centered on something you may have ready in your fridge: strawberry preserves. Pair with Chile Rellenos for a double dose of peppers.

5 festive cocktails and food pairings for Cinco de Mayo


(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Oaxaca Old-Fashioned. If you like a traditional Old-Fashioned, try this twist that spirits columnist M. Carrie Allan considers a modern classic. Four ingredients (five if you count the orange peel garnish) give you a concentrated, smoky flavor. Serve with Black Bean Tortas With Chipotle Mayo for a casual dinner.


(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Classic Paloma. If you can get a good quality grapefruit soda, let it do the heavy lifting for this light fruity beverage. Keep the fruit flavors running throughout your entire meal with Black Bean and Corn Taquitos with a bright, mango salsa.


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Mezcal Margarita. This margarita is famous! And refreshing. Serve with decadent and adaptable Mushroom Quesadillas.


(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Sangrita de Fruta. Sangrita is a nonalcoholic chaser you can serve with tequila. It usually has tomato juice — like a bloody mary — but it has been left out here to let the fruit flavors come through. Serve with bright, zingy Green Chilaquiles to lean into the brunch vibes.

More from Voraciously: 

Snacking menus to pair with movie night, a backyard picnic or a fancy night in

Dalgona coffee is sweet, milky and pretty. It’s also not for coffee lovers.

Toss together pickled vegetables for a colorful, one-skillet antipasto chicken dinner

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