Posts Tagged ‘tequila’

Celebrate Stay-at-Home Cinco de Mayo in Style

Cinco de Mayo is an interesting holiday. While it commemorates a battle that was fought in Mexico, Mexico doesn’t celebrate it. And what’s even more perplexing is that outside of Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is often confused with Mexican Independence Day, which is actually on September 16. For those of you interested in the origins of this crazy fiesta day, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Batalla de Puebla fought on May 5, 1862 in which the small town of Puebla defeated invading French troops.

Courtesy: Morton Beebe/CORBIS

So, why is Cinco de Mayo such a big deal north of the border? The origins of its celebration began in California in 1863 as a symbol of solidarity with Mexico against France. And, Americans being Americans, we love having a reason to celebrate.

Since we can’t join our friends at a Mexican restaurant or share a toast at our neighborhood bar this year, we’ll just have to bring the party home.

Spice up Your Space and Your Energy

Prep your home with the red, white and green colors of the Mexican flag using bandanas, towels, streamers or anything you might have on hand. Involve the kids in making a colorful piñata that you can fill with candy or small toys. If you have some balloons, any colors will work!

Set the mood with an all-day Instagram fiesta put on by Solmar Hotels & Resorts @Solmarhotelsandresorts. Through a series of IG stories dubbed “An Ode to the Avocado,” you’ll get the intel for making avocado-inspired facials and typical Mexican recipes and cocktails where avocados are king.

Add an educational dimension to the fiesta with a free online cooking class. TakeLessons TV will show you how to cook a lime chicken taco bowl with sweet corn and avocado salsa. You’ll also mix up a pineapple-mint agua fresca drink.

You’ll need a soundtrack for the evening, and Spotify has some great Cinco de Mayo playlists. I especially like the one put together by sassyshannah — it will keep you rocking into the wee hours —  as well as listanauta’s compilation of traditional Mexican tunes.

Visit Your Favorite Bar Virtually or Bring a Restaurant Home and Support the Hospitality Industry

If a bar date on Cinco de Mayo is more your speed, Virtual Cheers invites you to create your “night in” while also supporting the hospitality industry. By downloading a Zoom background from your favorite watering hole, you “purchase a round,” with all proceeds going to employee relief efforts. In the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, Latin-American bar Leyenda offers a paloma, a refreshing tequila cocktail with a grapefruit-flavored soda mixer.

Tanteo Tequila + The Wayland’s “Party in Place” will deliver a margarita party package in NYC in concert with cocktail-caterer Cocktails in Motion, keeping you safe at home while also benefiting hospitality workers via The LEE Initiative.

Show your support to local restaurants offering to bring the fiesta to you. The East End’s Bistro Ete and K Pasa will put together a takeout package covering the entire Cinco de Mayo celebration from margaritas to dessert.

A Stay-at-Home Trip to Margaritaville

No Cinco de Mayo celebration would be complete with some sort of margarita.

There are many traditional margarita recipes using either fresh limes or Rose’s lime juice. I’ve listed some of the ones devised by mixologists at hotels and restaurants that go beyond tradition to inspire you to invent your own new favorites with ingredients that won’t be impossible to find.

You can also opt for a pre-made margarita mix like Lt Blender’s Margarita in a Bag. Just add tequila and Triple Sec or Cointreau and freeze the entire bag to make a slushy margarita.

This video from Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya shows you all the right steps to create the classic version.

PATRON offers a twist using coconut and cucumber:

1.5 oz. PATRÓN Silver

2 oz. coconut water

1/2 oz. fresh lime juice

½  oz. simple syrup

7 thin slices of cucumber, 3 for garnish


For something fruitier, try a Guavarita, a specialty at Hotel Xcaret Mexico:

1.5 oz. guava nectar

3 oz. tequila reposado

garnish with a lime wedge


Mustang Harry’s gives the margarita an Irish spin with the O’Rita:

2 oz. El Tesoro silver tequila

1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice

1 oz. simple syrup

1/2 oz. Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey

To garnish, turn half a lime husk inside-out to create a “shot glass,” fill with Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey and carefully set on top

My smoky favorite is a Mezcalita that substitutes mezcal for tequila. Add pineapple juice, muddle a piece of roasted pineapple (if you have it), sprinkle in a bit of Cointreau and rim the glass with Tajin, the classic Mexican chili, salt and lime mix (you can order it on Amazon.)

Mezcal Manhattan

Or make it smoky, sweet and bitter with a Mezcal Manhattan from La Esquina NYC:

2 oz. Doña Vega Espadín mezcal

1 oz. sweet Vermouth

3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Garnish with an orange peel, maraschino cherry or brandy cherry

Bring on the Food

You can create a Mexican-inspired meal with these four dishes from chefs in North America:

Guacamole is a must-have starter at any Cinco de Mayo fiesta. Solmar Hotels & Resorts shares this recipe for a version with a kick: one ripe avocado, chili pepper, ¼ cup of onion, half a tablespoon of crushed garlic, chopped cilantro, two tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.


Serious Eats’ Mexican street corn (elote) is the perfect side salad

Mexican street corn

Mexican Fajitas with Red Sauce and Avocado, courtesy of Velas Resorts, are easy to make with ingredients that you likely already have in your cabinet

For non-meat eaters, food writer ChihYu Smith offers this delicious Paleo recipe for Fish Tacos

Teach Me, Please and Feed Me

If staying at home has made you kind of of lazy and you’d rather have someone else do most of the work, sign up for this margarita making class and happy hour. All you’ll need to do is supply your own tacos.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo has that covered for you, too. In the spirit of #TakeoutTuesdays and #TacoTuesday, Jose Cuervo is offering to pick up the tab for thousands of taco orders nationwide on Cinco de Mayo. Just tweet a photo of your receipt with the hashtags #CincotoGo and #CuervoContest to @JoseCuervo to be eligible.

And, finally, since this really is a holiday revolving around tequila, you’ll need to know the proper way to taste and drink the potent spirit. Javier Moreno Gomez, tequila and wine sommelier at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, offers these tips:

Grand Residences Riviera Cancun

To taste the subtleties of tequila, drink it in a wine glass.

Similar to the methods used for wine and other spirits, the basic tasting method is swirl, sniff, sip and swallow.

Check the color; there will be noticeable differences in a reposado or añejo. While color doesn’t affect the flavor, the density or hue can suggest the amount of wood in the tequila and hint towards its complexities.

Swirl the tequila. Look for the legs, the tears of the agave. These suggest essential oils in the tequila and the presence of alcohol. If the tears fall quickly they have less alcohol but if the tears fall slowly you have more alcohol. Swirling the liquid also releases some of the molecules into the air.

Tequila has more alcohol than wine. Different parts of the tequila will have different aromas. Tequila is known to have 600 different aromas including citrus, mint, freshly cut grass, floral, honey, oak, almond, vanilla, butterscotch, chocolate, leather and caramel.

Sip a small amount and hold the tequila in your mouth for about 10 seconds while sucking in a bit of air. Move it around to get it over your tongue, and suck in some air over top of the tequila to bring the aromas up to your nose. Breathe out through your nose before swallowing. There are different taste zones on your tongue — four specific areas for salty, sweet, bitter and sour. Have the tequila wash over the entire tongue.

Swallow and savor the finish and aftertaste. Remember that everything you eat before a sip will affect the taste of the tequila.


Bourbon, Rum, Tequila, Vodka and Whiskey Bars

It’s time to move on to our next set of summer cocktail celebrations in the second exploration of the city’s single liquor bar craze.  Here are some fabulous one-note venues that will satisfy your taste for something a little heavier than bitters or champagne.


Blue Smoke: If you can pull yourself away from the heavenly smell of barbeque, head straight to the bar and be wowed by the extensive bourbon list. Those feeling overwhelmed by the selection can opt for the bourbon flights including one ounce tastes of Basil Hayden’s, Blanton’s, Russell’s Reserve, Jefferson’s Reserve, and Blue Smoke Single Barrel.

116 East 27th Street; 212-447-7733;

Blue Smoke

Fette Sau: This Brooklyn hotspot is truly deserving of its repeated “Best BBQ in NYC” designation, but it should be equally recognized for its selection of “America’s Native Spirit.” Sit at the bar or grab a picnic table and show your New York pride while enjoying Hudson Baby Bourbon, the first bourbon to be distilled in New York.

354 Metropolitan Avenue (Brooklyn); 718-963-3404;

Fette Sau


Cienfuegos: Step into this Cuban-style speakeasy and be transformed into a world of pinks and greens where the rum steals the show. Rums hail from Barbados, Martinique, Fiji, and Guyana—to name a few. Bring some friends along and make sure to order any of the punch bowls with recommendations including the Isla Punch and the Peach Jam. Each of the three-selection rum flights includes specialties aged to perfection such as the High Roller with Ron Zacapa Centerario 25-year, Mount Gay 1703 Old Cask selection, and El Dorado Vintage Reserve 25-year.

95 Avenue A; 212-614-6818;



La Biblioteca: The basement of Richard Sandoval’s Zengo may call out to bookworms, but instead of finding shelves of the classics, explore more than 400 varieties of tequila. Take notes on your favorites while lounging over the wooden library tables or purchase your favorite bottle and store it in your own tequila locker for up to six months. Show your library card to retrieve your bottle and have it served with homemade sangrita or a shaker, sour mix, and salt to design your own margarita. Brush up on your tequila studies on Tuesday nights at 5pm while meeting ambassadors from different distilleries.

622 Third Avenue; 212-808-8110;

La Biblioteca

Mayahuel: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo every day at Mayahuel and gain a fine appreciation for tequila. The dark and sexy design is complemented by the smoky Mezcals as well as the inventive tequila-featured cocktails, punches and flights. For an authentic agave experience, try any of the sotol, blanco, reposado, or añejo selections. Traditional bar fare and bites take on a Mexican twist with palomitas (popcorn with lime, cotija cheese, and ancho chili) and croquetas (black bean and plaintain with roasted red pepper or chorizo and cheese smoked tomato).

304 East 6th Street; 212-253-5888;



Russian Vodka Room: In this Theater District favorite, choose from 53 different featured vodkas or be adventurous and try the Russian Vodka Room’s homemade flavor-infused vodkas. The brave at heart can try the horseradish or garlic, pepper, and dill vodkas. A traditional Russian menu accompanies the vodka, with highlights including the Gravlox with potato pancakes, assorted caviar selections, and pan seared veal blintzes.

265 West 52nd Street; 212-307-5835;

Russian Vodka Room


Brandy Library: This TriBeCa favorite does boast a menu with almost any spirit you can think of, but its whiskey offerings are especially impressive. Browse through the 21-page whiskey menu online if you fear the anxiety coming on — you’ll find whiskeys from all over the world including selections from India and Japan, definitely enough to make your head spin without even a sip. Make sure to check in with any of the librarians for recommendations and suggestions.

25 North Moore Street; 212-226-5545;

Brandy Library:

Whiskey Tavern: Whiskey Tavern brings the feel of an authentic tavern to Chinatown with its old wooden booths and floors. Come for the game and enjoy your favorite whiskey with some traditional pub fare. True whiskey lovers should bravely order the pickle back, a shot of whiskey accompanied by a shot of pickle juice.

79 Baxter Street; 212-374-9119;

Whiskey Tavern

Best Single-Liquor Bars in New York City

As the cold weather arrives, it’s a lovely time to cozy up indoors with your favorite cocktail in hand.  Here are some of New York City’s specialty bars, where you can find your favorite spirit with both familiar and unfamiliar choices.

More on Best Single-Liquor Bars in New York City

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