With Cinco de Mayo just one day away, we’re already busy chopping cilantro and chiles for our favorite salsas and guacamoles to serve with big bowls of crisp, salty tortilla chips. But when it comes to the drinks menu, there are too many craveable Mexican-inspired cocktails to pick just one. From tart margaritas to fruity aguas frescas and spicy eye-openers like the michelada, Mexico’s many drinks are as vivid, flavorful and satisfying as the foods they accompany. Here are some of our favorite Mexican and Mexican-inspired refreshers for your Cinco celebration.
No tricks here — just the staples of a classic margarita: Tequila, lime juice, orange-flavored liqueur, salt and sugar. Add a touch of homemade simple syrup if you like yours on the sweeter side.
Ree Drummond adds all the components of a traditional margarita to her blender, along with canned mango and ice, for a tropical take on the beloved Mexican cocktail. Don’t forget to decorate your rims — in this case, sugar works best.
Red Wine Sangria
Red Spanish table wine is the base for this fruit-filled sangria. Mix in brandy, Triple Sec, orange juice and pomegranate juice with sliced fruits, then let it sit for the flavors to fully develop.
For a lighter, fruitier alternative to traditional red wine sangria, try Rachael Ray’s white wine version. Take the time to prepare it in the morning so the sangria has several hours to develop its fruity flavor. Pull it out when dinner is ready to serve that evening.
Trisha Yearwood bridges the gap between tequila and wine with her frosty blend of frozen sangria and frozen margarita; just spoon a few layers of each into a margarita glass and it’s ready to sip.
Looking for something a bit more indulgent? This creamy drink of sweet rice-milk tinged with cinnamon is popular in Mexico and ideal for those who aren’t up for a night of tequila cocktails. Some people like to add rum to their horchata, though it’s excellent (and traditionally served) without any booze.
Melon-Mint Agua Fresca
These light and fruity refreshers sold by street vendors throughout Mexico are traditionally nonalcoholic as well, but Marcela Valladolid spikes her minty cantaloupe version with a little bit of vodka anyway. The result? A pleasantly sweet cocktail for a Cinco de Mayo toast.
If you’ve never had a michelada, think of a Bloody Mary but with a beer base. This cocktail gets its kick from hot sauce and chili powder with a refreshing squeeze of lime. In Mexico, micheladas are considered a remedy for hangovers, so you may want to save this one for Seis de Mayo.
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