While I think most of us can agree Mexican cuisine & culture is something that can be enjoyed at all times, Cinco de Mayo is a great excuse to gather around a bowl of guacamole and “¡Salud!” with a nice ice-cold beverage. But first, it’s only fair that in order to participate you should know the history behind the holiday:
TL;DR- It’s a day Mexico celebrates their heritage along with their unexpected defeat over the French army in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Now you’ve been properly indoctrinated, it’s time to get back to the drinks! Despite the fact COVID-19 has altered our fiesta plans this year, I wanted to help make sure the celebration continues. True to my style of event design, I’m always searching for opportunities to take tradition and add a unique spin to it. With the help of Buffalo’s local mixologists, here are some tequila and mezcal drink recipes to expand outside of margaritas and really shake-up your Cinco De Mayo!
Kicking us off is Cameron Rector who owned and operated Vera, one of the establishments that really helped usher in the cocktail era of Buffalo. “While most people are thinking tequila for Cinco de Mayo, I always grabbed the Mezcal, the true national spirit of Mexico,” said Rector. “Mezcal’s tend to have a smokier earthier flavor than tequila due to the different processes in distillation, different agave used, and area of production.” He presented me with The Smoke Monster which is his variation on the Last Word. “The green Chartreuse adds a beautiful herbal balance to the smokey, earthy mezcal, and the peated scotch rinse.”
As they say, great minds think alike! Shawni Hogan, a local mixologist and cocktail photographer, also presented an interpretation of the Last Word. “Everyone who knows me knows I drink Last Word’s like it was my job,” shares Hogan. “During my stint behind the bar at Hotel Henry, a coworker introduced me to a riff of it…that was the day I discovered this bad boy,” referring to what was dubbed the Naked and Famous.
Ending with a double hitter is Jake Northrup who often shares photos of his original recipes on Instagram and can be spotted pouring at Panorama on Seven and SEAR Steakhouse. “Tequila is one of my favorite spirits,” says Northrup who’s unable to narrow it down to just one recipe. Starting with one of his originals called Honey Bun, “this cocktail is a culmination of tropical fruit and sweet Mexican tequila. Using pineapple juice as a sweetener balances the cocktail and adds a beautiful rich body to the drink.” Then he ends with a more of a classic, the Añejo Old Fashioned, stating “this is, by far, one of my favorite drinks ever and one I like to show off frequently.”
Do you think you’ll give some of these recipes a try? Leave a comment below if you do!
I also want to thank these members of the Buffalo hospitality community which is one of the most heavily impacted industries right now due to COVID-19. I encourage you to continue to support them by ordering curbside takeout from any local restaurants if you are still able to or purchasing a meal for our healthcare workers by donating to WNY Feeds the Front Line.