In early May, many of us partake in Cinco de Mayo celebrations, whether they’re at a friend’s home, a local restaurant, or bar. No celebration is complete with tequila, so here are a few fun facts and some new recipes inspired by my travels around California and Mexico.
A brief history of tequila
Tequila was first produced in the 16th century near the city of Tequila, which was not officially established until 1666. The Aztecs made a fermented beverage from the agave plant, prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1521. In the 17th century, King Carlos IV of Spain granted the Cuervo family the first license to make and sell tequila. Tequila was first exported to the United States in the late 1800s.
Keep reading for more info about the different types of tequila and some of my favorite margarita recipes.
What kind of tequila should I try?
There are three major types of tequila, based on oak barrel aging. They are: Blanco, Reposado and Anejo (Anejo being the darkest and aged the longest). Tequila tasting is a great way to start your Cinco de Mayo party. Many prefer the darker types when drinking it straight, but we are most familiar with blanco, which is typically used in margaritas and other mixed drinks. There are so many grades and tastes that many have not experienced!
My Favorite Margarita Drinks
JALAPENO POMEGRANATE MARGARITA
This was inspired by the margarita at the Border Grill in Los Angeles. If you like spice, this is a great way to enjoy something different and slow down your pace because it takes longer to consume.
- 2 oz Blanco Tequila (try Milagro or Cazadores)
- 1/2 lime, squeezed
- 1 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec
- 2 oz Pomegranate juice
- 1 tablespoon muddled jalapeno syrup (directions below)
Muddled Jalapeno Syrup: Place 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Slice one jalapeno pepper and add to saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar is completely dissolved and syrup is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. This will make more than needed and can be used for additional drinks.
Directions: Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well. Serve in a tall glass with ice and garnish with a jalapeno slice.
For those of us who just can’t get enough ginger flavor.
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 oz tequila (for a change, try Magave Reposado or Patron Citronage Orange)
- 1 oz Cointreau
- 1/2 lime, squeezed
Directions: Pour ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake well. Serve in a martini glass, or hi-ball glass with ice.
For those of you who prefer beer, try the Michelada recipe on our Beer Blog here.