Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Tequila & Mezcal Cocktails

11 Cocktails to Make for Cinco de Mayo

More than Margaritas. Although those are great too.

Pineapple Jalapeno Margarita
Pineapple Jalapeño Margarita Image:

 Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

Cinco de Mayo is, to many American drinkers, a day to celebrate Mexico through the copious ingestion of the country’s spirits. A couple of misconceptions about the holiday abound, however. First, it’s not Mexico’s Independence Day; that’s on September 16. Rather, Cinco de Mayo, or Fifth of May, celebrates the anniversary of the country’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla. Second, the day isn’t even an official Mexican holiday, and although celebrations take place, mostly in the state of Puebla, most Mexicans don’t really even celebrate the holiday and tend to find it odd that Americans use it as an excuse to stuff themselves on tacos and copiously imbibe.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t celebrate the holiday. We simply urge you to do so with quality drinks rather than an enormous quantity of them. 

These are 11 cocktails made with Mexican spirits, beer and/or mixers to make your Cinco de Mayo celebration appropriately festive.



  • Margarita

    Margarita

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    If there’s one drink you associate with Cinco de Mayo, it’s probably this one. The classic combination of tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur or simple syrup, or a split of them, as this recipe calls for, is popular for a reason: It’s a delicious drink and easy to make. (It’s great frozen, too.)

    Get the recipe.



  • Paloma

    Paloma

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    If you really want to celebrate Mexico, make the country’s favorite drink. This combination of tequila, lime juice and grapefruit soda is wildly popular in its home country, and you’re sure to love the refreshing mix too.

    Get the recipe.



  • Michelada

    Michelada

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    Beer is great on its own, but beer cocktails are even better. Turn your typical Mexican lager on its head with this spicy recipe, which calls for livening up the beer with hot sauce, lime juice and a few additional spices.

    Get the recipe.



  • Sangrita

    Sangrita

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    If you prefer to celebrate with tequila shots, make a batch of this savory concoction to serve on the side. Its complex flavors are a classic accompaniment to good tequila served neat. Just combine tomato, grapefruit, and orange and lime juices with Tabasco, then add a jalapeño for some spice. Let the mix stand so everything combines, then serve alongside your favorite tequila.

    Get the recipe.



    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • Oaxaca Old Fashioned

    Oaxaca Old Fashioned

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    Created by famed bartender Phil Ward while he was at NYC’s Death & Co, this cocktail, a simple combination of reposado tequila, mezcal, agave nectar and Angostura bitters, helped kick off the mezcal craze in the U.S. 

    Get the recipe.



  • Large-Format Mezcal Negroni

    Large Format Mezcal Negroni
    Public House Collective

    A Negroni might not be a classic Mexican drink, but swap in mezcal for the usual gin, and you’ll have a delicious party pleaser. Just combine equal parts mezcal, Campari and sweet vermouth in a large container with a bit of water and serve over ice, each glass garnished with an orange peel. 

    Get the recipe.



  • Palomita

    Palomita cocktail

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    Not into agave spirits? This interpretation of a Paloma will allow you to celebrate sans tequila. Here, vodka and lime juice get topped by Jarritos grapefruit soda in a glass with a vanilla-flecked salt rim for a gentler version of Mexico’s favorite drink.

    Get the recipe.



  • Spicy Margarita

    Spicy Margarita

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    This cocktail takes the classic and kicks up the spice, adding muddled jalapeño to the traditional mix of blanco tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and agave syrup. A salt rim and an extra jalapeño slice finish it off.

    Get the recipe.



    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • Ready Fire Aim

    Ready Fire Aim

    Steve Schneider

    Honey-pineapple syrup accents joven mezcal and lime and pineapple juices in this cocktail, which gets an extra punch from Bittermens Hellfire habanero shrub, which accentuates the sweetness while simultaneously adding a layer of heat.

    Get the recipe.



  • Oaxacan Punch

    Oaxacan Punch

    Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    Bittersweet Averna amaro counters mezcal’s herbaceous smokiness in this large-format recipe, joined by agave nectar and grapefruit and lemon juices, all topped with ginger beer and stirred together in a punch bowl to make a complexly flavored crowd-pleaser. 

    Get the recipe.



  • Pineapple Jalapeño Margarita

    Pineapple Jalapeno Margarita

     Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

    Muddled pineapple and jalapeño make fast flavor friends in this Margarita twist, which also calls for reposado tequila, triple sec, and lime and pineapple juices. A sugar-and-black-pepper rim and garnish of additional pineapple and jalapeño pull it all together in a festive and flavorful way.

    Get the recipe.