Cinco de Mayo isn’t exactly a traditional Mexican holiday. In fact, it was Mexican-Americans who first began honoring the country’s victory against France in the Battle of Puebla, which took place in 1862. Since the first festivities in southern border states like California in 1863, the holiday has become a day for mostly Americans to celebrate Mexican culture—which, of course, includes Mexican (or Mexican-American) food and drink.
While Margaritas have come to be associated with the holiday, there’s no shortage of agave spirit-based drinks you can enjoy on May 5th and throughout the year. From classics like the Paloma and Michelada to agave-fueled riffs like the Mezcal Negroni, here are 15 cocktails to make for Cinco de Mayo.
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 agave syrup (or a combination of both) is popular for a reason: It’s a delicious drink and it’s easy to make. (It’s great frozen, too.)
This classic beer cocktail calls for a Mexican lager, lime juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and plenty of spices. Garnish with a spiced salt rim or take your cues from Mexico City, where ever more over-the-top presentations are trending.
If you get more excited about tacos than Margaritas, this savory cocktail from bar pro Charlotte Voisey may just be your drink. She combines a lightly aged reposado tequila with fresh bell pepper juice, lime, honey syrup, and cilantro.
Oaxaca Old Fashioned
Created by famed bartender Phil Ward while he was working at New York City’s Death & Co, this cocktail helped kick off the mezcal craze in the U.S. The simple combination of reposado tequila, mezcal, agave nectar, and Angostura bitters is easy to re-create at home.
Continue to 5 of 15 below.
This simple combination of tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda has become wildly popular in Mexico and beyond since it debuted in the 1950s. Perfect for parties, it can be prepared right in the glass.
This ever-popular drink adds muddled jalapeño to the traditional mix of blanco tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, and agave syrup. Make the classic, or try a mezcal riff like the Smoke Follows Beauty.
Legendary bartender Jim Meehan created this fruity and smoky combination of mezcal, cucumber, passion fruit puree, lime juice, and ginger beer. The fruity and smoky Moscow Mule twist is ultra-refreshing.
This simple Paloma riff swaps blanco tequila for mezcal alongside grapefruit soda and lime juice. A spicy Tajín rim plays off the smoky notes of the spirit.Continue to 9 of 15 below.
Fans of flavored Margaritas may find a new favorite drink in this fruity mid-century classic from Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink. The refreshing cocktail combines reposado tequila with the black currant liqueur crème de cassis, lime juice, and ginger beer.
A Negroni might not be a classic Mexican drink, but Mexico’s most beloved spirit works surprisingly well with Campari and sweet vermouth. This recipe can also be easily scaled up for a crowd if you dilute the mixture with water before serving.
Why choose between beer and tequila? From bar pro Simon Ford comes this simple Margarita riff that combines tequila, lime juice, Cointreau, and a light Mexican beer like Modelo.
Tequila Espresso Martini
This Espresso Martini riff from Los Angeles bartender Karla Flores-Mercado combines blanco tequila with a Mexican coffee liqueur, coffee concentrate, amaro, and lemon oils. The result is an earthier and brighter take on the vodka classic.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
Naked & Famous
This modern classic takes the equal-parts formula of the Last Word for a mezcal-fueled spin. Bartender Joaquín Simó combines a particularly complex bottling of the spirit with Aperol, Yellow Chartreuse, and lime juice.
Ready Fire Aim
Honey-pineapple syrup accents mezcal and pineapple juice in this fruity sour from bartender Steve Schneider. Smoked chile bitters and a pink peppercorn garnish bring the heat.
Non-Alcoholic Spicy Margarita
Even if you’re not imbibing, you can still enjoy the flavors of a Margarita. Bar pro Natasha David created this savory-leaning zero-proof riff, combining fresh celery juice with lime, muddled jalapeño and cilantro, agave nectar, and salt.