Cinco de Mayo is a time to get drunk off of cheap well-tequila, wear a sombrero and mustache, and scream “Ay Ya Yay” at the top of your lungs at every opportunity… no, nope, fuck that, it’s not! If your planning on having Cinco de Mayo celebrations be aware of what you’re doing. Be aware of what it actually represents and how to properly celebrate the 5th of May. And keep in mind, when it comes to celebrating Cinco, the first thing you should do is to patronize local, authentic, and traditional Mexican owned businesses (that should go without saying).
Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence day (that falls on September 16th). Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of a small town in Mexico’s unlikely victory of what at the time was one of the most powerful armies, the French who were occupying. In Mexico, the celebration is more ceremony than “fiesta” (also don’t say fiesta), and it is mostly celebrated in the city of Puebla. It’s not a big drunk-fest that it has morphed into here in the United States.
So now that you have a little background on the day, how should you celebrate it? Well for starters, I am not going to say one shouldn’t have fun. We all love fun and here at Aztec Fox we especially love when cultures are shared. But what we don’t like are the offensive shit that gets thrown around for laughs…
If you’re going to have an event do it the right way. For one, do not provide ponchos, serapes, sombreros, fake mustaches, and for the love of god, do not have maracas! How did that ever become a thing? Maracas are not even a Mexican instrument.
Food can be a great option, it’s okay to put out chips and salsa, guacamole is always amazing, as long as you do not have cheap crappy nachos. (While we are talking about nachos, stop saying “queso”, queso just means cheese, the term you’re looking for is “nacho cheese” which is actually just a cheese based sauce). There are a variety of Mexican dishes that are amazing, do not just go with a stereotypic item, don’t be afraid to branch out and try nopales, or flor de calabaza, and if you have the time chiles rellenos are always great.
Then there is booze, what is Cinco without margaritas and coronas? Well for one, you are missing out on tons of incredible drinks. Margaritas can be amazing but you should always serve a proper margarita, that means no sugar. If you even think about adding sugar to your margarita, you’ve done it wrong. The salted rim balances out the sourness of the lime and makes for the perfect margarita. Also, margaritas should always be served on the rocks, frozen margaritas are not a traditional Mexican drink. And most importantly when it comes to margaritas, make sure to use a proper tequila. Well-tequila most likely is not tequila but mescal, Tequila, like champagne, must come from a specific region in Mexico. Don’t cheap out on tequila, we recommend Don Julio Anejo, it is pricer but if you okay with Patron, you will fall in love with Don Julio Anejo.
Most importantly when it comes to Mexican cocktails, make sure to open up and try new drinks. Our favorite is the Paloma, a cocktail made from tequila, grapefruit, lime and club soda, which is perfect for late spring and the heat of summer. If you’re looking for something a little sweeter try adding rum to a Horchata. And if none of those seem appealing try going with a twist on an old favorite with the tequila sour.
When it comes to beer there are plenty of options for any beer lover. Coronas have become the Budweiser of Mexican beers. We suggest expanding your palate and trying options like Victoria, Bohemia, Pacifico, and Sol. If you’re a fan of red beers or bloody marys, we suggest a Michelada, which consists of a light Mexican beer with Clamato, lime, spices, and peppers, they are great for brunches and perfect with meals al fresco.
So to recap do not do anything questionable. If it seems questionable, don’t do it. If you want to properly celebrate and have a good time, try expanding out to other parts of Mexican culture that you normally wouldn’t try. Visit local Mexican businesses and try new things, because if you’re going to celebrate keep in mind that culture matters.