Due to the simple fact that we Americans have to make just about every holiday an excuse to drink, I’m sure that most of you are well aware that Cinco de Mayo is this weekend. That means parties, sombreros, and tequila drinks galore. And no, for the last time, it does not mark Mexico’s Independence Day (that’s September 16th); it’s a celebration and remembrance of Mexican fighters taking down the French forces at The Battle of Puebla in 1862. Use that one to impress friends and potential one-night-stands on Sunday.
I digress. On to the drinks!
Tired of celebrating with the standard margarita, I decided to concoct a new tequila-based libation. I borrowed the idea of the “Beergarita” — a mixture of Mexican lager beer, limeade or sour mix, and tequila — and gave it a sweet and spicy twist by replacing the lager with ginger beer, and adding fresh ginger and jalapeno. Ginger and reposado (slightly aged, amber-colored) tequila are a great flavor pairing in this Ginger Beergarita and the addition of the jalapeno enhances the spiciness of the ginger — which can easily be omitted from the recipe if you’re not a fan of heat.
Not that this would be the first thing on your mind when mixing a drink on Cinco, but the Ginger Beergarita also has some great health benefits. Ginger has natural immune system-boosting properties and helps to fight of certain types of cancer cells with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects. Bonus: ginger has been a natural remedy for migraines and nausea, so this drink may actually reduce your hangover on May 6th.
So while celebrating the rich culture and heritage of Mexico (and the time they kicked some French ass) by guzzling far too much cerveza and tequila, try out the following exotic tipples this weekend.
Makes 1 drink
1/4 jalapeno, finely chopped (use the seeds for extra heat)
1 teaspoon chopped or grated fresh ginger
2 oz reposado tequila (I used Familia Camarena reposado tequila)
1 oz orange liqueur (triple sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
Cubed or crushed ice, as needed
3 oz ginger beer (I used Fever Tree)
Optional: agave nectar or simple syrup, to taste
In a large glass or cocktail shaker, muddle the lime, jalapeno and ginger. Add the tequila, orange liqueur, and a handful of ice. Stir or shake vigorously to combine. If using a cocktail shaker, pour mixture into a glass (do not strain it). Top with ginger beer and stir. Add more lime juice or sweetener if needed and serve.
I also recommend the following fusion cocktail as it combines tequila and red wine (trust me, it works), and is perfect for the sangria-lover in your group.
Makes 1 drink
Recipe adapted from Familia Camarena Tequila (tequilacamarena.com)
1 1/2 oz Camarena Silver Tequila
1 1/2 oz dry, lighter-bodied red wine (Pinot Noir, Beaujolais Nouveau, Grenache)
1/2 lime, juiced (save the other half for garnish)
1/2 oz agave nectar (or more, to taste)
2 oz soda water
In a stemless wine glass, mix all ingredients except the grapefruit soda. Add ice, top with soda and stir. Garnish wine lime wedge.