Cinco de Mayo is my favorite “American” holiday, even before Christmas. I have never had an unpleasant one. Tequila, piñata’s, rowdy frat boys buying and taking shots, bad hats, it’s what good times are made of.
Low Brow- Designed for budgeters and college students
For lowbrow parties, the most important elements are the dress of the host, the food choice and the never-ending inexpensive tequila based beverage. This has been my style of Cinco de Mayo party throwing for many years. It works just fine and makes for epic partying.
Décor: 1 Obnoxiously Large Sombrero. It will probably be your most expensive purchase. It needs to be large and in charge. Velvet, colorful and embroidered. If you’re not lucky enough to have an authentic Mexican sombrero, hit Google and find one! It will excite guest and get everyone in the spirit, especially since decorations are not in the budget.
Please note that this recipe is made to taste (no exact measurements here) and it won’t last long so make plenty of it if you’re anticipating a large turnout.
For a smaller party, maybe less than 20 people, you only need about 2-3 cans of diced tomatoes, specifically Rotel, 2 packages of ground turkey and the 5lb block of Velveeta cheese. Cook the turkey and season it…salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder will do. Cut the cheese up into cubes to help it with melting, and mix in the diced Rotel tomatoes…include the juice. Then turn the fire down and let it cook, low and slow. Won’t take long at all. To keep it warm throughout the party, throw it in a Crock-Pot. It will disappear, I assure you.
Beverage: Tequila Midday
Do not drink a lot of this if you have to work the next day. It will trick you! This is my best friends’ take on a Tequila Sunrise, except instead of Grenadine or Cherry Juice you use Cranberry Juice.
Tequila? Well you could be a complete jerk and use the all time throat incinerator, Montezuma or try and be a little sweeter and gentler to your friends and use Sauza. Nearly every Latin restaurant makes this there house tequila so be kind.
This is also made to taste, so taste it…a little, so you’re not totally drunk before your guests arrive. For strong drinks, 3 parts tequila to every 1 part of cranberry juice and orange juice. You can adjust this for stronger or lighter versions. Add ice and serve.
Since you’re the host and you’ll most likely want to entertain, you should try and serve this from a large 5 gallon Igloo container so guests can serve themselves. For many years we did not have access to these so we used the 5 Gallon “Crystal” water dispenser. It worked great and made our friends laugh.
High Brow- Specifically designed for the classy
Décor: A piñata of course! Filled to the brim with delicious candied treats or loaded with inappropriate knick knacks.
Food: Catering Baby!
No one wants to be side tracked with a lot of food preparation, so pay someone else. Pura Vida or Eclipse di Luna or even a few dozen of the delicious fried chicken tacos from Frogs. These restaurants make delicious bite sized tapas for you and your guests to snack on and they are not that expensive. And yes, I know Eclipse di Luna is Spanish, but it’s scrumptious.
Beverage: Margaritas and Sipping Tequila
If you’re super fancy, you’ll want to have high-end sipping tequila available. You will want to make sure the label says “Añejo.” It is rested for at least a year in regular barrels and less than three years in small oak barrels. It’s smoother and doesn’t scorch your throat. Excellent choices are Herradura and Tres Generaciones (Editor’s Favorite: Don Julio 1942).
For traditional margaritas, opt for fresh lime juice and agave nectar instead of pre-made lime juice and triple sec; fewer calories and better quality taste.
And since you can afford it, send your friends with mini baby bottles of Patrón. They generally cost no more than $3.00 a piece and make your friends feel extra special.
Honestly speaking though, whichever route you take, you’re sure to have a good time. Tequila brings out the best in us all.
Maximillian’s Skinny Margarita
2oz blanco tequila (El Jimador is a cheap but tasty tequila, and Don Julio is a great one if you want something more premium)
Splash of Soda Water
1oz Agave Nectar
1oz Lime Juice (fresh, not concetrate or pre-squeezed. You can buy fresh lime juice from most grocery stores and health food stores)
In a shaker add ice, tequila and agave nectar. Take the lime juice and cut it with equal parts water (fresh lime juice is very tart, so if you like tart, don’t cut with as much water). Shake and pour, and top with a small splash of soda water. Mix to taste, so if you want it sweeter, use more agave nectar. This drink is low calories and very fresh. Enjoy!