Collins or Highball Glass
Salt Rim (optional)
2 oz. Tequila (preferably Reposado)
½ oz. Lime Juice
Top Grapefruit Soda
Lime Wheel or Grapefruit Wedge Garnish (optional)
This coming Monday (May 5) is Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over France in the 1862 Battle of Puebla, during which 2,000 poorly supplied Mexican soldiers, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, defeated 6,000 of Napoleon’s troops. Nearly 500 French troops were killed, but the Mexican army lost fewer than 100 men. Although the battle of Puebla was not an important strategic victory, the symbolism of their triumph over the larger and better equipped army boosted the morale of the Mexican army and revitalized the resistance movement.
Cinco de Mayo has become a popular celebration of Mexican culture in the United States, especially in cities with large Mexican-American populations, like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston. Chicano activists in the 1960s helped this celebration gain national recognition as part of an effort to promote Chicano pride by emphasizing the victory of indigenous Mexicans over European invaders. However, Cinco de Mayo remains a relatively minor event in Mexico. It is not a federal holiday, and any major celebration is usually confined to the state of Puebla, where the battle occurred. It is still, however, recognized in other parts of the country with military parades, battle reenactments, and other festivities. While Cinco de Mayo is frequently confused with Mexico’s Independence Day, independence was declared more than fifty years before the battle of Puebla. Known as the Grito de Dolores, Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16.
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, this week’s cocktail feature is the most popular cocktail in Mexico (which, contrary to popular belief, is not a margarita). Although the origin of the cocktail, whose name means “dove” in Spanish, is not well-known, some people believe that it was named after a popular Mexican folk song from the early 1860s.
To make the drink, rim a Collins or Highball glass with salt, if you wish, then fill with ice. Add tequila and lime juice. If you don’t rim the glass with salt, throw a pinch into the drink itself. Top with grapefruit soda, such as Squirt, Jarritos (a Mexican brand), or Fresca. If you can’t find grapefruit soda, use club or lemon-lime soda and fresh grapefruit juice. Some recipes list a garnish, while others don’t. Either a lime wheel or a grapefruit wedge can be used as a garnish.