Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Today, people all over the world, especially in the U.S., are celebrating the Mexican victory over the French army in the Battle of Puebla of 1862.
At that time, the French army was considered the greatest military force in the world, outnumbered the Mexican army by almost 2,000 soldiers. Besides being outnumbered, Mexico’s soldiers consisted mainly of farmers holding a rifle for the first time. So, hooray, I guess! But also, #Make love not war.
Over the centuries, that surprising Mexican victory evolved into what Cinco De Mayo is today, a global celebration of all-things-Mexico, with tequila-infused fiestas and colorful parades popping up in neighborhoods around the world.
That makes Cinco De Mayo the perfect time to share with you one of my go-to cocktails. It’s refreshing enough to drink on warm summer days and simple enough to order at any bar you end up. Because of its refreshing taste and simplicity, I refer to this cocktail as “Mexican Water,” a slightly-elevated version of a tequila soda.
Here’s what goes into it.
Because it’s a mixed drink, you don’t necessarily need to splurge on a top-shelf blanco to make an excellent Mexican Water. Save the Casa Dragones for sipping sessions. My favorite mid-shelf blanco is Espolón – 100 percent blue agave tequila with elegant tropical tones. If you’re at a bar and they don’t serve Espolón, Don Julio Blanco is also great choice as well and more likely to find.
Bottled in Monterey, Mexico, this mineral sparkling water is not just a hipster staple, it’s also a fantastic mixer and perfect for making sparkling Paloma-style cocktails at home. Topo Chico even makes a variation with a hint of grapefruit, which adds a Paloma vibe to Mexican Water. Unfortunately, Topo Chico is not very common at bars, at least not yet, so for a night-out, it’s okay to replace it with club soda.
You can never have enough limes. Seriously. At home, I like to squeeze half a lime into this cocktail. At a bar, I ask for 4 lime wedges as they typically cut their limes into eighths.
I like to serve this cocktail in a tall wine glass. Why? It stays ice-cold longer and it makes it easier not to spill when you’re holding it – an important quality once I start getting tipsy. Just fill the wine glass with ice and you’re ready to start making Mexican Water.