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Cinco de Mayo Plus The Kentucky Derby = Party Central

April 28, 2017 – Starting next Friday, May 5 there are two major excuses to party.  What could be better than a Mexican fiesta to put the workweek behind us?  Cinco de Mayo celebrates a small Mexican army taking on a French army three times the size and beating them at Puebla in 1862.  According to Wikipedia, and other sources, Mexican miners in Northern California’s goldfields were so thrilled when they heard of the victory that they fired rifles and sang patriotic songs.  We suspect they may have had a slurp or two of something stronger than coffee.  Thus began a tradition that morphed into the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration.

It was pretty much limited to California and several cities with large Mexican populations.  Gradually it spread across the U.S. but it really took off in the 1980s when beer manufacturers seized on a great marketing opportunity.  The victory at Puebla is forgotten and now it is a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage and a great excuse to explore tequila cocktails.  We’ve got five great recipes to share below.

The next day, Saturday, for those not totally hungover, the 143rd Kentucky Derby will be run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.  This calls for large, flowery hats, high fashion, and bourbon.  But if you’d rather just turn on the TV and lounge around in sweats, that’s OK too but you need the right drink and we’ve got just the thing.  Five great recipes below and we apologize to the horses for including a Mule.  Post time is 6:34 p.m. Eastern.  Why 6:34 and not 6:35?  We’ve no idea.



Cinco de Mayo


Juan to Juan

1 part Montelobos Mezcal
1 part Ancho Reyes Original
¾ part fresh lemon juice
½ part simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Method:  Shake, serve in a coupe glass, garnish with a lemon wheel



Ancho Verde Margarita

1 part Milagro Silver Tequila
1 part Ancho Reyes Verde
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
1/3 part Agave Nectar

Method:  Add all ingredients to a shaker, add ice, shake hard and strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass with half its rim salted. Garnish with a lime wheel.




Montelobos Picador

2 parts Montelobos Mezcal
1 part fresh lime juice
½ part simple syrup

Method:  Combine ingredients over ice and shake well. Serve over fresh ice in a rocks glass with a salt & black pepper rim and orange slice.



Coralina Margarita

Created by Riesler Morales of Mexico City, Mexico

1.75 oz. Patrón Reposado
.75 oz. Patrón Citrónge Orange
.75 oz. Simple syrup
1 oz. Fresh lime juice
.5 oz. Red Wine (Mexican, or other) 
+ Sugar-salt rim*

Method:  *Sugar-salt rim:  Pulverize .25 cup dried hibiscus in a spice grinder. Add .25 cup sugar and .25 cup kosher salt and pulse until combined.

Combine Patrón Reposado, Patrón Citrónge Orange, simple syrup and lime juice in a shaker tin; add ice and shake vigorously. 
Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe rimmed with sugar-salt rim.
 Carefully float red wine on the surface of the cocktail and garnish with a lime wheel.



*Recipe courtesy of W&P Design

1.5 oz. Captain Morgan LocoNut
6 Fresh Mint Leaves, plus 1 sprig to garnish
3 oz. Coconut Water

Method:  Muddle mint in the bottom of a tall glass.  Add coconut water and LocoNut and stir to combine. Add ice to fill and garnish with a sprig of mint.




Kentucky Derby


Mint Julep

1.25 oz. Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year Old
1.5 tsp. sugar
Fresh mint leaves

MethodMuddle mint leaves, sugar and splash of water in a rocks glass or julep cup. Add Bulleit 10, water, and fill glass with crushed ice and stir. Garnish with fresh mint.



Blade and Bow “New” Fashioned

1.25 oz. Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
1.5 oz. simple syrup
Muddle 1 orange slice
Add ice
0.75 oz. St-Germain

Method:  Stir ingredients In an old fashioned glass (or rocks glass, whichever is readily available). Top with a splash of soda and garnish with an orange slice and cherry.


Baby Bourbon Smash

1 1/2 parts Hudson Baby Bourbon
3/4 oz. simple syrup
2 fresh lemon wedges
A couple sprigs of fresh mint
Club soda

Method:  Muddle lemons, 4-6 mint leaves, and simple syrup in the bottom of an Old Fashioned/rocks glass. Add cracked ice, Hudson Baby Bourbon, and top with splash of club soda. Stir briefly to combine and garnish with a mint sprig.



New York Smash

1 1/2 parts Hudson Four Grain Bourbon
Apple: a couple thinly-sliced wedges
1/2 part simple syrup (1:1)
1/4 part Ruby Port (or a fruity red wine if you don’t have port handy)
Handful fresh mint
Ginger ale

Method:  Add apple slices, simple syrup, and two or three mint leaves to shaker tin (or pint glass half of ‘Boston Shaker’) and muddle together. Add Hudson Four Grain Bourbon and ice and shake well. Strain over fresh ice in Old Fashioned/rocks glass and top with splash of ginger ale. Float port (or wine) on top of the drink by pouring carefully over the back of a bar spoon. Garnish with mint sprig.


Havana Club Rum Mule

1 part Havana Club Añejo Clásico
2 parts chilled ginger beer
2 lime wedges
2 dashes aromatic bitters

Method: Fill a copper mug with ice and squeeze in lime wedges.  Pour in Havana Club Añejo Clásico rum and ginger beer. Add a dash of bitters and stir gently. Garnish with a mint sprig and a seasonal berry.