Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With Margaritas and Authentic Mexican Tostadas

Cinqo de Mayo cocktails

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with these refreshing tequila cocktails, including some unique takes on the classic margarita. Photo courtesy of Espalon.

The 5th of May is an important day in the hearts of Mexicans everywhere. But, it’s also a day that many global citizens have adopted to celebrate, particularly Canadians, as Mexico is one of our most popular getaway destinations. The date marks the victory over Napoleon III and the French Empire in 1862. 

One way to celebrate at home is to experiment with a cocktail that has its roots in Mexico. The Margarita. One story goes that the drink was first sipped somewhere near Tijuana, on the Baja Peninsula, just south of the California-Mexico border. That was 1938. Another claims it was at a bar in Ensenada, Mexico, circa 1941. Whatever the truth to its origins, we’re happy somebody thought of it.

Here, we offer variations on the Margarita theme, starting with a Canadian fresh twist, the Paloma.

Sure we know this spirit is distilled in Mexico, but we couldn’t resist sharing the short story of a homegrown entrepreneur who went south-south of the borders to make it, well, Canadian. Craig Shaw launched Aguamiel Tequila in 2018. With the help of Augustin Sanchez Rodriguez, his master tequilier (yes, there is such a thing), Shaw tapped into that blue agave culture and created a premium blanco tequila with Canadian chops. The award-winning result is subtle, with pepper, vanilla, earth and lemongrass mingling together on the tongue. I won’t lie — it’s what brought this gin lover back to truly appreciating tequila. Warm and with just a hint of spice, kinda like the best of us here in the True North. 

Spicy Paloma

Spicy Paloma
Photo: Courtesy of Aguamiel


With many Canadians looking for innovative ways to celebrate at home, Aguamiel Tequila has created our Cinco de Mayo cocktail ebook, from which this favourite recipe hails.


2 jalapeno slices
2 oz Aguamiel Tequila Blanco 
1 lime wedge
0.5 oz lime juice
2 freshly squeezed grapefruits


1. Add the jalapeno slices to a glass
2. Squeeze the lime wedge into the glass
3. Muddle the jalapeno and fill the glass with ice
4. Pour in the tequila and grapefruit juice
5. Stir to combine and top off with soda water


Cucumber Mint Margarita

Cucumber Mint Margarita
Photo: Courtesy of Herradura Tequila


A few tips from Michael Fortier, Brand Specialist for Herradura Tequila: Cinco De Mayo is a perfect day to drink a Herradura Silver Margarita! I also like to use this day as a way to celebrate the arrival of springtime here in Canada and adding some fresh ingredients is a great way to do that. The addition of cucumber and fresh mint pairs beautifully with the soft citrus and vanilla notes you find in Herradura Silver tequila. When you shake all of this together with fresh lime juice and agave nectar you have a perfect springtime Cinco De Mayo cocktail.


2oz Herradura Silver Tequila
1oz fresh lime juice
0.5oz agave nectar
2 cucumber slices
4-6 mint leaves


1. Add mint and cucumber to a cocktail shaker and gently muddle them together
2. Add the remaining ingredients along with ice and shake for 15-20 seconds
3. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice
4. Garnish with a cucumber wheel and fresh mint sprig


Blanco Margarita

Blanco Margarita
Photo: Courtesy of Don Julio


The classic. Created by Don Julio González in 1942. It is still produced today from La Primavera, the company’s distillery in Jalisco, Mexico


1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila 
.75 oz fresh lime juice
.5 oz simple syrup*/agave nectar
1 lime wedge for garnish
*Simple syrup: Add one part sugar to one part hot water. Stir until sugar dissolves. Let cool.


Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with lime wedge. Sip and share!


Photo: Courtesy of Espalon


This is a nod to the popular Paloma, enjoy the fresh citrus taste with this refreshing Espolon Tequila highball that’s perfect for summer sipping. The bottle will also please those with an appreciation for artistic branding, as the ultra-cool artistic label and bottle will make a statement on your bar. Espolon and its packaging were inspired by revolutionary Mexican artist, José Guadalupe Posada, who, through his ground-breaking politically charged art, brought new ways of thinking and spurred change. Each bottle of Espolon contains award winning, 100 per cent Blue Weber Agave, which is hand harvested and a crucial step in maintaining the tequila’s unique, high quality taste.


2oz Espolon Tequila
0.5oz Lime Juice
4oz Grapefruit Soda


Combine and stir in a highball glass with ice and a salted rim. Garnish with lime. Enjoy!


Reposado Margarita

Photo: Courtesy of Hornitos Reposado

Born in 1950, Hornitos Reposado Tequila was created in honour of Mexican Independence Day and is made using 100 per cent blue agave grown in Mexico. With hints of herbal and green apple notes, it has a woody taste with a warm, slightly astringent finish. 


1 1/2 parts Hornitos Reposado Tequila 
1 1/2 parts agave syrup 
3 parts lime juice 


Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake. Strain into a margarita glass.  Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.  Salt rim optional. 


Jalisco Swizzle

Jailisco Swizzle
Photo: Courtesy of José Cuervo


This fizzy take on the Margarita uses Jose Cuervo Tradicional Plata, and comes courtesy of James Bailey, Jose Cuervo National Tequila Ambassador: The silver tequila is a multiple award-winning, 100 per cent blue agave tequila. It has an herbaceous aroma with subtle citrus notes. It boasts a spice and sweet balance, firmness and fruit overtones within its flavour profile.​ The finish is sweet and refreshing.​


2 oz Jose Cuervo Tradicional Plata 
½  oz of lime juice 
10 mint leaves
½ oz of light agave syrup
2 oz soda
Dash of bitters


Build all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, except soda. Shake with ice and strain into a glass over crushed ice. Add soda and lightly swizzle/stir to mix. Garnish and enjoy! 


The Heat Margarita

Photo: Courtesy of 1800 Tequila


Made with 1800 Coconut, the world’s first flavour-infused Tequila. Made using the company’s signature 100 per cent agave 1800 Silver Tequila, 1800 Coconut is infused with natural, ripe coconut flavour. According to James Bailey, Jose Cuervo National Tequila Ambassador, the flavour is smooth and medium-bodied with notes of coconut — offering tropical refreshment without cloying sweetness.


1 ½ oz 1800® Coconut 
1 ½ oz pineapple juice 
¾ oz lime juice 
Jalapeño, sliced


Mix together ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with Jalapeño.


Don’t have the time or the ingredients, but still want to celebrate?

Cinco de Mayo
Photo: Courtesy of Lone Star Texas Grill


Take it easy and bring the tropics home with Lone Star Texas Grill’s new Frozen Marg-GO-Rita Kits. Lone Star’s signature frozen margaritas are now available to-go for takeout and delivery, available in three flavours. Marg-GO-rita kit includes 1 litre of margarita mix, a 200 mL bottle of Hornitos Reposado tequila, house-smoked salt for rimming your glasses, and freshly sliced orange and lime wedges. Serves 6. Non-alcoholic also available. Choose from three seasonal flavours including Classic Lime, Blue Raspberry, and Orange Creamsicle.

But if tequila’s not your thing, try this almost-Canadian take on a cold beer and a taco

As one of the oldest beers produced in Mexico, Dos Equis is all about being authentic and staying true to its cultural roots. This year, Dos Equis is partnering with Mexican-Canadian Chef Paula Zavala, who has shared her tips here, to encourage Canadians to get out of their taco-comfort zone.


Dos Equis Michelada

Photo: Courtesy of Chef Paula Zavala


We must use fresh lime juice. The beer needs to be chilled. Some people like Micheladas with only lime, clam-tomato juice, and a rimmed glass, and some others like it with more condiments! Either way is delicious and ideal for a hot day!


12 oz Dos Equis Beer
12 oz Clamato Juice
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1⁄2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1⁄2 tbsp Maggi sauce (optional)
2 tsp hot sauce (optional)
2 Celery sticks
4 Jumbo shrimp, cooked and peeled

For the Rim:
1 tbsp Chili powder or Tajin seasoning
1 lime


1. Place enough salt and Tajin seasoning in a wide plate to cover the bottom. Rub the rims of two glasses with the lime wedges and dip them into the spicy salt mixture.
2. Fill the glasses with ice. Add sauces, lime juice, Clamato and beer at the end.
3. Garnish with lime wedge, shrimp and celery


Chicken Tinga Tostada

Chicken Tostada
Photo: Courtesy of Chef Paula Zavala


The chipotle pepper is the star ingredient on this dish. It is important to caramelize the sliced onions well before adding the blended sauce. Fresh tomatoes are essential in Mexican and Latin American cuisine. The word tomato comes from the Nahuatl (the language used by the Aztecs) “tomatl.”


1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
3 plum tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove
3 chipotle chillies in adobo (from a can)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Feta Cheese or fresco
Sour Cream
Avocado slices
6 tostadas
1 jalapeno pepper


1. To make the chipotle sauce, place the tomatoes in a blender with three chipotle chillies, garlic, tomato paste and some of the chicken stock. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan and fry to medium heat for 10 minutes or until they are soft. Add the chipotle sauce and shredded chicken. Add the chicken stock left and cook everything for 10 minutes. Serve over tostadas and garnish with feta cheese, sour cream and avocado slices.


Recipes: A Delicious Menu to Celebrate Mexico (Even After Cinco de Mayo)