In England we don’t tend to take much notice of the more obscure national holidays of other countries. St Patrick’s Day, Bastille day, Fourth of July and Halloween were pretty much all we recognised until very recently.
Which is a massive shame as not only are such holidays an opportunity to find out about other cultures but a great excuse to party. And that brings me to today’s excuse – Cinco de Mayo. This day commemorated the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla but is now more a general celebration in the U.S. of Mexican heritage and pride.
The last Mexican party I went to was a full on Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) bash, involving face painting and fancy dress so I was a bit disappointed not to find anything going on in London other than a promotion at Barrio Central. Perhaps everyone is saving themselves for an election all-nighter tomorrow?
In lieu of anything more exciting to do, I decided to commemorate the day by inventing my own Cinco de Mayo cocktail. I had a really odd Twentieth Century (gin, creme de cacao, Lillet, lemon juice) the other day and felt at the time it needed a little kick of something to make it work. Using that as a starting place I came up with this smoky, spicy variation. My flat mate deemed it a ‘Marmite’ drink (although she declared she liked it herself), but if you love chipotle chillies, smoky single malts or have a taste for the unusual I think you might enjoy this.
The smokiness is the key to making this drink work so if you can’t get hold of mezcal use a chipotle tabasco or even a chipotle-infused teuqila.
Cinco de Mayo
1 Creme de Cacao
1 Lime Juice
Half a guava (I used a green apple variety about the size of a small lemon)
2 dashes Agave Nectar
2 dashes Tabasco ( more to taste)
Muddle guava in cocktail shaker. Add ice and the rest of the ingredients. Shake well and then pour through a fine mesh sieve into cocktail glass.
To decorate, cut a thick wedge of guava, remove seeds and dip rind-first into melted chocolate – rind first as the flesh is too slippy for the chocolate to adhere. I haven’t photographed this as my camera ran out of battery before the chocolate had set – I didn’t have the self control to wait until it had recharged but it was both pretty and delicious.
Tip: Agave nectar/syrup is available from most health food stores, including Holland and Barrett as well as Waitrose and other large supermarkets. If you can’t find it, subsititute a light honey such as orange blossom.