Everything is different right now with the current pandemic; however, celebrating Cinco de Mayo (one that falls on a Taco Tuseday) should still be thouroughly enjoyed.
Often a huge, all-day event, Cinco de Mayo is cited as being a celebration of Mexican Independence Day (a fact we know to be very incorrect as Mexico’s independence day is September 16th). It’s actually the celebration of a victory in a single battle with Napoleon III’s French forces way back in 1862. It’s not even the celebration of the French withdrawal, just that single battle in Puebla.
Regardless of people’s celebratory intentions, we know that a lot of food (and alcohol) are consumed on Cinco de Mayo every year, so we want to set you up for success if you’ve volunteered to entertain, or you’re just entertaining yourself.
We’ll start with the drinks. The margarita gets a lot of attention when it comes to Cinco de Mayo–not only are they incredibly refreshing, but it gives you a great opportunity to use the slushie machine you were gifted and never get to use. Additionally, some good ‘ol Mexican lager beer is often a mainstay at any Cinco de Mayo party. Definitely a lot easier to serve (just add lime), it’s a holiday and summer favorite.
May we make a recommendation though? How about a refreshing michelada? If you’ve never had one, think bloody mary with a Mexican lager beer instead of vodka. If you spent a little too much time celebrating May the Fourth (be with you), a michelada is a great way to kick off Cinco. Otherwise, it’s a fantastically refreshing beverage to enjoy in the sunshine among friends.
Once your party has the micheladas flowing, you’ll want to ensure they’ve got plenty of good things to snack on–nacos, obviously. Nachos are a great party food because it has all the food groups combined into a single appetizer. Chips = grains, cheese = dairy, meat and beans = protein, jalapeños and green peppers = vegetables (okay, there isn’t any fruit in the traditional sense, but no one’s stopping you from putting out a bowl of mixed berries). The other great thing about nachos is they can be assembled ahead of time and then thrown into the oven when the time is right. Additionally, if you’ve got a picky crowd, just put all the fixings out on a counter and let them build their own.
Throughout the day, there will be a significant tipping point where the nachos will have run their course and people will have started to lose some steam with all the festivities happening. This is where (as any good entertainer knows) firing up the grill is crucial. Not only does fire naturally get people excited, but the anticipation of your next dish will no doubt inject some life back into the party.
What is that next dish? Carne asada.
In our opinion, carne asada is THE main dish of Cinco de Mayo. Here us out, it’s a reasonably priced cut of meat that can go a long way to feed a crowd. Additionally, it has simple ingredients so you’re not working the entire day/night before to get it prepped. Pop the meat on the grill (it’ll cook fast, so there’s that too), break out the tortillas, onions, and cilantro, and you’ve got the makings of a feast.
Finish the day with hitting a piñata filled with everyone’s (or just your) favorite candy, and your Cinco de Mayo will have been a huge success.