Even though Cinco de Mayo is a minor regional holiday in Mexico proper, its significance in the US is that of a major cultural celebration similar to St. Patrick's Day, Oktoberfest, or Chinese Lunar New Year1. Don't confuse Cinco de Mayo, May 5th, with Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 16th), however. The 5th of May marks the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, where Mexican forces defeated French invaders seeking to install a French emperor of Mexico.
What does any of this have to do with Portland weddings? I just want to acknowledge the all-important Mexican-American contribution to the summer wedding menu: the Margarita. No matter what food is on the menu, a freshly-squeezed, hand-shaken Margarita lends an easy festivity to any wedding.
In honor of the holiday today, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite Margarita recipes from Texas, as well as one of my favorite variants, the Mexican Martini. For both recipes, all your juices should be fresh-squeezed, and the tequila should be light or Silver. (I recommend Herradura, Patrón, Yéyo, or 123 Tequilas.)
(from Texas Monthly Magazine)
1/2 ounce of Triple Sec (1 tablespoon)
1 ounce of fresh lime juice
1 1/2 ounces of light tequila
Directions: Shake with ice and strain into a glass rimmed with salt, or you can follow the full detailed directions for your perfect Margarita from the Texas Monthly article here.
Trudy's Mexican Martini
2 ounces tequila (I recommend a light or silver tequila, not reposado or anejo)
1 ounce Cointreau liqueur
1/2 ounce Sprite
1 ounce orange juice
juice of1/2 lime
Stuffed olives (either garlic- or pimento-) for garnish
Directions: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into glass rimmed with salt; garnish with stuffed olives on a toothpick.
Image courtesy Jon Sullivan.
A version of this article appeared on May 3, 2009.