While many Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo with margaritas and guacamole, they may not know the true heritage behind the Mexican holiday.

Camille Austin, a celebrated mixologist and native of Mexico, provides a look into the history of what has become one of America’s most celebrated holidays and offers tips for enjoying Cinco de Mayo with authentic, Mexican dishes and cocktails.

The History of Cinco de Mayo

The celebration of Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, originated in the Mexican state of Puebla. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican army over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War in 1862. The win in Puebla represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government and bolstered the resistance movement eventually leading to France withdrawing from Mexico.

“Today, while Cinco de Mayo is acknowledged in Mexico, it is Americans who truly celebrate the holiday.”
– Camille Austin

Camille Austin, Mixologist and Montelobos Mezcal Brand Ambassador, cocktail recipes

Camille Austin, Mixologist and Montelobos Mezcal Brand Ambassador

Photo Courtesy of Montelobos Mezcal

Authentic Mexican Dishes and Spirits

Rajas Con Crema

Originating from the Puebla area, poblano peppers are sliced and added to cream to create one of Mexico’s most popular street foods.

Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur

Once dried, Poblano chiles are called ancho or chile ancho. “Ancho chiles are widely considered a culinary delicacy and Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur is created using Puebla’s signature crop,” says Camille Austin. “Pleasantly sweet, followed by the moderate heat from the chile, Ancho Reyes is delicious in all types of cocktails. Pair your rajas with the Gavilán cocktail.”

Gavilán cocktail made with Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, cocktail recipes

Gavilán

Photo Courtesy of Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur

Gavilán

by Camille Austin, Montelobos Mezcal Brand Ambassador

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
  • 2 parts Grapefruit Juice
  • 1 part Lime Juice
  • 2 parts Jarritos de Toronja* (Grapefruit Flavor)

Preparation: Build into a highball over ice, garnish with a salt rim and grapefruit slice.

Tacos

Tacos are one of the most well-known Mexican street foods and have been widely embraced by the United States. “Try a traditional corn tortilla made with the meat of your choice,” Austin advises.

Montelobos Mezcal

Mexico may be known for tequila, but mezcal is another truly authentic Mexican spirit. Often referred to as the scotch of tequila, mezcal is agave-based and offers a smokier flavor profile compared to tequila. “For both novices and expert mezcal drinkers, Montelobos Mezcal is an approachable and elegant spirit,” says Austin. “Montelobos Mezcal is an unaged joven mezcal that been meticulously crafted to achieve perfect balance and complexity by a bold integration between all the notes that a mezcal has to offer. Try your tacos with the Smoke & Fire Margarita to experience an authentic taste of Mexico.”

Smoke and Fire Margarita made with Montelobos Mezcal

Smoke and Fire Margarita

Photo Courtesy of Montelobos Mezcal

Smoke & Fire Margarita

by Camille Austin, Montelobos Mezcal Brand Ambassador

Ingredients:

  • 1 part Montelobos Mezcal
  • 1 Part Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
  • 3/4 part Lime Juice
  • 1/2 part Simple Syrup

Preparation: Shake, garnish with hibiscus salt rim & an orange slice.