10 Cinco de Mayo Alternatives to the Margarita + 2 Cocktail Recipes
Espolón TequilaThe Varnish's Bebida de Puebla
Sometimes you just want a quiet place and a well-done cocktail to celebrate the Mexicans' victory over the French in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. Thankfully the cocktail-savvy need not fret, as the following L.A. bars have alternatives for those seeking something other than a Jose Cuervo margarita and tequila-shooting frat boys this Cinco de Mayo. Turn the page for details, plus recipes for two cocktails...
Hollywood's new Lexington Social House has three cocktails just for the occasion. The Oaxacan Phoenix is made with mescal, bourbon, Piquillo peppers, lime, lemon, Thai chili syrup and a chorizo garnish. The Name Dropper is margarita-esque with its tequila, agave, lime and then grapefruit and hibiscus water ice cubes. For a smokey cocktail, there's Smoke and Mirrors with tequila, mescal, lemon, honey, egg white, BBQ bitters and smoked sea salt.
The Raymond's 1886 in Pasadena has the Tequila Daisy 2.0 with tequila, Cointreau, lime and strawberry foam. "Daisy" literally translates to "margarita" in Spanish.
Way down in Seal Beach 320 Main presents an ode to La Guelaguetza's Bricia Lopez -- Sweet Bricia, which is made with Mescal Vida, apricot liqueur, creme de cassis, citrus juices, Angostura bitters and a mescal-soaked cherry.
Small, circus-themed Roger Room in West Hollywood has Fresa on its new spring cocktail menu -- Avion Blanco Tequila, crushed strawberry, lemon juice, agave nectar and allspice dram.
In Los Feliz, try Big Bar's new drink, the Mexican Monk with reposado tequila, Benedictine, simple syrup, lemon, soda and Amaro Lucano.
Grab six friends and share a punch bowl of Late Checkout (tequila, Cointreau, ginger, raw cane sugar and lime) at bowling alley/cocktail bar Spare Room in Hollywood.
Bartender Eric Alperin of The Varnish downtown created a cocktail specifically to be paired with taco truck tacos. It will be available at the bar all week.
Bebida de Puebla
From: Eric Alperin of The Varnish
Makes: 1 drink
2 ounces Espolón Tequila Reposado
.25 ounce Benedictine Liqueur
.25 ounce Coffee Liqueur
.5 ounce Lustau Dry Amontillado Sherry - Los Arcos
1. Stir all ingredients with ice in a chilled mixing glass.
2. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
3. Spray and garnish with a lemon peel.
Barman Allan Katz at downtown's Caña describes his Last Minute Fix cocktail as "light and approachable, with a definite base note of agave wrapped in botanicals via the hibiscus and sloe gin."
Last Minute Fix
From: Allan Katz of Caña
Makes: 1 drink
1.5 ounces Gran Centenario Reposado
.75 ounce Fresh lime
.75 ounce Caña's Hibiscus Vanilla Cordial (see recipe below)
1 barspoon Plymouth Sloe Gin
1 dash Miracle Mile Castillan Bitters
1. Short shake with cubes.
2. Strain over crushed ice.
3. Garnish with an edible orchid.
Hibiscus Vanilla Cordial:
1/2 quart purified water
1 cup dried hibiscus
4 cups refined sugar
1 cup Navan vanilla cognac
1. Boil water, add hibiscus and steep for 5-7 minutes. "Jamaica tea" should be very dark and tannic.
2. Blend in sugar. Add Navan.
3. Store airtight. Refrigerate when not in use.
Get the Squid Ink'd Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly food newsletter, which features top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips and a link to our print review.