Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Entertaining
9 Cinco de Mayo Cocktails to Drink If You Hate Tequila

By

We get it. You had a troubled run-in with tequila in college. But fear of the agave spirit is no reason to skip out on Cinco de Mayo festivities because there are still plenty of booze-filled ways to celebrate the holiday that don’t require you face your demons. Even if you have a natural aversion to tequila, mezcal drinks and other libations will ensure you don’t miss out on the festivities.

Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Everyone loves lemonade. The springtime beverage is absolutely harmless, perfect for celebrating not only Cinco de Mayo but also the arrival of warm weather. With just a bar spoon of mezcal for a touch of smoke, this vodka cocktail gains most of its agave flavor from the agave syrup used to sweeten it, which makes a fresh, vibrant match for lemon juice and grassy cilantro.

The Essentials

Vodka
Mezcal
Lemon Juice
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Tequila and mezcal aren’t the only beverages to come out of El Sur. Mexican beers like Tecate and Modelo also build solid cocktails. This spicy beer-tail uses several kinds of hot sauce in addition to Maggi seasoning for an umami wallop and a touch of lime juice to really wake up your palate. Far from a quiet sipper, this tall glass of spice and pep will get you up and into the festivities.

The Essentials

Beer
Hot Sauce
Maggi Sauce
Matthew Kelly / Supercall

At a Cinco de Mayo party, the only people complaining louder than the tequila haters are the cilantro haters. These sad folk just can’t recon with the ubiquitous citrusy, slightly bitter herb. If you’ve brainwashed yourself into believing cilantro tastes like soap, try this cilantro-spiked Collins. Eric Poplar of Brooklyn’s nuevo Mexican restaurant Alta Calidad splits the vegetal flavor between cilantro and celery (thus C&C), presenting both in several forms along with botanical gin, lime juice and balsamic vinegar.

The Essentials

Gin
celery syrup
Cilantro
Matthew Kelly / Supercall

If tequila-phobia has you stressing about your Cinco de Mayo celebrations, take a chill pill with this very special mezcal cocktail. Horchata is essentially liquid comfort food, and we even spiked ours with Gem & Bolt mezcal, which is distilled with the holistic anti-depressant herb damiana. Fresh pineapple juice keeps the drink from becoming too sedate, while China-China Amer and a mint garnish emphasize the herbal character even more.

The Essentials

Gem & Bolt
Almond Horchata
China-China Amer
Matthew Kelly / Supercall

This take on Mexico’s national cocktail nixes the tequila in favor of grapefruit beer, bringing down both the ABV and the heart rate of tequila-phobes. With a grapefruit soda topper and grapefruit wedge for garnish, your drink won’t look out of place next to standard Palomas. But your version, packed with rich grapefruit oleo saccharum, will be even more flavorful than the run of the mill variety.

The Essentials

Fresh Grapefruit Juice
Grapefruit Syrup
Grapefruit Beer
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Your bad experience with tequila probably came from a hedonistic overindulgence one fateful evening senior year (no judgement—we’ve all been there). But agave spirits have the potential to be healing, recuperative drinks just as much as morning wreckers. This healthy-ish cocktail uses lightly sweetened sage iced tea to elegantly balance the mezcal’s faint medicinal and herbal flavors. Pair it with some nopal tacos on heritage corn tortillas, and you have yourself a fairly health-conscious Cinco de Mayo.

The Essentials

Mezcal
Sage Water
Water
Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Like a massive mezcal Paloma crossed with a Shandy, this grapefruit soda and Mexican beer-topped punch is the perfect way to serve a crowd of tequila-averse drinkers. Bubbly, citrusy, smoky and a bit salty, it’s mouthwateringly drinkable. It’s friendly, approachable and will start every drinker on the path toward tequila redemption.

The Essentials

Mezcal
Squirt Soda
Corona
Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Green chile liqueur Ancho Reyes provides a vegetal spice to this picante Moscow Mule riff. Lime juice and cilantro round out the palate on top of a mezcal base, while ginger beer qualifies the drink as a true Mule. Serve it in a traditional Moscow Mule mug for an extra ‘Grammable drink.

The Essentials

Mezcal
Ancho Reyes Verde
Ginger Beer
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

We believe no one is truly incapable of liking an individual spirit. So if you want to be on team tequila but just can’t seem to find a way to get yourself there, this is the cocktail to convert you. Made with a split base of tequila and mezcal (and agave syrup to sweeten it), this cocktail is unabashedly agave-based, but the spirits are presented in the familiar context of an Old Fashioned. Mole bitters bring a familiar flavor to the base spirit, and aged reposado brings woody notes that you’ll recognize in a new drink.

The Essentials

Tequila
Mezcal
Bitters

Published on

More From Around The Web