How to Properly Celebrate Cinco de Mayo This Year

We’re setting the record straight on the holiday and the libations that go hand-in-hand with it. 

Kaley W.
ByKaley W.

It’s a popular misconception that Cinco de Mayo honors Mexican independence, which came more than 50 years before the May 5, 1862 Battle of Puebla that the holiday exists to commemorate. The Battle of Puebla was an underdog victory over France during the Franco-Mexican War and has become a symbolic moment in the Mexican resistance movement.

Although Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, it has grown into a celebration of Mexican heritage in the United States. In anticipation of Cinco de Mayo festivities, we want to take a moment to explain the differences between tequila and mezcal so that you can celebrate like an expert.

Both mezcal and tequila come from the agave plant, but not unlike sets of siblings, their origins are all they have in common. Like a rectangle to a square, all tequilas are mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequilas. A mezcal is defined as an agave-based liquor, while for a spirit to be considered tequila, it must be produced in one of five Mexican regions. 

Mezcal and tequila are distilled using different techniques. Tequila is produced by steaming piña, the core of the agave plant, inside industrial ovens before being distilled in copper pots. Mezcal is cooked inside earthen pits lined with lava rocks and filled with wood and charcoal before being distilled in clay pots—this gives mezcal the distinct smoky taste.

They have different labels according to how long they are aged inside oak barrels. Tequila gets labeled as blanco (0-2 months), reposado (2-12 months), or añejo (1-3 years). In terms of mezcals, you will find joven (0-2 months), reposado (2-12 months), and añejo (at least one year).

Now that your thirst for knowledge is quenched, it’s time to make a cocktail! We’re sharing a couple of our favorite traditional Mexican recipes in hopes that they’ll get your Cinco revelry underway. Do you have a favorite Cinco de Mayo tradition or recipe that you’d like to share? Hit us in the comments section! 


Fill shaker halfway with ice

Pour in:

2 oz. tequila

1 oz. Cointreau (or other orange liqueur)

4 oz  sweet & sour mix

1 oz. lime juice

Shake vigorously!



Fill shaker halfway with ice

Pour in:

1.5 oz. tequila (Dahlia recommended)

0.25 oz. orange liqueur 

0.75 oz  olive juice

0.75 oz. lime juice

Shake vigorously!