Food & Drink

May 1, 2012

Cinco de Mayo survival guide

Christopher Schmidt a.k.a.Vodka Guy is back again this month as our Spirits Guest Contributor and today Christopher shares a few more of his tongue-in-cheek insights and recipes with his timely Cinco de Mayo survival guide.

Cinco de Mayo is not specifically a vodka drinking holiday, but that needn’t concern anyone, as it is not truly a holiday at all.  If a Margarita-bearing revolutionary berates you for drinking a Martini tonight, ask them what May 5th signifies in ours, or any culture.  If their answer contains some reference to Mexican Independence Day, do not correct them, there is little future in confronting a tequila drinker.  Smile privately into your delicious vodka drink, and tell your new amigo you think they are giving away free cans of Tecate from a metal bathtub on the patio outside.

Still nervous?  Don’t want to invite the scrutiny of the Felicidades?  Do not despair, there are many exciting flavored Margarita concoctions, and if your Cantineros are not too busy, you can probably convince them to use a tasty vodka infusion in place of the customary fruit-scented sugar syrup.

Experiment at home, before you go out, that you may know exactly what you want.  Inconveniencing a bartender with your uncertainty on a busy night is as unwise as arguing the origins of artificial Mexican holidays with a posse of tequila-soaked Gueros.  Start with a 100% Agave Tequila; something pure, but full bodied.  Milagro Tequila is an excellent mixing spirit, with a pleasing aroma and smoothness, and enough soul to stand out, even within a flavored Margarita.

Milagro offers a recipe for a Spicy Mango Margarita, which is delightful.  With a modest concession to vodka drinkers, namely the addition of Van Gogh, the world’s most addicting flavored vodka, we present the Spiny Mango:

1.5 oz  Milagro Reposado
1.5 oz Van Gogh Mango
.25 oz  Yuzu Juice*
.75 oz elderflower syrup
.5 oz  mango juice
1 cactus segment, garnish

Combine ingredients with ice and shake.
Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass.  Cactus garnish is suggested in referene to the word Spiny in our drink title, though is not truly recommended.  Original Milagro recipe calls for a thinly sliced habanero pepper, and though still dangerous, is probably a better idea since you’ll be consuming alcohol.  Salt optional.

*Yuzu, a Japanese citrus, tastes like a mix of lemon and lime, and reduces the need for common sweet and sour mix.  This Mexican-Dutch-Asian Margarita may be impossible to replicate at whatever Mexican restaurant you choose to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, so, again, enjoy one at home, and when you go out, see if you and the bartender (if she/he is not overwhelmed, or impatient) can come up with something comparable.

Mango is a flavor of burgeoning popularity, though Melon, Pomegranate, and many of the Berry varieties mix mui bueno into a Margarita, and may be easier to come by.  Try not to burden anyone waiting on you.  Locate the flavored vodkas behind the bar, and make up your mind before being approached by the bartender or server.  This will increase your chances of their timely return if you have any hope of further service.  For further tips and advice, please Drinking 101: How to Order a Drink Like an Adult.

Don’t worry about why you are out tonight.  If a misunderstood holiday is what it takes to promote multi-cultural understanding, so be it.  Tip a few semi-traditional beverages, tip off your friends about the splendor of a vodka-laced Margarita, and for Christo’s sake, tip your bartender.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo.  Happy, uh, Cinco de Mayo.

Enjoy this? Why not give the Vodka Guy a look-see.

This article was originally published on examiner in 2010 by Christopher Schmidt.


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