Cinco de May What?
Cinco de Mayo. You don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to figure out that translation, but we’ll do it anyway: it literally means “The Fifth of May”. For the better part of the world it’s just another date, but to Mexicans it means a whole lot more. Or is it the Americans, now?
See, even though the Cinco de Mayo no doubt commemorates the very Mexican underdog triumph over France in The Battle of Puebla in 1862, it isn’t celebrated in Mexico all that much. Whether this is because the Mexicans don’t see the battle as true victory because the French later occupied the Mexico for a few years, or because they, who are Mexico, feel that Independence Day is much better cause for a celebration, but guess we’ll never know. What we do know is that the Americans are the ones that made the cultural phenomenon all it is today. Somewhere in the 1960’s, Mexican-American activists began raising awareness for the holiday largely just celebrate the fact that a tiny group of indigenous people were able to successfully hold back French forces. The day has since really taken off in the US and today people celebrate with parades, parties, mariachi music, and traditional Mexican foods.
But just because it’s become an Americanism to celebrate this day, it doesn’t mean that we, all the way here in South Africa, aren’t allowed to take part in the fiesta-vities as well…
So just how do you throw the perfect Cinco de Mayo celebration, or Mexican themed party for that matter?
We’re glad you’ve asked. With the right music, a few strategically placed beverages and, of course, the most amazing food you’ll have all your amigos talking about your amazing hosting skills.
First thing’s first, you want to look the part – we’re talking about decorations.
When it comes the decorations, there are only two rules to stick to –everything needs to be very bright and very colourful and there has to be at least one piñata. Simply stop by Party City for just about any piñata you can think of, literally. We’re talking jukeboxes, cowboy boots and even unicorns all shaped in piñatas. Just be sure to head out in time as you might need to order them beforehand. Here you’ll also be able to find an array of all the other colourful Mexican decorations you can think of, from sombrero hats to fiesta hanging banners. Just let them know you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo and they will take care of the rest.
Moving on to the food. The options are literally endless when it comes to Mexican food choices. Nachos, burritos, enchiladas fajitas and quesadillas – the list goes on. If there is one thing the Mexicans know how to do well, it’s to make your taste buds dance with flavour. Of course, you can incorporate all of these for your gathering, but we would specifically look at the timeless classic: the taco. The beauty of tacos is that they are easy to make, and even easier to enjoy. Pop by Pick n Pay or Checkers for a couple of boxes of Old El Paso shells, fresh veggies from the produce section and a meat, if any, of your choice. The great thing is that the main filling of the dish is easily interchangeable between fish, beef, chicken and even just veggies. If you need a recipe top put it all together, Country Life has your back with these recipes.
No good fiesta is completed without the right drinks to go along with it – especially when it’s Cinco de Mayo. While your choice of tequila and a couple of Coronas are mandatory, it’s always better to bring something extra to the table:
Just like tacos, the margarita is a timeless classic. Equal parts orange liqueur, lime and tequila. Mix it all together, no blender needed, and you’re pretty much sorted.
This cocktail stemmed from the idea of squeezing lime into beer. Try this uniquely spicy take with chili powder, Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce. What you need: ¼ cup salt, 3 tablespoons chili powder, 4 limes cut into wedges, 4 Coronas, Tobasco and Worcestershire sauce.
Combine the salt and chili powder in a small bowl and transfer to a flat plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of each beer glass and dip it into the chili-salt to coat the rim. Squeeze the juice of 4 lime wedges into each mug. Add a lime wedge to the mug and fill with ice. Add 1 bottle of beer, a dash of hot sauce and a dash of Worcestershire sauce and serve immediately.
Citrus Tequila Cocktail
Shake the citrusy juices of orange, lime and lemon with tequila, sugar and fresh mint for a bright, refreshing cocktail. Garnish the mixture with mint sprigs for added colour and serve over ice. All you need is:
Five shots of tequila
1 fresh orange, squeezed
1 lemon, squeezed
2 limes, squeezed
2 tsp fine sugar
10 mint leaves
Add the tequila, citrus juices, and sugar to a cocktail shaker and shake well to combine. Add mint leaves and fill the shaker with ice. Shake until frothy. Strain into 2 cocktail glasses filled with ice cubes. Garnish each with a sprig of fresh mint and serve immediately.
All of these alcoholic ingredients are available at Pick n Pay Liquor for your convenience and the suggested servings will of course be dependent on who is present and what they are going through emotionally at the time.
Now that you have all the know-how to host the perfect Cinco de Mayo, all you need to do is invite your friends and take a lot of photos, as the norm when tequila gets involved 😉