Margaritas for Cinco de Mayo? Try These Four Tequila Drinks Instead

A.J. Rathbun
cinco de mayo in seattle magaraitas tequila seattle magazine
The Apple Heart cocktail

Cinco de Mayo is a dandy day for celebrations: Honoring Mexican heritage and pride, for one. Plus, it's a fantastic time to start thinking about summer drinking (even if it’s still chilly here in Seattle) and drinks made with tequila. You can have tequila drinks year 'round, but it's a spirit that's best suited for summer. We showed you how to make some snazzy margaritas last year, so this year, we're encouraging you to expand your tequila repertoire. The below four drinks will help you do just that.

The Apple Heart
This recipe takes an interesting turn, mixing tequila with apple cider. But when the cider is Seattle Cider Company’s limited-edition Three Pepper cider (which has an amazing peppery-apple-y taste), it’s a perfectly original match. I used Maestro Dobel tequila, which is double distilled and aged in white oak–an aged, but clear, tequila, with nice citrus accents. The third key is Scrappy’s Firewater bitters, which is lovely but super spicy, so be a bit careful.

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces Maestro Dobel tequila
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 dash Scrappy’s Firewater bitters
3-1/2 ounces Seattle Cider Company Three Pepper cider

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the tequila, lime, and bitters. Shake well.

2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Top with the cider. Very gently stir to combine.

El Diablo
This is a classic tequila drink that more people need to know about. One, because it’s delicious. Two: It’s a great way to introduce folks to tequila drinks outside of the Margarita, because of I’ve never known anyone to drink a Diablo without falling in love with it. Three: It’s also pretty darn refreshing, making it a swell sipper to have on your summer menus. I’m using 1800 Tequila Blanco in the below recipe, a 100 percent blue-agave tequila that’s smooth but still carries a nice flavor. You could also use a Reposado tequila here.

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces 1800 Tequila Blanco
1/2 ounce crème di cassis
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
3 ounces ginger beer
Lime wedge, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the tequila, crème di cassis, and lime juice. Shake well.

2. Fill a good-sized highball or Collins glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Strain the mix through a fine strainer into the glass. Top with the ginger beer and stir briefly. Garnish with the lime wedge.

Persephone's Exiliar
A historical cocktail from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, this takes its name from the Persephone of Greek mythology, who is stuck in the Underworld half the year thanks to some bad choices involving pomegranate seeds. "Exiliar" is Spanish for "exile" and gives a shout-out both to the tequila and to the time Persephone has to spend in the Underworld. All of which means you now have a story to tell when serving it.

Ice cubes
2 ounces white tequila
1 ounces PAMA pomegranate liqueur
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
2 dashes Regan’s' Orange Bitters No. 6

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the tequila, PAMA, orange juice, and orange bitters. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass (chilled, if it’s possible).

Mexican Bouquet
This drink was created by New York bartender (at the sweet speakeasy-style Raines Law Room) and bar writer Meghan Dorman. It’s a lovely field-of-flowers affair, with rose syrup (she suggests Mymouné rose syrup), the French elderflower liqueur St. Germain and tequila.

Ice cubes
1 teaspoon Mymouné rose syrup
3/4 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces white tequila
Lemon zest, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rose syrup, St. Germain, lemon juice, and tequila. Shake in a blooming fashion.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass (chilled if possible). Garnish with the lemon zest.