cinco de mayo, sombrero, moroccas

When you think of Cinco de Mayo, what comes to mind?

Festive food? Delicious drinks? Mariachi music? While traditional meals and lively celebrations are excellent ways to celebrate the day, have you ever wondered why so many people are toasting margaritas on May 5th?

A Little History…

Let’s take stroll back to 1861. Contrary to popular belief that Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexican Independence Day, Mexico had already gained independence more than 50 years before. However, the country had fallen on hard financial times which forced the president (Benito Juarez) to default on his debts to European countries. France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to collect reimbursement.  Although Britain and Spain negotiated and withdrew, French leader Napoleon III had dreams of establishing Mexico as a dependent empire.  Hence began the Franco-Mexican war from 1861 to 1867. And while the French eventually did gain brief control of the country, there was a surprising turn of events May 5, 1862 (Cinco de Mayo) at the “Battle of Puebla.”

On this day, 6,000 well-armed French soldiers set out to attack the Mexican town of Puebla de Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Mexican General Zaragoza had rounded up a smaller but mightier army that defended their country so courageously…the French actually retreated! Although this fight didn’t win the war, it was a gallant victory for Mexico and encouraged patriots to continue to resist until Juarez regained control in 1867.

 Today’s Celebration

Surprisingly, the holiday of Cinco de Mayo has become more of a widespread celebration in America than in Mexico. While still an elaborate event in Puebla, many U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston, mark the day with festivals, parades and concerts…and people all over the country celebrate in their own unique way.

Whether you’re enjoying events in your own area or simply serving tacos for dinner tonight, can help make you make the most of your Cinco de Mayo celebration. We have menu suggestions for traditional treats and creative cocktails at and, of course, a whole collection of cards to help you share the spirit of Cinco de Mayo with your amigos!



Cinco de Mayo Recipes

It’s Cinco de Mayo—time to bring out the margaritas, pass around the salsa, and let the mariachi band play!  May 5th actually commemorates the 1862 victory at the Battle of Puebla, when the Mexican army defeated the French. However, in the United States, the holiday has become a celebration of pride for all of Hispanic descent—but no matter what your background is, everyone can join in the food, dancing, and fun of Cinco de Mayo!  Óle!

Let’s Get the Party Started!

  Señor Gilroy’s Irish Margaritas!


  • 12 oz frozen limeade concentrate
  • 12 oz cheap Tequila
  • 12 oz domestic beer (not light beer)

Blend with ice and enjoy!

 Pitcher Perfect Margaritas


  • 2 cups tequila
  • 1 cup triple sec
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 cup sweetened lime juice
  • 3 cups ice
  • kosher salt
  • 8 lime wedges


  1. Combine the tequila, triple sec, fresh lime juice, sweetened lime juice, and ice in a large pitcher; stir.
  2. Pour the kosher salt onto a plate. Rub the rim of a glass with a lime wedge. Dip the rim of the glass into the salt; fill glass with margarita mixture; repeat for each serving.

Super Nachos

1 pound lean ground beef
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
Pinch of salt
1 small can refried beans or bean dip
1 10 or 12-ounce bag corn tortilla chips
1 1/4 pounds Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese, grated
1 large onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 6-ounce can black olives, chopped

Brown the ground beef in a medium skillet. Drain. Add the chili powder, cumin and salt. Set aside for a moment.

Spread a thin layer of refried beans or bean dip over the bottom of a platter or shallow, heat-proof bowl to anchor the first layer of chips.

Then spread a layer of chips over the beans, top with layers of cheese, ground beef, onion, tomato and olives. Repeat until all the ingredients are used. Or, since this recipe usually makes about 4 layers, you can divide all the toppings into 4 portions for even layering.

Microwave on high until heated through, about 10 minutes, or bake at 375° for 20-30 minutes. Serve warm.

Spicy Guacamole Dip

4 avocados
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 sweet red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 red chiles, seeded and finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil,divided
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne, for garnish

Cut the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Scoop out the meat into a medium-size bowl and mash with a fork. (Do not process in a food processor or blender.)

Gently stir in the garlic, red onion, jalapeno pepper, red chiles, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to a serving bowl, if necessary. Drizzle the remainder of the olive oil over the Guacamole and sprinkle with cayenne for presentation. Serve immediately. Makes 3 cups.

Note: Guacamole Dip does not keep well, but adding a tablespoon of lemon juice helps preserve the color.

Fresh Salsa


  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tomatillo, diced (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced


  1. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, tomatillo, and salt to taste. Mix well. Add 1/2 of the jalapeno pepper, and taste. If you desire your salsa with more of a kick, add the remaining 1/2 jalapeno. If you are satisfied with the salsa’s heat, do not add the remaining jalapeno pepper. Cover the salsa, and chill until ready to serve.