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How to Host a Cinco de Mayo Party

Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) the holiday that commemorates the day the Mexican army defeated France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867) in 1862.

Is it a big deal in Mexico?  No, not really. It’s more of a way for us to honor Mexican traditions and culture. Or a good excuse to mix up a giant batch of Margaritas!

What goes best with a margarita?  Chips and guacamole of course!  You can easily host a Mexican themed party anytime but many people and local bars find Cinco de Mayo the perfect occasion to have one.

As an event planner in Saratoga, Clifton Park, and Malta, NY I understand that the key to having a successful party is in the details.  If you are going to make a margarita, make it a good one.  Here are a couple winning margarita recipes to include in  your menu planning.

Frozen Margarita

Frozen margaritas come out best when they’re still a little slushy; start out easy on the ice and add a little more if you need. To salt-rim a glass, rub the cut side of a lime wedge around the outside edge of a glass. Roll the edge through a shallow dish of kosher salt (or colored sugar). Hold the glass upside-down over a trash can, and tap the glass to remove excess salt. Be warned, the sugar and cold mask the alcohol’s potency.

  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • ¾ ounce triple sec
  • 1 ½ ounces blanco tequila
  • Blend at high speed with 1 generous cup of ice. Pour into a chilled, salt-rimmed large goblet or wine glass.

Variation: Fruit Frozen Margarita
Replace triple sec with 1 ounce fruit-flavored liqueur.  Or, add ½ cup frozen or fresh fruit to the margarita recipe. Or, do both. Strawberries work especially well with ¼ ounce maraschino liqueur added.

Pomegranate Margaritas

  • 3 Fruttare® Lime Fruit and Juice Bars, chopped (frozen fruit popsicle)
  • 1 cup ice cubes (about 6 to 8)
  • 1/2 pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 1 Tbsp. Triple Sec Liqueur
  • Pinch salt
Process all ingredients in blender until smooth. Pour in 2 margarita glasses rimmed with salt. Garnish, if desired, with lime peel. For a non-alcohol version, simply omit tequila and triple sec and add an additional 1/3 cup pomegranate juice.

Chips and Guac

You can make your own guac which is pretty easy but if you’re busy (duh) you may just want to pick up packets of Wholly Guacamole, some pico (red onion, diced tomato, cilantro) and a little lime juice and you’re good to go. You can usually find fresh pico in the produce section if you don’t want to make it yourself.

If you have some time another fun idea is to give people individual layer dip cups. Cuts down on the mess, they are disposable and no double dipping!

Individual Layer Dip Cups

  • 1 (16 oz) can refried beans
  • ½ package taco seasoning
  • 2 cups guacamole
  • 1 (8 oz) container sour cream
  • 2 cups salsa or pico de gallo
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 9 ounce plastic tumblers
  • tortilla chips (small round ones dip well!)
  • cilantro for garnish if desired
  1. In a small bowl mix taco seasoning with refried beans. If you want to use the other half of the taco seasoning, mix it with the sour cream.
  2. Layer the dip in each cup with a small spoon. I found it best to layer in this order. Refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cheddar cheese, tomatoes. Garnish with cilantro if desired.
  3. Store in the refrigerator until serving and serve with corn chips.

Now that you have your margarita and a couple sides, decorate the table with a colorful cacti centerpiece. Try using 3 small containers, different colors. You can give them away as a door prize if you wish.

Keep the tablecloth simple (one color) and use colored plates and dishes.  You can find cute accents at a dollar store, party supply store or if you plan ahead, online.  Candles always make a nice accent so put a couple tea lights in a glass or use a margarita glass.

If you’re looking for more ideas or need help planning a party I can assist with menu planning, decorations, and help with preparing some of these items.

Now go get your fiesta on!


More margarita recipes here