Cinco de Mayo Cocktails
Alfred Solis, executive chef at Fuego Cocina y Tequileria in Arlington, Virginia, takes his Cinco de Mayo seriously: The Mexico City native grew up a short drive from Puebla, where the infamous battle between the Mexicans and French was fought.
Solis' salsas, ceviches and Mexican street food favorites are infused with chiles and peppers like Anaheim, Cayenne and Hot Banana grown on a second-floor balcony outside his kitchen. They also make their way into the drinks that Scott Clime, wine and beverage director, concocts to complement the food.
Add some spicy garden goodness to your Cinco de Mayo festivities this yea by replicating Clime's Gherkin Fresca margarita, a cool combo of tequila, gin, cucumber, lime agua fresca and jalapeno simple syrup. "We use Hendrix gin in the Gherkin Fresca since it's a classic, summery match with cucumbers," Clime says. "Both white liquors marry well, the cucumber adds earthiness and the jalapeno simple syrup gives it a nice heat."
Clime's also featuring the Amor Prohibido margarita for the holiday, a thick red cocktail featuring seasonal strawberries two different ways—infused in tequila and as a puree. "The Amor Prohibido is made in a way where the alcohol is not the star of the drink, but an accent," Clime says. "The strawberry also adds a beautiful color, which makes it a visual treat as well."
Gherkin Fresca Margarita
- 1 ounce cucumber-lime aqua fresca*
- 1.5 ounces Sauza Silver Tequila
- .25 ounces Hendrix Gin
- .25 ounce house-infused jalapeno simple syrup*
For garnish, cucumber sliced into wheels
Build the cocktail in a rocks glass over ice and garnish with one or two cucumber wheels.
For the Cucumber-Lime Aqua Fresca
- 1 cucumber
- 1 cup water
- .25 cup lime juice
- .25 cup agave nectar or simple syrup
Puree one cucumber with the water and pour through a fine strainer. Then add the lime juice and agave nectar or simple syrup.
For the House-infused Jalapeno Simple Syrup
- 1 cup water
- .5 cups sugar
- 2 jalapenos, with a small slit lengthwise
Ensure that the jalapenos have a small slit lengthwise to allow oils to release during infusing process. Boil all of the ingredients together for 20 minutes.
- 1.5 ounces strawberry-infused tequila*
- .5 ounce Triple Sec
- .75 ounces agave nectar
- 1 ounce strawberry puree*
- 1 ounce lime juice
For garnish chile de arbor salt [blend of equal parts dried Arbor peppers and salt]
Garnish lime wedge
Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain and pour over ice into a specialty rocks glass that has been rimmed first with chile de arbor salt.
For the Strawberry-Infused Tequila
- 6 strawberries, sliced
- 6 ounces tequila
Place sliced strawberries and tequila in a Mason jar, or a container that can be sealed tightly. Allow it to sit overnight or for at least three hours.
For the Strawberry Puree
15-20 strawberries, fresh and pureed