5@5 - Jason Berry
May 3rd, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

With a little help from Jason Berry of Rosa Mexicano Restaurants, we want you to rock the guac out this Cinco de Mayo.

And we can think of no better way to celebrate Mexico's military victory over Napoleon III than with tequila.

Cinco Ways To Spice Up Your Cinco de Mayo Fiesta: Jason Berry

1. Guacamole is required
"Nothing sets up your fiesta for success like a big bowl of homemade guacamole. Don’t be 'culinarily blasphemous' with pre-packaged purées and spice mixes when you can spend a few extra minutes doing guac right.

Once your guests taste your recipe, you will undoubtedly have the Cinco de Mayo respect of all your fiesta patrons. The key to guacamole is starting with fresh, ripe ingredients: Haas avocados, cilantro, onion, jalapeño, tomato and a bit of salt for seasoning.

The secret to perfect guacamole is to start by making a paste with jalapeño, onion and cilantro in a molcajete - a lava-rock mortar found in Mexico. You can purchase one at an upscale kitchenware store or use a traditional mortar and pestle to approximate the paste.

Once you try our recipe, you’ll be hooked - no lime juice necessary. I frequently make it for parties and it’s always the first appetizer to go.

2. Margaritas, of course
"Equally as important as guacamole on Cinco de Mayo is the margarita. If you’ve never made one, don’t be afraid! They are among the simplest drinks to make, but only if you pay attention. The keys to the perfect margarita are quality, balance and shaking.

If you use great ingredients, you will get a great margarita. Simply take two parts tequila to one part fresh lime juice and one part orange liqueur (Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec). I’d recommend using a 100% blue agave, silver tequila like 1800, Herradura or Tres Generaciones. Make sure you the lime juice is fresh and you’re all set.

To achieve balance, measure your ingredients. Just as a chef follows a recipe, a great bartender does the same. Use a jigger (or tablespoon if you don’t have one) and take your time.

For Cinco de Mayo and future parties, I’d recommend making a pitcher of them at a time. It will save you time to enjoy your own party and will keep your thirsty guests well-hydrated.

Once your ingredients are measured, add ice and shake it like you mean it. These viscous ingredients are begging to be combined, but it takes commitment to make it happen. Shake for about 30 seconds (yes 30 seconds!), pour into a glass rimmed with kosher salt, garnish with lime and enjoy."

3. Try a Michelada
"Nothing beats a cold one, and a Michelada takes it to the next level. Few things are more Mexican than beer, and Mexico has some great ones: Corona, Pacifico, Negra Modelo and Tecate to name a few.

While beer is great on its own, a Michelada, a beer cocktail famous in Mexico and gaining popularity worldwide, is a great way to spice it up. It’s the perfect antidote for a warm day.

There are many variations of the Michelada, but the simplest combines Cholula or Tabasco, lime juice, and Worcestershire sauce.

Pour equal amounts of these ingredients into a tall, salt-rimmed glass, top with ice, your favorite beer and serve. You can play with the recipe, adjusting for spice and flavors by adding different juices.

At Rosa Mexicano we will be offering our collection of Micheladas for Cinco de Mayo, including a version that features beet juice - which our guests love."

4. Be Old Fashioned
"Tequila is one of the most versatile spirits and obviously the most appropriate for celebrating Cinco de Mayo. But, if you’re looking for a more sophisticated celebration, try a variation on one of the most famous cocktails around, the Old Fashioned.

Though most people know an Old Fashioned as being made from whiskey (often bourbon or rye), it can in fact be made from any spirit. The requirements for an Old Fashioned (in the classic sense) are: spirit of any kind, bitters, a little sugar (or other sweetener) and a twist of citrus.

My variation is fantastic and simple. Start with two dashes of Angostura bitters, making sure to dash assertively. A dash is not a drop - so fully upturn the bitters bottle! Add two ounces of Tanteo cocoa-infused tequila, and only then add the ice. This will help you make sure the drink isn’t too diluted – an Old Fashioned should be strong.

Stir for only about 5 seconds to chill everything down, top with ice if necessary, then garnish with a large orange twist. You will be hooked!"

5. Mix it Up with Mezcal
"Mezcal is tequila’s bold older brother. It’s made from agave as well, but cooked to impart a smoky flavor, even more aggressive than Scotch.

Mezcal is gaining popularity in the U.S. and is definitely worth a try. You can find Mezcals at high-end liquor stores, some made with infusions and there’s even one variety, Pechuga, that includes chicken breast in the mash during the fermentation process.

The best way to enjoy Mezcal is to substitute it for tequila in a margarita, drink it neat or on the rocks. It’s a really unique, interesting and delicious spirit whose popularity is on the rise."

How do you plan to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Be sure to share your fiesta details in the comments.

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.


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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Cinco de Mayo • Cocktail Recipes • Holidays • Sip • Spirits • Think


soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Soleada

    ..... We just call them 'Cheladas' or 'Chelas'. In which case, it could refer to the beer cocktail drink or just a plain beer. Never have I heard of a Chela made with worcestershire or Cholula. We mix it with Clamato Tomato Juice Cocktail & a bit of lime juice & salt. NEVER make it with Pacifico! lol. Pacifico is much too delicious on its own & pretty pricey. They actually sell this in gas stations in tall cans – Bud Light Cheladas – the exact same recipe minus salt. Not as good as a homemade Chela, but pretty darn close!

    May 6, 2011 at 1:44 am | Reply
  2. S&M Foodie

    This JB guy is quite a stud! The guac isn't bad either :)

    May 3, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  3. The Witty One

    I like Guacamole! Can't wait to give this recipie a shot!

    May 3, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  4. JBJingles

    Now I know what a Michelada is! I thought it was like a bloody mary with beer. I guess it is close with tobasco, but I think I would prefer some bloody mary mix to lighten up on the heat of the tobasco... Nice job, thanks.

    May 3, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Reply

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