15 Tequila Cocktails for Cinco de Mayo

Celebrate the Mexican Holiday With Tequila

Originally celebrating the Battle of Puebla in 1862 then Mexican-American civil rights in the 1960s, Cinco de Mayo offers an excellent excuse for a party in May. It's a festive occasion that's filled with lots of delicious Mexican food, ice-cold cerveza, and, of course, tequila. To help plan your Cinco de Mayo party, choose from these impressive tequila cocktails and shot recipes. They're all easy to mix up, and the flavors are diverse, so there's sure to be one that's perfect for your celebration.

  • 01 of 15


    Paloma cocktail recipe

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    To kick off the party, a traditional Mexican drink is in order. If this will be your first taste of a paloma, then you're in for a real treat. This tall, refreshing tequila cocktail shows off the perfect pairing of tequila and grapefruit. If you want to keep it authentic, pick up Jarritos Toronja soda. 

  • 02 of 15

    Tamarind Margarita

    Tamarind Margarita
    Danielle Leavell / Photodisc / Getty Images

    The sweet and sour taste of tamarind is also a fantastic complement to tequila. The two shine their brightest in an ice-cold tamarind margarita. Whether you shake it or blend it, this margarita is an absolute delight, and tamarind nectar is available in many grocery stores. Don't forget the chili rim. It adds a great spice that contrasts the drink's flavors wonderfully.

  • 03 of 15

    Lychee Tequila Shooter

    Lychee Tequila Shooter (aka Crouching Tiger Tequila Shot)

    The Spruce Eats

    There are many tequila shots in the world and the lychee tequila is one of the best. This semisweet shooter relies on lychee liqueur, which is made from a fruit from Southeast Asia. When it's combined with tequila, the drink becomes a mix of flavors that is truly fascinating.

  • 04 of 15

    Dulce de Tequila

    Dulce de Leche Cocktail
    Jeff Kauck / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    It's sweet, but not too sweet, and that's why dulce de tequila is such a fantastic drink. The brilliantly flavored cocktail pairs an aged tequila with cognac. The Cointreau, lime, and agave nectar give it a sweet-sour finish that makes it a great complement for pan dulce.

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  • 05 of 15

    Chimayo Cocktail

    Classic Chimayo Tequila Cocktail

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    Typically associated with autumn's apple harvest, there is no reason why the Chimayo cocktail shouldn't be enjoyed year-round. It's a popular cocktail in New Mexico and the recipe takes hardly any time to mix up. The play of tequila against apple cider and the sweet black currant flavor of crème de cassis is a wonderful taste you won't forget.

  • 06 of 15

    Reposado Old-Fashioned

    Reposado Old-Fashioned With Tequila and Nectarines
    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    If you enjoy a bourbon old-fashioned, give this reposado old-fashioned a try. It's made the same way and is a fascinating way to dress up reposado tequila. The timing is perfect because Bing cherries start to come into season in April, so they should be prime for the first week of May. If your market doesn't have good nectarines yet, grab similar small citrus fruits instead. Muddle it all up and enjoy.

  • 07 of 15

    Cinco Herradura

    Cinco Herradura Pineapple Margarita With Tequila Herradura

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    A fruity mix with a touch of sparkle, the cinco Herradura is a fun tequila cocktail. It features white cranberry juice, which isn't as sweet as the red variety and won't detract from the combination of pineapple and tequila. The drink's colorful sugar rim in the colors of the Mexican flag adds a festive touch to the party.

  • 08 of 15

    The Guadalajara

    The Guadalajara Cocktail
    Rob Palmer / Getty Images

    The Guadalajara stretches the boundaries of the average tequila cocktail. The key to this drink is the pairing of reposado tequila with Fernet Branca, an Italian digestif, made from a proprietary herbal blend. There is nothing like it, and there is no drink like the Guadalajara, which is why it's a ton of fun.

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  • 09 of 15

    El Pepino

    Milagro Tequila's El Pepino Margarita Cocktail
    Rob Palmer / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    Don't let the ingredient list intimidate you, el pepino is not a difficult cocktail to mix up. This is a margarita of sorts, made with fresh cucumber and cilantro. It also brings in the fascinating texture of an egg white, just like ​some of the best classic cocktails.

  • 10 of 15

    Jalapeño Margarita

    Jalapeno Margarita With Chili Rim
    bhofack2 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

    It's not a Cinco de Mayo party without a spicy cocktail or two! The jalapeño margarita is the perfect recipe for tequila drinkers who like it hot. This recipe goes beyond the "just add a pepper" mentality for all things spicy. It classes it up with reposado tequila and an orange liqueur upgrade makes it as sophisticated as it is fun.

  • 11 of 15

    Spanish Harlem

    Sophisticated and Easy Spanish Harlem Martini Cocktail Recipe

    Matthias Hoffman   StockFood Creative / Getty Images

    The Spanish Harlem is tequila's answer to the Manhattan. It's as simple as any other "martini" recipe and a beautiful way to show off that high-end añejo tequila you have stashed in the bar. Add sweet vermouth and the bitters of your choice, and you're ready to relax with one of the finest tequila drinks ever created.

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    Spicy Pineapple Shandy

    Spicy Pineapple Shandy

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    You can certainly pour a Mexican lager into this drink, though a pale ale is the better choice. Whichever you choose, the spicy pineapple shandy offers a fascinating taste. The recipe is quite simple: Make a jalapeño syrup, mix it with tequila and lemon and pineapple juices, then top it with beer. It's an exciting and unique beer cocktail you'll want to mix up throughout the summer.

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  • 13 of 15

    Papaya Smash

    Tequila Avion's Papaya Smash Cocktail

    Kyle Rothenborg / Perspectives / Getty Images

    Pick up a few papayas and treat your guests to this delightful papaya smash cocktail. Using an añejo tequila as the base, it mixes the tropical fruit with fresh orange and lime juices, and a little agave nectar for sweetness. Things get really interesting when you add Aperol to the mix, which lends its signature bitter orange flavor to the drink.

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    Lemongrass-Ginger Tequila

    Lemongrass-Ginger Infused Tequila

    Allison Achauer / Moment Open / Getty Images

    Jazz up your average tequila shot with a little extra flavor. This lemongrass-ginger-infused tequila can take up to two weeks for the flavor to fully develop, so you'll want to start early. Once it's done, you'll have tequila with a brilliant lemony-spiced taste that's ready to amaze everyone at the party.

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    Pineapple Ginger Margarita

    Pineapple Ginger Margarita

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

    The pineapple ginger margarita recipe is one you won't want to miss. The pineapple and tequila cocktail looks sweet and innocent, but the fresh ginger puree that hides inside gives it an intriguing bite.