6 Non-Margarita Drinks to Enjoy on Cinco de Mayo


Tired of celebrating Cinco de Mayo with yet another margarita? Try these popular Mexican drinks, which go beyond lime and tequila.


If you don’t want to veer too far way away from the margarita, la paloma (which means "dove") is the drink for you: The refreshing beverage, which consists of tequila, grapefruit soda, and lime, even calls for salt on the rim. According to one theory, the drink is named after a popular folk song from the 1860s; another says it was named after "Cucurrucucu Paloma," a 1950s song written by Tomás Méndez and originally performed by Pedro Infante. No matter how it got its name, la paloma remains one of the most popular cocktails in Mexico. You can find a recipe here.


Next time you eat a pineapple, save the rind, which you can use to make tepache. To make this traditional Mexican drink, throw the rind in a pot with piloncillo (unrefined sugar), some spices, and water; bring to a boil, then simmer; add ripe pineapple chunks; and let the whole concoction ferment for a few days. For a more alcoholic version, you then add a beer, wait a little longer, and enjoy. Tepache has its roots in the nahuatl word tapiatl, which means “drink made from corn”—the original base for this drink. You can find a recipe here.


Sometimes referred to as the Mexican Bloody Mary, this drink is traditionally made with beer, lime, and various spices, and nowadays frequently features tomato juice as well. Depending on where you’re drinking it, it may also contain clamato juice, Worcestershire sauce, or Maggi seasoning. The Michelada may be named after Michel Esper, who created it at a bar, or Augusto Michel, a general in the Mexican Revolution who put hot sauce in his troops' beer. (In 2005, however, the owner of a michelada mix manufacturer claimed that he made up the Augusto Michel story to “add mystique to our product.”) But the most popular explanation is that Michelada is a combination of mi (my), chela (beer), and helada (iced): "my cold beer." You can find a recipe here.


The precise origin of this fermented corn drink is unknown, but it dates back to pre-Columbian times and is usually associated with the state of Colima. And yes, it is fermented from the same corn dough (Masa) used to make tortillas. By boiling the dough with water and piloncillo until it's a thick liquid, vendors create a drink with either low or nonexistent alcohol content. It is frequently served on the streets of Colima combined with lime juice in a plastic cup or simply a bag with a straw in it.


This ancient yeasty beverage, made from the fermented sap of the maguey (agave plant), was popular in Mexico until the Spanish brought another yeasty drink over from Europe. Pulque was used in many ceremonies and the sap from the plant was believed to be the blood of the goddess Mayahuel. (One of the key differences between pulque and the other two famous agave drinks, tequila and mezcal, is that pulque is never distilled, and is instead left to ferment in fermentation houses known as tinacales.) Sour and yeast-like, pulque declined in popularity after beer came onto the scene, but it's recently enjoyed something of a comeback. You can find out how to make it yourself here.


This bright red drink has been made in Mexico for thousands of years using the fermented prickly pear found on the cacti of the Opuntia genus mixed with sugar. It's made wherever nopal (the Mexican Spanish term for the plant) is abundant.

7 Surprising Uses for Tequila

Happy National Margarita Day! While you could celebrate by having a few drinks, you could also skip the hangover by unlocking one of tequila's amazing abilities outside of the glass. Many spirits are useful for activities beyond sipping (vodka, for example, is a great stain and odor remover), but tequila holds some particularly magical powers. Here are just a few of them.


In 2008, a team of scientists in Mexico discovered that when the heated vapor from an 80-proof tequila blanco was combined with a silicon or stainless steel substrate, it resulted in the formation of diamond films. These films can be used in commercial applications, such as electrical insulators, or to create one big fake diamond. Who knew that spending $50 on a bottle of Don Julio was such a wise investment?


Keeping with the science theme: In 2011, researchers at England’s University of Oxford suggested that we may one day be gassing up our cars with tequila. They identified agave, the plant from which tequila is produced, as a potential biofuel source—and a particularly attractive one, as the plant itself is not consumed by humans and can thrive in desert climates.


Scientists have long promoted the potential benefits of the agave plant for its ability to help dissolve fats and lower cholesterol. The bad news? These properties get a bit diluted when the plant is distilled into alcohol. Even more so when it's whipped into a sugary margarita.


Take three or more shots of tequila and you’re bound to pass out. A single shot can have the same effect—just not in that drunken stupor kind of way. Relaxation is one of the positive side effects of tequila drinking; a small amount (1 to 1.5 ounces) before bedtime can reportedly help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.


Too much of a good thing may not bring a welcome turn of events for your liver … but your colon will thank you! Researchers at Mexico’s University of Guadalajara have identified the blue agave as a potentially helpful source for delivering drugs to the colon in order to treat colitis, IBS, Crohn’s disease and even cancer.


If Ernest Hemingway had known about the healing properties of tequila, his signature drink might have been a margarita instead of a daiquiri. In 2010, experiments conducted at Mexico’s Polytechnic Institute of Guanajuato revealed that the agave plant (which is high in fructans, a fructose polymer) could stimulate the GLP-1 hormone, aiding in increased insulin production.


“Plenty of liquids” is a well-known remedy for getting oneself out from under the weather. But expanding that definition to include a kicked-up shot of tequila makes a day laid out on the couch sound much more appealing. In the 1930s, doctors in Mexico recommended the following concoction to fight off a cold.

.5 ounce of tequila blanco
.5 ounce of agave nectar (to eliminate bacteria and soothe sore throats)
.5 ounce of fresh lime juice (for Vitamin C)

Though some people (including tequila companies) swear by its healing powers, others say it's hogwash.

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