Today is Cinco de Mayo, commemorating the date in 1862 when the Mexican Army defeated French forces during the Battle of Puebla. And we have to get this out of the — today is not Mexican Independence Day! (You have to wait until September 16 for that one.)
Keep in mind that on Cinco de Mayo, you can be both a history buff and an imbiber of the prized margarita!
There are many options is the neighborhood — here are five of our favorites.
This wouldn’t be the epitome of margarita lists, if we didn’t start off with Fonda (434 7th Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets). Go high class with their Cadillac Margarita (Oro), made with Cazadores Reposado tequila, and Grand Marnier, OR hit up their signature Hibiscus Margarita (Rosalita), made with silver tequila, hibiscus, orange liquor, and lime juice, with their own hibiscus rim.
Western-styled Tex-Mex joint Lobo (188 5th Avenue between Sackett and Degraw Streets) keeps things spicy with their house-infused tequilas. For the most heat, request Ancho Chile or Jalapeño & Serrano in the classic margarita, or try a different kind of spice with the Sangre de Lobo margarita. The specialty cocktail uses their cinnamon-infused tequila and mixes in blood orange puree, lending it the flavor and aromatics usually found in more wintry drinks.
Los Pollitos II (148 5th Avenue at Douglass Street) is famed for its margaritas, even making a “Best of NY” list for its variation on the classic cocktail. Owner Jose Pauco makes them special with 1800 Silver tequila, fresh lime juice, and a splash of orange juice, and the result is dangerously delicious. The bar also offers fruity variations made with real, fresh fruit. Soak up the drinks with a heaping plate of guacamole (fresh and made to order) and some chips.
Mezcal (223 5th Avenue near President Street) has eight variations on the traditional margarita, with a Happy Hour that happens until 7pm. Now why should you stay for dinner tonight? Because Mezcal is giving complementary tequila shots to wash down your meal.
Describing the menu at Miti Miti (138 5th Avenue near Douglass Street) is a bit tricky because it really is an inclusive affair, referred to by the owners as “Mediterranean cuisine with inspirations from several European cultures in addition to foods found around the world. Hints of Greece, Italy and Spain are intermingled with Latin American and Middle Eastern influences.” What we can recommend is their Spicy hibiscus margarita with chili pepper salt rim.
With additional reporting by Arianna.