It may be that it’s because my birthday is tomorrow, or that I grew up in CA, or just that I like colorful things (oooooh… pretty….) but I’ve always had a soft spot for Cinco de Mayo. Not the binge-drinking part, but the let’s-celebrate-Mexico part, even if I do tend to over-romanticize the part where I imagine lounging in a hammock with a flower in my hair, wearing a long skirt and leather sandals, or dancing late at night surrounded by colorful lights. My only actual memory of Mexico involves camping on a beach and waking up early to watch the sun rise and drink apricot nectar with my dad. So I realize that I’m ignoring political and economic realities. I do. But come on people, if I can decide that Bastille Day is a great excuse to wander around Brooklyn in a beret (and I do) then I’m allowed to reduce Cinco de Mayo to happy cliches of a bright and beautiful culture.
So here are some tips for a very festive Cinco de Mayo, from the girl who took French and not Spanish in high school.
Start out with the perfect margarita, and then make it better with (drumroll please) ROSEMARY! I know it sounds crazy, but this is a recipe stolen directly from my favorite bar up the street:
- Make rosemary simple syrup by boiling equal amounts of sugar, water, and three or four sprigs of fresh rosemary over the stove. Once it’s come to a boil and the sugar has dissolved, take it off the heat and let it steep for an hour to make surethat all the oils are broken down and infused into the sugar water. Finally, strain it, and you’re ready to go!
- Now make a regular margarita using whatever recipe you prefer (I included a good one above), but also add in the rosemary simple syrup – I found about 1 1/2 TB to make it pretty rosemary-y, but this is entirely to taste. I find that this makes a very sweet margarita, and I like ’em limey, so I add in about half again as much lime juice to counteract the extra sugar, but again, this is entirely to taste. Add a little bit at a time and see what works for you.
I’m also planning on making sopes tonight, one of my all-time-favorite dishes from south of the border. If you’ve never had them, they’re delicious. Think if a tortilla was made with like three or four times the thickness as normal, was served piping hot, with fresh salsa, guacamole, beans, pulled pork, queso, and anything else your now-overflowing-with-happy heart can think of.