Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner and is conveniently on a (thirsty) Thursday — a great excuse to have one or two more drinks than usual. For those of you that don’t know, this holiday, “commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867),” according to History.com. That said, you don’t have to travel far to get your fiesta on, so, what are your plans to celebrate? Find out where to go this 5th of May for the best drinks, food, and atmosphere New York City has to offer.
Beauty and Essex & Stanton Social
These two popular Lower East Side spots will be offering Mexican themed cocktails that are sure to be both delicious and strong. Beauty and Essex will be featuring a melon mojito with rum, melon nectar, mint, lime and cava; as well as a spicy twist on an old fashioned with mezcal, tequila, chile liqueur, a hint of orange, and Angostura and chocolate bitters. Stanton Social is also getting in on the fun with its drink, Lost in Polanco, which uses a jalapeño-infused tequila, blood orange juice, lime, and triple sec.
Still a relatively new spot, Bonnie Vee has an old school 1930s and 1940s. If you find yourself wanting to go out, but not get too rowdy, swing by and try its Cinco de Mayo special, which features Santera blanco tequila, muddled cilantro, honey, along with lime and grapefruit flavors.
For top-notch cocktails in a beautiful bar setting, head to Hardings where head bartender an one of Time Out New York’s top bartender finalists, Derrick Turner, will be mixing classic and original cocktails and more all night long. Be sure to order the night’s spicy Cinco de Mayo special, the Mula de Mexico, which is comes with 1800 Silver tequila, chipotle peppers, ginger beer, sweet cane sugar, and lime.
Agave Restaurant & Tequila Bar
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo, this May 5th, but continue the party Friday and Saturday nights too, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Agave Restaurant & Tequila Bar. It will be offering patrons at the bar free and unlimited chips and guacamole, $5 classic “House” margaritas, and $5 chicken quesadillas.
Both TAO Uptown and Downtown will be adding special drinks to their menus for this holiday. TAO Uptown will be serving its own twist on the classic mojito with a lemon-infused rum; a refreshing Pama Sutra which comes with tequila, a pomegranate liqueur, and lime; and a TAO-tini shaken with a mango passion fruit vodka, rum, and cranberry. TAO Downtown will be kicking up the spice with its mango chile martini that has tequila, house-spiced mango purée, and chile oil, as well as its TAO-garita which is created with tequila, TAO sour, and wasabi salt.
Pod 39 Rooftop
Another rooftop favorite is Pod 39 Rooftop, which will have both tequila-infused cocktails and live entertainment. April Bloomfield’s Salvation Taco will be serving special food and drink pairings for the event that include the carnitas duo, chicken tinga duo, and chorizo tacos with all of the fixings, and a draft Negra Modelo for a perfect $10. If you are looking for bar snacks, you can’t go wrong with the homemade Chicharron for $5. Dance to the Mariachi Tapatio De Alvaro Paulino all night while drinking in a beautiful sky-high setting. Drink specials will also include a $10 Frozen Hibiscus Ginger Margarita and a $14 Mezcal Mule.
Begin Cinco de Mayo (and continue the fiesta through Saturday) by enjoying $5 braised short rib tostadas and $5.00 “The Daisy” margaritas, featuring tromba blanco tequila, st. Germaine black pepper, egg white, and lime marmalade.The Daisy will also be serving free and unlimited chips and guacamole to all those at the bar from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday.
The Cinco de Mayo party at this lounge starts at 6p.m. featuring tequila cocktail specials (obviously) including the house special of the night, the Cadillac Margarita, with Santera Reposado, grand marnier, and lime. There will be DJs and dancing all night, so get ready!
For the beginning of what is most assuredly to be a crazy night at LAVO, start the evening with its Mexican themed special, the pompelmo, a libation that mixes jalapeño tequila, grapefruit, and fresh lime.
For a festive night filled with art and flare, check out the recently opened Lower East Side’s Vandal. For Cinco de Mayo, it will be offering a spicy, refreshing Las Palmitas which comes with a Thai spiced illegal mezcal, Thai basil leaves, grapefruit bitters, and grapefruit beer; and a cocktail called the Pushcart Wars, with a jalapeño-habanero tequila, currant tea, rosemary, and lime.
Gansevoort Park Avenue
In the mood for Mexican fare, in addition to cocktails? Head to Gansevoort Park Avenue which has a lovely rooftop 20 stories high for views of the Empire State building. In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Gansevoort Park will be offering both drink and cocktail specials that include $15 for your choice of 3 tacos, $10 margaritas, and $6 draft Coronas. Tacos offered include the carne asada served with charred shishito peppers, salsa verde, and cipollini onion; and the rock shrimp taco with spicy aïoli, smashed avocado, and radish.
With an extensive libations menu, this more casual watering hole will be commemorating the holiday with a drink called the Cuchi Cuchi Baby, which is a spicy mix of Santera blanco tequila, serrano pepper cordial, cucumber, as well as basil and lime.
And for those of you that don’t feel like getting too wild on a weeknight, have your own fiesta in the comfort of your home. Just don’t forget the tequila. For ridiculously easy-to-make margaritas check out Jose Cuervo’s ready-to-drink margarita jugs which come in a slew of yummy flavors. Just take your Jose Cuervo margarita (flavors include classic, white peach, pink lemonade, watermelon, strawberry lime, and coconut pineapple) and blend with ice. Boom. Instant party.
Lastly, I know there are some people (not me) who really dislike tequila. Totally fine. For a cocktail that’s less liquor, but still delicious and alcoholic, grab some fruity beers like Traveler Beer Co.’s Grapefruit Traveler and shake it with ice, a splash of tequila, grapefruit juice, pinch of salt, and a bit of simple syrup. For the adventurous, add some hot sauce. Time to party.
Cinco de Mayo turns NYC into a fiesta one day a year — don’t miss out!