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Tequila and tacos for Cinco de Mayo

What to drink while tasting a delicious Mexican treat. Plus, why is this such an important holiday?

The popularity of taco trucks such as Patty’s Taco Truck in Chinatown, El Idolo in the Meatpacking District or Williamsburg’s El Diablo don’t just make getting your favorite Mexican treat easier, they’re revolutionizing the art of the taco. And just in time for Cinco de Mayo, Adam Schuman, beverage director of Fatty Crew, has crafted what could be the country’s first taco truck cocktail pairing with his Bucking Borracho.

“Tacos are generally filled with fatty cuts of meats, so you want to make a drink that will cut through the fat and the flavor of the toppings,” he says.

The Bucking Borracho, made with Espolon Tequila Reposado, lemon juice, chocolate bitters and ginger beer is a great addition to any taco, but he especially recommends pairing it with El Diablo’s Braised Tacos de Lengua. Their rich and complex flavors perfectly match the sweet and sour Bucking Borracho.

Taco recipe

El Diablo’s Braised Tacos de Lengua
El Diablo Taco Truck
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Makes roughly 7-8 tacos


½ beef tongue, cleaned
2½ cups water
2 cups beef stock
½ white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 jalapeno, sliced
2 tomatoes, halved and sliced
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ bottle dark Mexican beer
1 tbs. vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
Queso fresco
Corn tortillas


Season beef tongue generously with salt and pepper. Saute onions, garlic, jalapeno and tomatoes in a heavy pot with vegetable oil for five minutes. Add water, beef stock and dark beer to sauteed vegetables; bring to a boil. Add beef tongue and chopped cilantro to a heavy pot and salt to taste. Simmer covered until tender, turning tongue once. Braise for about three hours. Cool uncovered in broth. Remove tongue and cut into ¼-inch slices. Dress with queso fresco, onions, cilantro and a wedge of lime. Serve on a corn tortilla, and top with salsa.

Top Cinco

Tidbits on Cinco de Mayo and tequila from Don Julio’s master distiller, Enrique de Colsa:

» Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the Battle of Puebla, when the Mexicans defeated the French in an unlikely victory on May 5, 1862. It is not Mexican Independence Day as many believe; that is on Sept. 16.
» Cinco de Mayo has come to be a celebration of Mexican culture, pride and heritage among Mexicans living around the world.
» People often celebrate Cinco de Mayo with tequila cocktails since tequila is Mexico’s favorite authentic spirit.
» Pure tequila is made from 100 percent blue agave and must be produced in designated regions of Mexico, primarily located in the state of Jalisco. Though agave looks like it is a cactus plant, it is in fact a member of the lily family.
» Agave plants are harvested and then distilled and aged for varying amounts of time to create the four basic categories of tequila: Blanco, Reposado, Anejo and Extra-Anejo. As master distiller, I oversee the small-batch, double-distillation process at Don Julio.

Cocktail recipes

Bucking Borracho
Created by Adam Schuman, beverage director of Fatty Crew, New York, N.Y.


2 oz. Espolon Tequila Reposado
.25 oz. ginger syrup
.5 oz. lemon juice
.5 oz. lime juice
2 dashes blended chocolate bitters (equal parts Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate and Bitter Truth Xocolatl Bitters)
1.5 oz. ginger beer
Lemon slice
Mint sprig


In a shaker, mix tequila, ginger syrup, lemon juice, lime juice and chocolate bitters with ice. Shake and strain into an iced highball, leaving enough room to top with chilled ginger beer. Garnish with lemon and mint.

Spark Passion
Created by: Brian Van Flandern, Tequila Don Julio global brand ambassador


1 1/2 ounce Tequila Don Julio Reposado
3/4 ounces lemon juice
1 ounce agave syrup
1/4 ounce cherry liqueur
3/4 ounce pink grapefruit juice


Combine Don Julio Reposado, lemon juice, agave syrup, cherry liqueur and grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well.
Pour contents from shaker into rocks glass.

Ideal Serving Glass: Rocks glass

Yield: 1 drink

Pico de Plata
Hornitos recently launched a new horn shaped shot glass in honor of the first official tequila shot glass – a bull’s horn.After a long day’s work, Mexican farmers used to shoot shots of tequila from a bull’s horn to celebrate the day’s end.


1 part jalapeno infused Hornitos Plata Tequila
½ part fresh pineapple juice
¼part red pepper puree
¼part fresh lime juice
Dash Bitter Truth celery bitters
Salt and pepper to rim glass


Shake and strain in to a salt and pepper rimmed shot glass.
Cut the skin off the jalapeno, and soak the seeds and pith of three (3) Jalapenos per 750ml bottle of Hornitos Plata Tequila for 30 minutes, or to taste. Remove stems, seeds and veins from a red pepper. Toss into blender and puree until smooth.

Repo Twist
Created by: Cervantes Ramirez, Master Mixologist and General Manager of West Village speakeasy Little Branch

2 oz. Riazul Reposado
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
¾ oz. simple sugar
Fresh mint leaf
2 slices skinned cucumber

Muddle together reposado, lime juice, simple sugar and fresh mint. Garnish with cucumber slices.

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