Tequila is, undoubtedly, the spirit of Mexico. Tequila’s sophisticated and continuously increasing quality is the result of blending native agricultural techniques and modern technology, all held together with tradition.
Being Mexican, this traditional backbone inevitably includes one of the most spiritual celebrations in the human world: Dia De Los Muertos.
Dia De Los Muertos, or the day of the dead (DOTD), is a celebration that grips the entirety of Mexico on the 1st & 2nd of November. To pay homage to this spiritual celebration I’ve gathered three of the best 100% agave tequilas available to me here in the UK.
Taking one cocktail from each brands’ website, I will recreate them, aiming to not only showcase brand used but to really help you get a traditional Mexican celebration going this Dia De Los Muertos.
But, before we delve into the recipes, let’s take a little look a what Dia De Los Muertos is, and why it is so widely celebrated across the country Tequila calls home…
Whilst predominantly celebrated in the central and southern regions of Mexico, DOTD has spread to most of the northern regions as well, no small part due to the Mexican Government declaring it a national holiday.
DOTD takes place on the 1st & 2nd November every year and even though this coincides with the catholic holidays of All Souls and All Saints day, the Mexican population has managed to blend both religion and tradition together, culminating in this very spiritual event.
DOTD rests on the belief that, for the 1st of November, the spirits of deceased children will be allowed passage to Earth, from heaven. During this 24hr period, the children return to their loved ones and enjoy the festivities laid out for them by their friends and families.
On the 2nd of November, adult spirits also return down to their loved ones, enjoying the singing, dancing, and other festivities laid out especially for them.
Almost all houses will contain a homemade altar decorated with marigold flowers, candles, sugar skulls, and pictures of the deceased loved one(s) along with their favourite food and drink. This is all done by the deceased’s families and friends and can come at a great personal expense. But, as this holiday is all about celebrating the lives of their loved ones, the economic cost is not a driving factor – it just serves as an example of how important to the Mexican people this tradition is.
On the 2nd, festivities are taken to the cemeteries and there the individuals will sing, dance, and care for their loved ones’ gravestones. Stories are told of their loved ones and families, friends, and others, all gather to celebrate the lives of their deceased.
Dia De Los Muertos is an upbeat celebration that captures the spirit of joy and ultimately shows a true acceptance of death in everyday life. This tradition celebrates the life of the deceased rather than simply mourning the dead.
Dia De Los Muertos is such a celebration that tequila brands jump at the chance to share it with the world. Of course, it acts as a great selling point for their brands but, ultimately, they also share this celebration with the world.
Simply put, Tequila brands make Mexico’s most famous alcoholic beverage and they make it in the traditional way. Part of this tradition is celebrating Dia De Los Muertos. That is why most tequila brands (especially the 100% agave ones) will really kick things up a notch around the end of October…
Now for what you’ve all been waiting for, the 3 gloriously delicious Dia De Los Muertos cocktails…
Patron – Fresas En Fuego
(45ml) 3 measures Patron Silver
(15ml) 1 measure Ginger Liqueur
(15ml) 1 measure Fresh Lime Juice
(15ml) 1 measure Sugar Syrup
4 x Hulled Strawberries
2 x Jalapeno coins (slices)
Garnish: Strawberry & Jalapeno Skewer.
- In a shaker, muddle the strawberries, jalapeno coins, and sugar syrup.
- Add the tequila, ginger liqueur, and lime juice.
- Shake well over ice.
- Double strain into a chilled coupe cocktail glass.
- Garnish with the strawberry & jalapeno skewer.
Patron Tequila is as beautifully crafted as they come. It is a premium brand in that it does cost a small fortune to sample some of their high-end products but, as with all alcohol brands, you pay for what you get. All their products are handmade, from Pina to Cork, and this is evident in the high quality taste their products are renown for.
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: If you love spice in your cocktail, try infusing your Patron Silver tequila with some sliced Jalapenos.
Herradura – Agave Seco
1 measure Herradura Silver Tequila
1 ¼ measure Cointreau
½ measure Campari
1 measure Fresh Orange Juice
1 measure Fresh Grapefruit Juice
Garnish: 1-2 slices Kiwi, 1-2 slices strawberries, and 1 sprig Mint.
- Add the tequila, Cointreau, Campari, and juices to an ice-filled shaker.
- Shake well (10-15 seconds should do it)
- Strain into a chilled rocks glass.
- Garnish with the kiwi, strawberries, and mint sprig.
Herradura produce 100% agave tequila and they pride themselves on slowly aged uncompromising tequila. They barrel age their Tequila longer than the standard required and the quality of their products show through. I had the pleasure of sampling their range at Imbibe Live 2016 and believe me, they are sublime in their quality.
Ocho – El Diablo
50ml Ocho Blanco
25ml Fresh Lime Juice
10ml Fresh Ginger Syrup
10ml Creme De Cassis
Top Up Ginger Ale
Garnish: 2 x Lime wedges
- Combine all ingredients over ice and shake well (again, 10-15 seconds should suffice).
- Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass.
- Garnish with a lime wedge. Or two.
The El Diablo Is a cocktail I’ve been excited about for a long time. It’s simple, yet tremendously satisfying to drink. Its balance of heat and sweet is sublime and it brings out the playfulness of the tequila!
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: If you want a higher hit of heat to this drink, muddle some fresh root ginger in the bottom of the glass with the lime juice. It will add a little raw heat to the overall taste!
So there you have 3 stunning cocktails, using 3 rather eloquent 100% agave tequilas, and what’s more, they’ll all help you kick off your Dia De Los Muertos celebrations with a bang!
Do you have any parties planned for this spooky weekend? Try turning them into a celebration and revel in the spiritual togetherness Dia De Los Muertos stands for!
Disclaimer: the Herradura Tequila was provided as a sample by the grace of Mangrove, a drinks distributor here in the UK. The sample was free, but that in no way biases y statements. Any comments made in this post (or any other) is strictly of my own opinion and will always be so.
Are you a celebrator of the spiritual Dia De Los Muertos? If so, what is your cocktail of choice, if you choose to drink one?
If you enjoy your tequila in other ways this time of year, why not share them in the comments?