Cinco de Mayo marks the day that the Mexican army beat France in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It’s not Mexican Independence Day — that’s Sept. 16 — but for many of us in Canada, May 5 has become a day to celebrate how much we love Mexican culture, especially the food, beer and tequila. (You probably knew this already but tequila can only be made in Mexico.)
Depending where you live in the world, Cinco de Mayo — May 5 — may look a little different this year. For those of us who live in Alberta, Canada — currently under a major COVID-19 outbreak — we are likely marking the day at home. By ourselves.
But we can still keep the Cinco de Mayo tradition alive by making margaritas — perhaps one made with Don Julio tequila.
The legendary Don Julio tequila brand was started in 1942, by one Don Julio González. Born in 1925 in Mexico, he wasn’t yet 20 years old at the time, but he already had clear ideas on how tequila could be improved. He shared his vision with a wealthy businessman in his town, who could see the young man’s potential and gave him a loan to create his first distillery.
González then began implementing his changes. He started by planting the agave (the spiky succulent used to make tequila) further apart, a move that gave it room to grow and mature before harvesting. He steamed the pina, the pineapple-shaped heart of the agave, for 72-hour cycles, something that had never been done before either.
Even his bottles broke with tradition. For generations, tequila bottles were tall, made to hide under tables. Gonzalez, however, didn’t believe his spirits deserved to to be hidden, so he packaged them in short bottles so that guests could easily pass them around the table to share.
The rest, as they say, is history. Salud!
Don Julio Margarita
1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz simple syrup or agave nectar
Fresh lime wedges
Combine Don Julio Blanco, fresh lime juice, simple syrup or agave nectar into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge. Serves one.