12 Low-Cost Tequila Cocktails to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

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lime margaritas on the rocks against Cinco de Mayo
Photo credit: Arina P Habich/shutterstock

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for the fifth of May) commemorates Mexico's victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. In the United States, it features parades, mariachi music performances, street festivals, and cocktails made with tequila, said to be North America's first distilled beverage. Instead of going out for pricey restaurant and bar drinks, create cocktails at home this year for a fraction of the price.

Better ingredients make better drinks, but there's no need to buy premium tequila if it's destined to be mixed. A good place to start is with 100 percent agave tequila from our list of best inexpensive tequilas. With a few other fresh ingredients, including seasonal fruits and simple syrup, a wide variety of fresh and tasty drinks can be concocted for a just a few dollars each.

pineapple juice cocktail with pineapple slices on wooden table
Photo credit: penguiin/shutterstock


Ingredients:
1.5 ounces reposado tequila
1 ounce pineapple juice
0.5 ounce lime juice
0.5 ounce simple syrup

Agave and pineapple have a lot of overlapping flavors, which means cocktails that include the two are an effortless hit. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake to chill, and strain into a new glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a pineapple wedge (optional).

old fashioned cocktail with orange slices in the background
Photo credit: vsl/shutterstock


Ingredients:
1.5 ounces reposado tequila
1 ounce red vermouth
1 ounce Campari
Orange slice

Negronis are bittersweet and intended to prep the stomach for a meal or aid digestion after a meal. Swapping tequila for the gin in this classic cocktail is a tasty twist that is both familiar and exciting for cocktail lovers. To make, combine all liquid ingredients over ice in a glass, stir to combine, and chill. Garnish with an orange slice.

classic margarita drink with lime and salt
Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock


Ingredients:
2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce lime juice
0.5 ounce triple sec orange liqueur

When done correctly, a margarita is one of the most refreshing and delicious drinks on the planet. The trick is using simple, high-quality ingredients -- not a mix. To make, shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a new glass over ice or straight up. Salting the rim is optional.

margarita cocktails on a bar counter
Photo credit: Ivan Mateev/shutterstock


Ingredients:
2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce lime juice
0.5 ounce simple syrup

This twist on the popular drink is becoming more and more common and likely predates what we think of as the original, or Cadillac, margarita. Even fresher, if that's possible, than the classic, this cheaper version (without orange liqueur) is likely to become a house favorite. Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a new glass over ice or straight up, with or without salt.

spicy grapefruit margarita cocktail garnished with lime and jalapeños
Photo credit: Arina P Habich/shutterstock


Ingredients:
Half serrano chili cut into slices
2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce lime juice
0.5 ounce simple syrup

Tequila and spice are natural friends in the flavor world. This margarita packs a punch with spicy serrano chili, or jalapeño for those who like a bit less heat. Muddle the chili in the bottom of a glass before filling with ice and all other ingredients, shake to combine, and transfer to a fresh glass. Garnish with a salt-and-pepper rim (optional).

lime, cucumber, and mint lemonade cocktail
Photo credit: Anna_Pustynnikova/shutterstock


Ingredients:
10 cucumber slices
1.5 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce lime juice
0.5 ounce simple syrup
3 ounces club soda

Enhance the refreshing quality of agave with this spa-like cooler. It's a touch lighter in alcohol than many other drinks, making it a good option for a sultry day or epic party. Start by muddling six cucumber slices in the bottom of a glass. Fill with ice, tequila, lime, and simple syrup. Shake to combine and strain into a fresh glass with fresh ice and cucumber slices. Top with club soda.

limeade cocktail on wooden table
Photo credit: minicase/shutterstock


Ingredients:
2 ounces blanco tequila
3 ounces club soda
Lime wedge

Keeping it simple can suit those who are watching their caloric intake, avoiding sugar, or looking for a lighter beverage. Combine the ingredients in a tall glass over ice and garnish with a lime wedge.

pink grapefruit cocktail with ice and mint
Photo credit: Oxana Denezhkina/shutterstock


Ingredients:
1.5 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce lime juice
3 ounces grapefruit soda
Dash of salt

The most popular tequila drink in Mexico, the paloma may be the queen of all tequila cocktails. Layer the ingredients in a tall glass over ice, then top with a splash of grapefruit soda.

old fashioned cocktail
Photo credit: Mateusz Gzik/shutterstock


Ingredients:
1.5 ounces añejo tequila
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
0.5 ounce simple syrup
Orange zest

This drink is a match made in heaven for those who enjoy strong stirred drinks and tequila. Both reposado and añejo tequilas work well in this sophisticated libation. Combine all ingredients in a glass, add one large ice cube, and stir to chill and slightly dilute. Garnish with orange zest.

bloody mary cocktail
Photo credit: Ramon L. Farinos/shutterstock


Ingredients:
3 ounces bloody mary mix
1.5 ounces blanco tequila

Substitute neutral vodka with flavorful tequila in a bloody mary for a festive and bold drink. To make things easy, use a high-quality mix such as Tres Agaves ($9 at BevMo), which costs about the same as homemade. Combine all ingredients over ice, stir to combine, and garnish with vegetables of your choice.

hot toddy with lemon bourbon and spices
Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock


Ingredients:
1.5 ounces reposado tequila
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce agave syrup

Served warm, tequila makes a soothing drink when you feel slightly under the weather or simply need to take a chill off. Combine all ingredients in a mug and top with almost boiling hot water, stir, and enjoy.

dark and stormy rum cocktail with lime and ginger beer
Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock


Ingredients:
2 ounces reposado tequila
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
3 ounces ginger beer
Lime wedge

This riff on the classic Caribbean rum-soaked dark 'n' stormy cocktail substitutes reposado tequila for dark rum to make an equally sweet and spicy libation. Start by combining the tequila and bitters over ice in a tall glass, saving the ginger beer for last. Stir gently to combine and garnish with a lime wedge.

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