If you like tequila, mezcal and the cuisine and culture of Mexico, why should you celebrate September 16th?
Because it’s Mexican Independence Day.
In the U.S., the holiday Americans celebrate is Cinco de Mayo. But Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday in Mexico. More Americans celebrate it than Mexicans!
Here’s the scoop on Mexican Independence Day, commemorating the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence from Spanish colonial rule in 1810—the biggest holiday celebration in Mexico.
Why do Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
The date commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over superior French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It is celebrated locally in the city and state of Puebla, in south-central Mexico.
A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the U.S. Cinco de Mayo has taken on a life of its own. It has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations, and many non-Mexican fans of the cuisine. Here’s more on the holiday.
So what’s today’s tip?
Celebrate with some chile-infused liqueur.
In 1927, the Reyes family of Puebla, Mexico made a homemade liqueur from the area’s ample ancho chile crop. Fortunately, they decided to make it commercially.
We love its smoky heat, for mixing, sipping neat, in marinades or for drizzling over lemon or lime sorbet.
It’s not simple, sweet heat: Beyond the smoky chile are notes of cinnamon, cocoa, herbs and tamarind (maybe more depending on the sensitivity of your palate).
Here’s a detailed story in pictures of how the chiles are grown and infused to become Ancho Reyes.
We’ve seen it on Wine-Tracker from $29.99 to a high of $48.99.
We really enjoyed this cocktail from Casa Noble Tequila (here are more recipes).
The recipe specifies reposado tequila, slightly aged (a minimum of two months by law): Casa Noble reposed is matured in French white oak barrels for 364 days!
We had only silver/blanco, but it was delicious just the same. (Here are the different types of tequila.)
1. COMBINE all ingredients—except the garnish and ice—in a mixing glass. Stir and strain the drink into a glass over ice.
2. SQUEEZE the orange peel into the glass; then rub the inside of the peel around rim and drop into the glass.
Here’s an Ancho Reyes cocktail we published, featuring grilled pineapple.
OTHER CHILE-INFUSED SPIRITS
While not an exhaustive list, we found these products at retailers:
You can infuse tequila or vodka (or any other spirit) with fresh chiles. The spirit adds more heat to Margaritas and Bloody Marys (and the tequila-based Bloody Maria and Chipotle Maria.
You can also cook with the infused spirits. Just search online for “cooking with tequila” (or vodka) and you’ll find everything from salad dressing and marinades to pasta sauce and tequila-lime sorbet.
Try three chiles your first time out. If you want more heat when you taste it after 3-4 weeks, you can add more chiles and infuse for another 3-4 weeks (or just use more chiles next time).
Here’s our glossary of the different types of chiles.
1. WASH the chiles, pat dry, slit lengthwise and insert into the bottle of tequila.
2. CAP the bottle tightly and place in a cool (away from a heat source), dark place for 3 weeks. Taste and if you want more chile flavor, infuse for another 1-2 weeks.
3. KEEP or strain the chiles from the bottle, depending on how you like the look.
Infused spirits are great for gifting!