If I'm going to make mojitos, they better be good mojitos
December 4, 2009 5:58 AM   Subscribe

I'm having a tacotastic dinner party for my boyfriend's birthday. What's a tasty cocktail/punch recipe that goes with the fresh, rich, spicy flavors of Mexican food? Simplicity is a plus; I don't mind making flavored simple syrup or finding juices or fresh ingredients but I'd like to avoid buying 6 bottles of liquor for one drink.

At least one gluten-free guest is coming (though she always brings sorghum beer or wine), so the food is a buffet-style free-for-all with tortillas in every incarnation, roast veggies (cippolini onions, beet, potato), black beans & rice, chipotle sauce (chipotles in adobo pureed with pumpkin seeds and chocolate), cilantro crema (enough cilantro to terrify the haters pureed with queso fresco, lime juice, and crema). So, greasy & rich with bright & fresh flavors and a lot of heat.

We like gin, rum, and vodka, I LOVE champagne cocktails, and preferably the drink would either be a little on the girly side or easy to dilute with tonic/juice/mixer.
posted by Juliet Banana to Food & Drink (36 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Sangria ?
posted by lobstah at 6:03 AM on December 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 6:04 AM on December 4, 2009

Bloody Maria
posted by Pollomacho at 6:13 AM on December 4, 2009

Sangria all the way.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:15 AM on December 4, 2009

Limeade?? That's what I've had in Mexico. Limeade and Vodka sound awesome to me.
posted by beccaj at 6:16 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Maybe this is too obvious, but how about strawberry or mango margaritas? If people want something a little less girly, you can do lime ones, but use Grand Marnier instead of triple sec.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:24 AM on December 4, 2009

If you decide to go with sangria, I've made this white sangria for a similarly vegetastic meal and it was a hit. I substituted some cheap triple sec for the Grand Marnier and used a random not-too-sweet white wine instead of Viognier and it turned out great; I imagine it would be only better with the proper ingredients. That was in the summer, though, so maybe fresh mangos and peaches were easier to find.

I love the idea of a good limeade with vodka, too.
posted by sa3z at 6:25 AM on December 4, 2009

What beccaj is describing is a Caipiroska. And which I heartily second.
posted by vacapinta at 6:25 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, for non-alcoholic drinks, Agua Fresca or Horchata. Recipes here.
posted by CathyG at 6:27 AM on December 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Margaritas are the obvious choice, but if you think you have enough lime on the table there are recipes for orange margaritas around (which are a little easier for bulk batches since good orange juice is easier to get than good lime juice).

You could also make a spiked aqua fresca; I like tamarind or jamaica (hibiscus, though it tends to be carpet/mouth/clothes-staining red).
posted by Lyn Never at 6:28 AM on December 4, 2009

Or, what CathyG said. And riffing on Caipiroshka, there's the original Caipirinha.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:28 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Caipirinhas! Simple to make, delicious to drink, open to endless variation.

Or, if you don't want to make sangria, how about some Tinto de Verano?.
posted by Panjandrum at 6:29 AM on December 4, 2009

That Lyn Never is one clever kitty.
posted by Panjandrum at 6:30 AM on December 4, 2009

Sangria and Margaritas are good ideas. But I wanted to throw Mojitos out there as an idea, too. I like that they're not as sweet and syrupy as the other two drinks.
posted by MorningPerson at 6:34 AM on December 4, 2009

If you do horchata, make sure you make a gluten-free recipe! Be forewarned, some of the cheap mixes contain wheat flour.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:41 AM on December 4, 2009

Gin? Rum? Vodka? With Mexican food!!!???? ARE YOU MAD!!??? Even a Mexican Martini has tequila! It's MEXICO!

Sangria is definitely the correct answer, especially if you aren't into tequila. Otherwise something like a tequila sunrise, margarita, or some kind of Mexican punch would combine well. Worst comes to worst, Mexican beer. You can also look here for some interesting ideas.

*Most of the time I'm a vodka girl myself, but having grown up 20 minutes from Mexico, I just couldn't imagine enjoying vodka with tacos... it would feel like I was mixing flavors that shouldn't meet. Your mileage may vary...
posted by miss lynnster at 6:50 AM on December 4, 2009

Hmm, I occasionally mix champagne, vodka, and fresh-squeezed OJ. I call it a screwmosa. I'm sure it has a regular name, too. You can go easy on the vodka (or heavy on the vodka). Experiment a bit.

The margarita is a classic, I'm kinda meh about it in this situation unless you like tequila. Beer margaritas are great but not gluten-free.

Consider the Pina Colada (with the little thingy over the n). You can make it without the rum and add rum to taste. It can be a sticky pain in the ass, though, and overly sweet. Doesn't jibe with your food 100%

In my experience, sangria is not really as friendly to Mexican food as margaritas, it's not really Mexican as much as Spanish, but then again, I hate red wine.
posted by kathrineg at 6:52 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

BTW, rum is ok if you're doing mojitos... it's still latin but it's cuban, not mexican.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:53 AM on December 4, 2009

I hate gin, but it goes really well with limeade. Insanely well.
posted by sunshinesky at 6:54 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I love tamarind so much because you usually don't get it outside of Mexican places, if you made a tamarind cocktail (as mentioned above) it would be awesome and special. It can be an acquired taste, of course.
posted by kathrineg at 6:54 AM on December 4, 2009

And yeah, Sangria is spanish, not Mexican either.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:56 AM on December 4, 2009

Get some Jarritos soda. Add liquor.
posted by notsnot at 6:58 AM on December 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Seconding gin and limeade. You'll be shocked how well it works. I make all my margaritas with gin now.
posted by thejanna at 7:21 AM on December 4, 2009

Caipirinhas are a nice alternative to mojitos and require only one kind of alcohol, cachaça, which is a little different from your standard rum/gin/vodka bar basics without being so unusual that you never use up the bottle. They're refreshing and can be made as strong or sweet as each person wants.

I've never particularly cared for rum--too heavy and sweet for me--but I find that cachaça is sweet without that heavy molasses-y taste.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:21 AM on December 4, 2009

Heh. If you want authenticity - what Mexicans in mexico drink. Try:

1. Beer (Bohemia or Negro Modelo)
2. Tequila with Squirt
3. El Presidente Brandy
posted by vacapinta at 7:40 AM on December 4, 2009

The best thing in the world with spicy Mexican or tex-mex is simple summer-style beer.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:42 AM on December 4, 2009

Tequila sunrise. OJ, tequlia, grenadine. Mmmmmmm

Beer is a good choice, too.

Tequila with Squirt (or Fresca) is delicious as well.
posted by FergieBelle at 8:07 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

And yeah, Sangria is spanish, not Mexican either.

It is very popular in Mexico, to the point where some Mexican bartenders don't believe it's Spanish at all.

However, a completely Mexican and coincidentally-named beverage is sangrita.

Argentina says Clerico!
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:10 AM on December 4, 2009

Jamaica (pronounced Huh-my-ka, not like the island) is the best non-alchiholic Hispanic Drink. You can find mixes, but here's a recipe. It is super tasty and very refreshing with spicy food. I don't know how it would mix with alchohol.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:24 AM on December 4, 2009

Mojitos! Light, refreshing and not heavy like many of the other suggestions here.
posted by wandergeek at 10:31 AM on December 4, 2009

I don't know how authentic you want to be, but sangria, mojitos and caipirinhas are not Mexican and I don't think they would pair well with tacos.

The classic taco drinks are beer, Coca-cola or aguas frescas (Tamarind, Jamaica/hibiscus and Horchata). I'd go with a mango or Tamarind margarita, and maybe for a toast, a champagne and hibiscus cocktail. Both are girly drinks and you can make tequila-free margaritas.
posted by clearlydemon at 10:45 AM on December 4, 2009

Yeah, I'm going to echo clearlydemon on this one. Aguas frescas, though non-alcoholic, are what I associate with tacos. Keep in mind, these are small Mexican tacos with toppings like barbacoa or al pastor I'm thinking about, not large crispy shelled ground beef ones.
posted by pravit at 1:20 PM on December 4, 2009

Response by poster: If I was aiming for straight-up authenticity, I'd drink what my family drinks, which is endless cans of Tecate and/or cheap tequila mixed with Dole Pineapple-Strawberry-Orange juice. I'm more going for something festive and that we all haven't had a million times before.

I'm thinking of mixing up a few of the ideas and making a jamaica cocktail; fill a glass with lime wedges and ice, pour in liquor and a jamaica simple syrup (half sugar, half water, heat until sugar dissolved, steep flor de jamaica/dried hibiscus in the hot liquid).

What liquor should I use? I am pretty sure the popular vote is going to be tequila, but if you put aside AUTHENTICITY CRED! and tradition is it the best pairing for jamaica?
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:02 PM on December 4, 2009

I found several hibiscus cocktail recipes: Vodka, Vodka/champagne, Mojito, Rum/vermouth. If you create a better recipe, please share it because all of these sound delicious.

Also, I'll insist on the tamarindo margarita. They are delicious, specially if you rim the glass with chile piquín instead of salt.
posted by clearlydemon at 2:21 PM on December 4, 2009

My favorite drink with mexican food is a jalapeno margarita. They serve an awesome one at Loteria Grill in Hollywood. I can't find their specific recipe, but the ingredients they use are listed here and a discussion of proportions in margaritas and some suggested modifications are here.

I'd use the good tequila for this one. Have fun!
posted by Space Kitty at 9:34 PM on December 4, 2009

Mexican hot chocolate with rum? Probably no good as a drink with the food, but might be a nice starter drink if it's freezing outside. The chili, cinnamon, and chocolate go well with a medium-light rum with some caramel flavor.

As others have mentioned, tequila + grapefruit soda is pretty good. If you want to class it up, use grapefruit juice and champagne as diluent instead.

Mmmm, this post got me hungry. Time to grab a torta.
posted by benzenedream at 10:42 PM on December 5, 2009

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