Cue the music and set out the chips and salsa for America’s biggest celebration of Mexican culture.
Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth day of May, isn’t Mexican Independence Day; rather, it honors the Mexican army’s surprising defeat of French military forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
Toast the soldiers’ bravery in a healthy way: with a round of alcohol- and guilt-free “mocktails.” Made with many of the same ingredients you’ll find in a great craft cocktail—bright citrus juices, fresh herbs and perhaps a little fizz—mocktails are lower in calories and pair well with food, making them a great option for designated drivers, anyone who doesn’t drink alcohol, and even kids.
Cinco de Mayo is the perfect time to celebrate this growing beverage trend, so we asked some top bloggers to share their favorite festive mocktail recipes. Cheers!
Virgin Frozen Margaritas
Spicy Mexican food pairs perfectly with a drink like this virgin frozen margarita; plus, it “comes together in just minutes,” says Deborah Harroun, with the blog Taste and Tell. Made with lime and grapefruit juice, it’s “a bit tart from the lime and a bit bitter from the grapefruit juice,” she says, but it all comes together when served in a sugar-rimmed glass.
Rose Grapefruit Mocktail
Slightly exotic thanks to its rose water and ginger, this rose grapefruit mocktail comes from Caitlin and Manda McGrath, founders of the blog the Merrythought. It’s nice and tart, super refreshing, and topped with fresh flowers. Make this bloomin’ success look retro by serving it in an old-fashioned coupe glass.
Sweet Mexican Horchata
If you’ve ever made almond milk, then you’re not far from making this sweet horchata, a classic Mexican drink that’s refreshing when the weather’s warm. The ingredients are simply rice, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon; you just need to set aside some soaking time for the rice. “It’s simple to make and has become a family favorite,” says Amber Corkin of the DIY Lighthouse, who developed the recipe with her husband. Serve it to kids in small mason jars and to grown-ups in martini glasses.
Sweet and Tart Blackberry Lemonade
It’s not the same old lemonade you grew up with. This blackberry lemonade, by Keith Lampkin and Jackie Hughes of Superman Cooks, uses fresh-squeezed lemons, agave juice instead of sugar, and muddled fresh blackberries to create a new take on the old standby—a perfect mocktail for everyone, no matter their age. “We shared a pitcher of this with the kids, and everyone was happy,” says Hughes. “The blackberries added a beautiful, bright pink hue, and the drink tasted just as yummy as it looked.”
Sparkling Cherry Lemon-Limeade Fizz
Lampkin and Hughes of Superman Cooks were inspired by a trip to the farmers’ market when they created this refreshing mocktail. Slices of lemon and lime float with Rainer cherries in a fizzy seltzer to make a colorful and slightly sweet drink.
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Read More: Complete your Cinco de Mayo feast with an easy Chipotle Guacamole recipe.
By Ellise Pierce