The 5th of May is rapidly approaching, and it’s time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! 

If you’re looking for delicious recipes with a touch of history to celebrate the day, then look no further. We put together a tasty menu for you to whip up in no time and a playlist to put you in a festive mood. 

Cinco de Mayo History 

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo celebrates the first battle of Puebla and is relatively low-key.  Here in the U.S., it has become a time to enjoy Mexican culture with tequila, guacamole, and tortillas. 

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, a popular misconception. Instead, it commemorates a single battle: The Battle of Puebla.  

Background 

In 1861, Benito Juárez was elected president of Mexico.  However, he was now the president of a country experiencing significant financial collapse due to years of internal conflict. Therefore, Juarez was forced to default on debt payments to European governments.  

France, Britain and Spain reacted by sending naval forces to Veracruz, Mexico demanding repayment. Mexico was able to negotiate peacefully with Britain and Spain resulting in the withdrawal of their forces.  However, France would not leave so quietly.  At the time, France was ruled by Napoleon III who saw an opportunity to expand his empire into Mexican territory. In 1861, he ordered a fleet to attack Veracruz which sent the president and his government into hiding. 

Battle of Puebla 

Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza led the Battle of Puebla. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening as a small force made of 2,000 men battled the 6,000-strong French troops. By the end of the day, the vastly outnumbered men had won. The French had lost nearly 500 soldiers while the Mexican troops lost fewer than 100 men in the fight. 

Cinco de Mayo Playlist 

Now it’s time for the party!  The right music can make all the difference. This music will set the tone and create an authentic Mexican vibe to get everyone on their feet dancing. 

Check out this Cinco de Mayo Spotify playlist that will elevate your party to the next level: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2lLZ4iRnM5KnZhQNpnJkWB 

Cinco de Mayo Menu 

A Cinco de Mayo celebration would not be complete without a menu filled with delicious favorites. We rounded up our favorite recipes which include a spin on the traditional margarita and a tart, yet sweet, sopapilla cheesecake recipe. 

Spicy Queso Dip

Prep Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: queso
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small Onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Jalapeno, minced
  • 12 oz American Cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz Pepperjack Cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Milk
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 medium Tomato, diced
  • 1 4-oz Can Green Chilis
  • 1/4 cup Freshly Chopped Cilantro
  • Tortilla Chips, for serving

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeño and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add cheeses and milk and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes, green chilis, and cilantro. 
  • Serve immediately with chips. 

Vitzellen Margarita

Course: Drinks
Keyword: vodka cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz Vitzellen Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Orange Liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice.
  • Shake and strain into martini glass.
  • Garnish with a lime slice.
  • Enjoy!

Flank Steak Tacos

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Flank Steak
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Orange Juice
  • 2 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1/2 tbsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • Canola Oil, to coat grill

Instructions

  • Place the flank steak in a shallow baking dish. In a mixing bowl, stir together the olive oil, garlic, orange juice, lime juice, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour over the steak. Cover tightly with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours (do not marinate for more than 8 hours or the steak will break down and soften too much).  
  • Once the meat is ready, pre-heat the grill to a medium-high heat. Coat the grill with canola oil. While the grill pre-heats, let the steak stand at room temperature. Remove the steak from the marinade making sure to shake off excess marinade. Cook until medium rare. Remove steak and cover with foil allowing the meat to rest for 5 minutes. Then, cut steak into thin slices. Make sure you slice across the grain.
  • Assemble tacos in corn tortillas. Top with desired toppings.
  • Enjoy!

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 2 8-oz Packages of Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup White Sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp Mexican Vanilla Extract
  • 2 8-oz Cans of Refrigerated Crescent Rolls
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Honey

Instructions

  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Beat the cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth.
  • Unroll the cans of crescent roll dough and use a rolling pin to shape each one into 9×13 inch rectangles. Press one piece into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish, then cover with the remaining piece of crescent dough. Stir together 3/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Dot the mixture over the top of the cheesecake. 
  • Bake in the preheated oven until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 squares. 

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year with a flavorful menu for your family and Vitzellen Margaritas for the adults.  Enjoy responsibly, even at home.