Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Cinco feliz de Mayo

Written by Patti on May 5th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

It’s Cinco de Mayo! Hooray! It’s that fabulous holiday where we celebrate Mexican Independence Day! Time to grind the masa for tamales and make some luscious tequila beverages.

Setting the table with a gorgeous pinata centerpiece would really set the mood. Don’t worry about filling it, this one is just for show. Cover the table with your brightest yellow cloth and place napkins of red and blue out for your guests. That should make everyone feel festive.

I like this guy!

And how about those drinks? Lets see what we can whip up, shall we?

My friend Kylie in California, sent me a swell bottle of Familia Camarena Tequila. Made from 100% blue agave, it is one fine tequila. So why not grab a bottle off the shelf (pay for it first!) and lets make some drinks all your friends will enjoy.

The first key to quality tequila cocktails is mixing with a quality tequila. To determine the quality level of tequilas that fit your budget, use the label as your guide map.

The most important quality cue to look for when purchasing tequila is to make sure “100% agave tequila” is on the label, your guarantee that the tequila you are drinking is made from 100% pure agave with no additives, flavoring or coloring added. Tequila labeled “Oro,” “Joven” or “Gold,” by comparison, indicates designation as a mixto, a lesser-quality tequila made with equal parts agave and cane sugar distillates that can often-times lead to hangovers.

There are a handful of great, affordable 100% agave tequilas on the market today that sell for $20 or less. Familia Camarena Tequila is a widely available, popular-priced 100% agave tequila produced by the respected Camarena family of Mexico. With tequila industry experience spanning six generations. Familia Camarena makes a 100 percent agave silver tequila (unaged) and reposado tequila (slightly aged), both great in classic cocktails like the margarita.

Another money-saving tip that also adds a touch of sophistication to your cocktail menu is to use fresh ingredients, as opposed to store-bought mixers. Buying a five-pound bag of limes, for example, not only costs less, but will yield more drinks than a one-liter bottle of pre-made margarita mix.

Skip out on expensive liqueurs to add sweetness to your margarita and instead use a tablespoon of maple syrup from the kitchen cabinet or a tablespoon of agave nectar (natural syrup from agave plants that make tequila), widely available and cheaper than your average orange liqueur.

For an upscale, fresh and inexpensive margarita, impress guests this Cinco de Mayo with the Camarena Margarita:

Camarena Margarita
1 oz Familia Camarena Reposado Tequila
2 oz fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar
In a cocktail shaker combine all of the ingredients and add ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.


For cocktail inspiration beyond the margarita, try these refreshing Camarena Tequila cocktails, including Camarena’s award-winning Camarena Santa Maria. For more Cinco de Mayo tequila cocktail inspiration and recipes, visit

Silver Paloma
2 oz Familia Camarena Silver Tequila
3 oz fresh grapefruit juice
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar
Splash of soda water
In a cocktail shaker combine all of the ingredients, except for the soda water, and add ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a high ball glass over ice. Top with soda water and garnish with a lime wheel.

Corazón de Camarena
2 oz Familia Camarena Reposado Tequila
½ cup strawberry simple syrup (*see recipe below)
2 oz fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped roughly
Sliced strawberries

Place the basil in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, pour in the tequila. Use the back of a spoon (or muddler) to mash the basil leaves into the tequila. Fill the shaker with ice and add strawberry simple syrup, lime juice and agave nectar. Fill with ice, shake and strain into a high ball glass over ice. Garnish with sliced strawberries on the rim and ribbons of basil mixed in the drink.

*Strawberry Simple Syrup Recipe: Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 5 sliced strawberries in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Cool the syrup, then strain the liquid through a sieve, pressing the strawberries to extract all liquid.

Camarena Santa Maria
1 ½ oz Familia Camarena Reposado Tequila
1 oz white Port
½ oz Velvet Falernum
½ oz simple syrup
1 oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz ginger beer
In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients except ginger beer. Fill with ice, shake and strain into a high ball glass over ice, adding ginger beer as you pour. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

There you go, Darlings! Get to mixing. And as always, I adore hearing your comments, so let me know how you celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

On a personal note, a very happy birthday to my dear friend Johnny P. Last night’s dinner was a blast!!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to The Jacksons singing Happy Birthday in Spanish (to cover all the bases!)


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Kathy says:

    Great info! Thanks for the edumacation in tequila! :o)

  2. Rosalynn says:

    Making mine now!