Porthole‘s Five Faves
Every day is Cinco de Mayo!
When in Mexico, you can drink as the locals drink all year long.
Today is Cinco de Mayo! Before we start mashing fresh a.m. avocados and salting morning-margarita rims though, let’s unpack a little fact and ficción.
FACT: Cinco de Mayo is translated as May 5
That’s today! Let’s fiesta!
FICCIÓN: Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day
Today is not Mexico’s equivalent to the 4th of July; their Independence Day isn’t until mid-September. May 5th is the anniversary of when the underdog Mexican army defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
FACT: Cinco de Mayo is a day for drinking.
That’s today! Let’s fiesta!
FICCIÓN: Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s national drinking day.
Hard to believe, but it’s not. In fact, outside of the city of Puebla itself, Cinco de Mayo is more of a north-of-the-border phenomenon. It’s believed that the 1940s Chicano movement helped 5/5 gain traction in the southwestern United States, with the rest of the nation coming to embrace Cinco de Mayo thanks to the opportunistic marketing foresight of beer companies in the 1980s.
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So when you think about it, the truest way for gringos to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is with utmost respect of Mexican’s rich culture … and alcohol! Keeping both of those components in mind, here are Porthole’s five favorite ways for cruisers to take in the Cinco de Mayo spirit(s) year-round:
Just as California’s Napa Valley combines scenery and wine just up the road, a number of Ensenada tours showcase the gorgeous Pacific coastline and complement it with some of Mexico’s finest craft beer breweries. (This region is also home to Mexico’s wine country.) While here, be sure to pay tribute to Hussong’s Cantina, Baja’s oldest bar as well as what many believe is the birthplace of the margarita drink. Legend has it that in 1941, bartender Don Carlos Orozco gave his latest cocktail experimentation to Margarita Henkel, the daughter of a German ambassador, then christened that cocktail with its iconic name after its first taste-tester.
Mazatlan is home to the 100-plus-year-old Pacifico pilsner beer, beloved on both sides of the border. At its brewery, you can witness the entire brewing process and sample the goods.
Puerto Vallarta is the main cruise port in the state of Jalisco, the only region from which the blue agave plant grows. So of course, tequila takes center-stage on a number of Puerto Vallarta tours, but look no further than the Viva Tequila trolley to present all that is iconic about modern and contemporary Mexico. The Viva Tequila Museum offers professional tastings and even has live shows that use dance to tell the story of tequila’s origins.
To find a worm in Mexico, many search the bottom of a tequila bottle. However, the place to find this insect larva is in mezcal, a similar distilled beverage made mostly from agave in Huatulco’s state of Oaxaca. As to why the worm is added, some say it demonstrates the mezcal’s purity. Others say it’s an aphrodisiac or that it produces a hallucinogenic effect. Whatever the reason, it definitely makes drinking-on-vacation stories more interesting.
What better way to discover Mexico than at an interactive park devoted to all of Mexico’s wonders called, appropriately, Discover Mexico. Among the hands-on experiences are the make-it-yourself chocolate course and the professional tequila tastings that will either transform you into an expert connoisseur or make you forget everything you ever knew. One or the other. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
— Rico Bronte