Over 3,000 years ago, the November 2nd Day of the Dead celebrations began in Mexico to celebrate the departed souls return to earth. A huge part of the celebrations are the “ofrendas” that are created for the deceased souls. Ofrendas are decorated areas that are constructed in homes and cemeteries across the world that display offerings to departed loved ones. And one of the most popular ofrendas is tequila. (Those departed souls know how to party.)
Should you decide you’d like a bunch of disembodied spirits hanging around your house getting sheet-faced (Sheets. Ghosts. Nevermind), there are some perfect tequila cocktail recipes from Espolón Tequila after the jump.
For a full-blown ghost fiesta, Dobel Tequila recommends you decorate your pad with these other traditional ofrendas:
Sangrita: A traditional holiday drink made with lime and pomegranate juices, Seville orange, and chile powder/hot sauce added for spiciness.
Flowers: Marigolds called “cempasuchit” are best known in Mexico as the Flower of the Dead and are commonly used in celebrating the holiday.
Food: Mexicans place fruits, tamales, mole, Sugar skulls and traditional bread known as “pan de muertos” on the altar, as well as other foods the person enjoyed during life.
Votive Candles: Candles are lit to guide dead family members and are placed on the top level of alters.
Incense: As a custom, burning copal incense clears the room of all negative energy including bad spirits, and helps the deceased find their way to the altar.
Photos and Statues: Photos of the beloved family member sit atop the alter along with statues of the Virgin of Guadalupe and patron saints.
Ashes to Ashes
Created by H. Joseph Ehrmann, Elixir, San Francisco
1 1/2 oz. Espolón Tequila Reposado
1/2 oz. Pedro Ximenez Sherry
1 oz. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Sweetened Cocoa Mix
1/4 oz. Agave Nectar
1 pinch Ground Cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a mixing glass, fill with ice, cover and shake well for 10 seconds. Strain up into a cocktail glass. Garnish with cinnamon dust.
According to Ehrmann, this cocktail honors the multicultural melding of Aztec and Spanish traditions from which Dia de los Muertos was born. Traditional Mexican ingredients such as agave are paired with Spanish ingredients such as Pedro Ximenez Sherry, and finished by sprinkled cinnamon–metaphorical ashes, if you will.
Created by Thomas Waugh, Death & Company, New York
2 oz. Espolón Tequila Blanco
1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
3/4 oz. Simple Syrup
1 small strawberry
10 whole black peppercorns
Splash of Absinthe
Muddle strawberry with black peppercorns. Rinse a cocktail glass with absinthe. Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker and fine strain into the rinsed cocktail glass.
The cocktail is named for Catrina, a skeletal figure who has become closely associated with Day of theDead. In this recipe, the light and fruity taste of strawberry combined with the dark pop of anise and black pepper pays tribute to both the elegance of the Catrina and the darkness of death.
Created by Christopher Bostick, The Varnish Bar, Los Angeles
2 oz. Espolón Tequila Reposado
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz. Orange Curaçao or Triple Sec
1/2 oz. Light Agave Nectar
1/2 cup peeled and chopped cantaloupe
1/8 teaspoon Chile de Arbol powder
1 small edible marigold for garnish
Muddle cantaloupe, Agave Nectar, and Orange Curaçao in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients, excluding garnish. Add ice and shake very well for at least 10 seconds. Double strain into chilled cocktail
glass. Garnish with edible marigold.
In Day of the Dead celebrations, the marigold is known as the “flower of the dead,” which helped to inspire this drink. Its fragrance is believed to attract spirits and guide them to their ofrendas (offerings). This cocktail’s light citrus flavor combined with the kick of Chile de Arbol is spirited enough to guide any soul home.