Cinco de Mayo, or Fifth of May, is one of those peculiar celebrations that are honoured more outside their homelands than within.
The day commemorates the victory of the Mexican army over invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla on this day in 1862. In that same year, Mexican-Americans fighting in the US Civil War took on the battle of Puebla and its date as a symbol of pride.
Some regions of Mexico will be celebrating today, but, as with Saint Patrick's Day for Irish Americans, this is an even bigger event in the US. Mexican-American communities will be partying hard, while folk as far away as Malta will be marking the occasion. What better way to celebrate than with a Mexican 55, an adaptation of the classic French 75 created in 1988 at La Perla, Paris, France. The name comes from Fidel Castro's statement that bullets, like wine, came in vintages and Mexican 55 was a good year [for bullets]. Or, perhaps try a Rosa Picante Margarita.
We do like an excuse to party but while celebrating perhaps reflect the genius of marketing. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration that was almost entirely invented by drinks marketers, spearheaded by Corona. The good folks at Corona realised that the Spanish for 16 September (dieciséis de Septiembre) was difficult for English speakers to pronounce and went in search of an easier Mexican holiday than Independence Day. Salud!
Prior to starting celebrations proper perhaps ponder over the wonder of the agave plant by reading the following with a suitable glass of something in hand: