Celebrating Cinco de Mayo: with Tim

What are you doing this weekend? If you are anything like me, you might be celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Contrary to what many people think, this is not Mexican Independence Day, but is a day commemorating the victory of the Mexican Army over the French Army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Mexico had built up a huge debt to France, so Napoleon III sent troops to overtake Mexico City with hopes of establishing an empire there. An outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexican Army fought off the French causing almost 500 French casualties while losing under 100 Mexican soldiers. The victory was short-lived, and, within a year, the French defeated the Mexican Army and captured Mexico City. Emperor Maximilian I became the ruler of Mexico.


The Battle of Puebla is celebrated mainly in the city of Puebla as a symbol of national pride, unity and patriotism. It was like the victory of David over Goliath. Cinco de Mayo celebrations are actually more popular in the United States and celebrates the Mexican-American culture. The celebration grew enormously in the 1980’s as several breweries and distilleries began to market and promote Cinco de Mayo.


I know what you’re thinking, “That’s great, Tim, but what are you going to eat and drink?” Great question, I’m glad you asked. Well, for starters, my wife, Kim, and I will be meeting friends at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Sucasa in Menomonee Falls. Perhaps not totally authentic Mexican cuisine, but I love their shredded beef enchiladas with green chili sauce. (No beans, extra rice) An ice cold Negra Modelo or two is a great compliment to the spicey sauce. My friend, Jeff, might toss back a Don Julio Reposado, so I might feel obligated to join him.


Saturday I will be making my world famous chicken fajitas. I’m not secretive about my recipe, I have found McCormick’s Fajita Mix to be my favorite. While the instructions on the packet say to add oil and water, I choose to be a little more creative. Instead of water, I substitute apple cider vinegar, lime juice and tequila. Then I marinade the sliced chicken breast for at least ½ hour. The longer you marinade, the more flavorful the chicken will be. The meat can then be cooked in a large skillet. Add onions and red, green and orange peppers and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Serve on soft tortilla shells topped with shredded cheese and a side of sour cream. Now that’s delicioso! Oops, is that Italian or Spanish? To complement this dish, there’s nothing better than a Margarita, Cerveza or Paloma. The Paloma is my personal favorite. I was introduced to this tasty drink on my last trip to Mexico. It’s a wonderful blend of freshly squeezed lemon, lime and orange juices, reposado tequila and topped off with Squirt. I haven’t mastered the cocktail to make it taste as good as it did South of the border, but even the concoction I make is delicious and sneakily strong. There’s a reason I drink these at home.


Whatever your plans are for this weekend, I hope you get a chance to celebrate cinco de Mayo with friends, enjoying some great food and beverages, like I will be. Otto’s Wine and Spirits has a great selection of Cervezas, tequilas and premixed margaritas for you to enjoy. Stop in and see us. And yes, we have Squirt. Adios Amigos!



By the way, I make some killer guacamole, too!