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Latino Cocktails To Kick Off Your Spring

Spring has sprung…at least officially. Where I am in New York there was a blizzard two days ago. But still, the weather will get warmer soon and then our thoughts turn to drinking copious amounts of alcohol. We Latinos are a diverse bunch. Our different countries have unique customs, aesthetics, and cultural influences. One thing that unites us all is our love of getting drunk. Let’s face it, the history of Latin America is pretty bleak. If you had been conquered by Hernan Cortez, kidnapped from Africa to cut sugar cane, or lived under a military/communist/fascist dictatorship, you’d think it was Miller time too. Luckily, we Latinos have come up with some pretty awesome cocktails. A lot of men think cocktails are for girls, but the ones on this list can be enjoyed without fear of emasculation.


No one knows who invented the margarita. Its origins are as mysterious as the pyramids, but with more hangovers. What we do know is that there is nothing better with a plate of enchiladas. Margaritas are pretty ubiquitous, and you can get them from some horrible frozen margarita machine at pretty much any suburban JP Mcfunsters or whatever. But the real deal is so much better. Stop buying that horrible day-glo green mix and go back to the basics: Squeeze two limes, a half a shot of triple-sec, a shot of tequila in a glass and add ice. Salt optional. Don’t reinvent the wheel people.


A few years ago, white folk in America discovered the mojito. “Have you ever tried this thing called a mojito?”, my white friends would ask me. I’m Cuban-American, of course I’ve tried a mojito! It’s our national friggin’ drink! Invented long ago in Havana’s Bodeguita Del Medio, this drink has been enjoyed by Cubans for generations. You take a couple of sprigs of yerba buena (or any kind of mint) and muddle it at the bottom of a glass with the juice of one lime and a teaspoon of sugar. Then you add two shots of rum and fill the rest with seltzer. A drink for sissies? Would you call Ernest Hemingway a sissy? He loved them. His ghost will come and kick your butt.

Pisco Sour

Peru and Chile both claim that the pisco sour is their invention. Like most cocktails on this list, no one knows the truth of the drink’s origins. What is know, is that it is delicious and will get you nice and crunk. Pisco is a grape brandy native to the Andes, which is awesome by itself, but awesomer (is that a word?), in a pisco sour. To make a pitcher, take 2 fl. oz of Pisco, 1 fl. oz lime juice, 3/4 fl. oz simple syrup, 1 egg white, and a dash of bitters. We know that the thought of drinking an egg white might turn some of you off. Think about how Rocky Balboa drank eggs while training. Don’t you want to be tough like Rocky?


The caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil. Its main ingredient is cachaça, which is a wonderfully sweet sugar cane rum. You add a couple of teapoons of sugar, to two shots of cachaça, and squeeze a couple of small limes into it. There are several mutant varieties of the caipirinha, in which vodka, Campari, sake, or tequila are used instead of cachaça. They even have a version served on ice with condensed milk. Those wacky Brazilians!


Sangria comes from Spain, and was brought over to the Americas by the conquistadors along with rape and Catholicism. It is essentially a wine punch made with red wine, sugar, brandy, and fruit juice. Usually you add pieces of fruit to the mix and let it soak overnight. But as we wrote in a previous article, it works best if you add the fruit at the end so it retains most of the fruit’s flavor and color.

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