Where to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo 2018 In Houston
On May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army defeated French forces at The Battle Of Puebla. Decades later, the victory is still celebrated in the state of Puebla and in regions far removed from the conflict. In modern times Cinco de Mayo still represents perseverance and—perhaps more accurately these days—a good excuse to party. With the holiday falling on a Saturday this year, restaurants all around Houston are gearing up for crowds with plenty of special events.
The Cottonmouth Club, 108 South Main: Owner Mike Raymond (also of Reserve 101) brings a unique spin on cocktails to his latest concept. For May 5, expect $6 specialty drinks, including the Maybe Memphis, Maybe Mexico Spicy Paloma, a mix of Puebla Viejo Tequila, fresh lime, grapefruit soda, hot peppers and a pinch of salt.
Cuchara, 214 Fairview: True to its spunky and authentic form, this Montrose locale is presenting a one-of-a-kind Cinco de Mayo experience. For $20, guests can watch lucha libre performances from male and female luchadors in addition to “micro wrestlers” MicroMan and Kemonito from Mexico City. The ticket price excludes food and beverage but there will be specials on both throughout the day. Purchase tickets in person at Cuchara or call (713) 942-0000.
Hugo’s, 1600 Westheimer: Day-long specials begin with a Street Foods of Mexico brunch buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and includes interactive cooking demonstrations. Tickets are $28 for adults and $12 for children and can be purchased by calling (713) 524-7744. Happy hour, which is from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m., features specials on cocktails prepared using small-batch Suerte Tequila. A tequila-paired tasting menu is also available alongside the regular dinner menu from 3 to 11 p.m. with live music from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Xochi, 1777 Walker and Caracol, 2200 Post Oak: Traditional brunch runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at both locations with additional food and drink specials throughout the day. Caracol is serving Mexican-style boiled crawfish with spiced chipotle butter, street corn, and crispy potatoes with rajas and salsa de ajo for $25. The cost includes two pounds of crawfish and sides. Multiple drink specials start at 2:30 p.m. and full details are available online. Xochi is featuring assorted tequila, wine and Mexican spirits specials, including an El Tesoro Tequila pairing menu at dinner. Full details are available online. Both locations will also host live music, including mariachis.
Molina’s Cantina, multiple locations: House margaritas are $6 all day and the new cocktail, La Luna Azul (“blue moon”) is $7 (normally $9) with live music from 6 to 10 p.m. The latter drink, named in honor of the recent blue moon, is a refreshing combination of organic Dulce Vida tequila, blue curaçao, agave nectar and a splash of soda.
The Pastry War, 310 Main: Celebrate all week every week with daily happy hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m. when all tequilas and mezcals are 50-percent off with complimentary agua frescas and games of pool. Owner Bobby Heugel calls the house margarita the “best he’s ever had” and we also recommend El Tornillo (“The Screw”), the house bourbon smash named after a famous luchador move.
The Raven Tower, 310 North: All month in May, select margaritas are $9 and discounted to $6 on May 5. The select ‘ritas include the cucumber-basil LBC Margarita, watermelon-forward Sandia Margarita, the hibiscus and orange Jamaican Flower and the Big Tower Rita (house margarita served in a pint glass). Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the Honeysuckle Margarita comprised of reposado tequila, Martine (honeysuckle liqueur), lime and sugar. Raven Tower is just down the street from White Oak Music Hall, which makes it an ideal stop before or after the Echosmith concert on Cinco de Mayo. La Macro food truck will serve tacos, tortas and more on the patio.
Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen, multiple locations: Puebla is credited as being the birthplace of mole, and local enchilada queen Sylvia Casares is serving special ‘Cinco de Mayo’ grilled chicken mole enchiladas all day. House margaritas will be discounted to $6.50 and “skinny” margaritas will be $10.
Tango & Malbec, 2800 Sage: The Argentinean steakhouse changes things up a bit with the Malberita, an appeal to wine and cocktail lovers, by adding Trivento Malbec to a margarita. The Malbec’s black currant and plum notes blend with lime and tequila for a true twist on tradition. Normally $12, the Malberita will be discounted to a mere $5 on Cinco de Mayo.
Tito’s Cantina, 25250 Northwest Freeway: Pack your sombrero and venture to Cypress for a big boozy bash. Drink specials will include $2 draft beer, $2 cans from 903 Brewers in Sherman, Texas, $3 sangria, $3 small margaritas and $5 large margaritas. Those unfamiliar with North Texas 903 Brewers might recognize The Land of Milk and Honey stout, brewed with fresh local honey, but May 5 is the perfect time to try the Cerveza Por Favor Mexican lager. Tito’s margaritas are not standard house margaritas, either. The elderflower margarita is made with Patron Reposado and is rimmed with black lava salt. The salt, which has been blended with activated charcoal for color and detoxifying effects, adds an earthy note to the margarita.
Enjoy plenty of margaritas (and tacos!) this Cinco de Mayo, but be sure to do so responsibly. Should you or someone you know overindulge, take caution and don’t drive. Transportation services like The Wave, Uber and cabs exist for moments like these, so please take advantage and get home safe.
Josh Armendariz is Houston Food Finder’s lead freelance beer and cocktail writer. He can often be found on a stool at your favorite bar, sipping a hoppy craft beer and talking about the Astros with anyone who’ll lend an ear. Follow him on Instagram at @drinkwithjosh.