Tequila gold with sangrita chaser shots with lime slice with guacamole over old black metal surface, top view

Did you know tequila pairs well with other garnishes besides lime and salt—and in configurations other than shot glasses? While margaritas are a must for every Cinco de Mayo party, the dinner and dessert menu can include pops of tequila, too.

Tequila: A Cooking Alcohol?

Cooking with tequila is totally possible, much to the surprise of many home cooks. This alcohol is distilled from the blue agave plant and is native to the Jalisco region of Mexico. It typically has a distinct smokiness that can add sophistication to your meals.

In cooking, tequila binds food compounds and evaporates rapidly. This wafts those compounds into your nose and makes the food smell even better. Since cooking and eating are about using your senses, the increase in aroma elevates the flavor of the dish.

Use More Tequila This Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is coming up, so I recommend cooking with tequila in honor of the holiday! Since it’s pretty diverse, you can try it in salad dressings, marinades, sauces or desserts. Add it to a citrus-based vinaigrette, or use it to enhance the acidity in tomatoes. Tequila complements rich chocolate and helps transfer flavor compounds from marinades into meat bound for the grill.

Think: Tequila-Marinated Grilled Chicken, Mahi Mahi Tacos with Tequila-Lime Crema and Vanilla Ice Cream with Tequila-Spiked Hot Fudge.

Our Favorite Pairings

Here are a few of tequila’s flavor affinities from Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg’s The Flavor Bible. Mix and match items from the list below to create your own tequila-inspired dishes. Or, use these ingredients to prepare the perfect margarita!

• Chile peppers
• Cilantro
• Cointreau
• Ginger
• Grenadine
• Lemon, lime or orange juice
• Pomegranate juice
• Sage
• Vermouth

We particularly like the combination of tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and sage. Experiment and see what combinations unfold for you.

One Tequila, Two Tequila…Wait, I’m Lost

Want to do more cooking with tequila, but not sure how to incorporate it into your menu? Let us help! Our catering services can make tequila the centerpiece of your Cinco de Mayo celebration—or any occasion, for that matter. Contact us to discuss your menu.

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