Great Drink Recipes For Dia de los Muertos or “Day of the Dead”

November 2nd marks Dia de los Muertos or “Day of the Dead,” an annual ritual of the Mexican community which celebrates human existence as death, and is considered the passage to a new life. Day of the Dead celebrations include lively music, decadent imagery and colorful costumes where revelers take to the streets, crowd into bars and host cemetery gatherings in honor of those who have gone before. Merrymakers honor the dead and celebrate the joy of living with traditional food and the country’s national drink – tequila.

Espolón Tequila has teamed up with bartenders across the country to create Dia de los Muertos inspired-cocktails aptly named to celebrate this holiday with true spirit.

Espolón Tequila itself honors the Day of the Dead. Inspired by 19th Century Dia de los Muertos-style imagery, the Espolón labels illustrate the fictitious journeys of characters Guadalupe and Rosarita, with their inspirational companion, Ramón the Rooster, capturing significant moments in the lives of the people of Mexico. The storied history depicted on the outside of the bottle is enhanced by the award-winning tequila within. The 100% pure Blue Agave tequila from the Los Altos (Highlands) region of Jalisco, Mexico is available in Blanco and Reposado.

Include Espolón Tequila in your Day of the Dead celebration with these spirited drink recipes:

Ashes to Ashes
Created by H. Joseph Ehrmann
Elixir, San Francisco
1.5 oz. Espolón Tequila Reposado
.5 oz. Pedro Ximenez Sherry
1 oz. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Sweetened Cocoa Mix
.25 oz. Agave Nectar
1 pinch Ground Cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a mixing glass, fill with ice, cover and shake well for 10 seconds. Strain up into a cocktail glass. Garnish with cinnamon dust.

According to Ehrmann, this cocktail honors the multicultural melding of Aztec and Spanish traditions from which Dia de los Muertos was born. Traditional Mexican ingredients such as agave are paired with Spanish ingredients such as Pedro Ximenez Sherry, and finished by sprinkled cinnamon–metaphorical ashes, if you will.

Fresa Catrina
Created by Thomas Waugh
Death & Company, New York
2 oz. Espolón Tequila Blanco
.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
.75 oz. Simple Syrup
1 small strawberry
10 whole black peppercorns
Splash of Absinthe

Muddle strawberry with black peppercorns. Rinse a cocktail glass with absinthe. Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker and fine strain into the rinsed cocktail glass.

Who better to create this Dia de los Muertos cocktail than the talented Waugh at New York’s famed Death & Company? The cocktail is named for Catrina, a skeletal figure who has become closely associated with Day of the Dead. In this recipe, the light and fruity taste of strawberry combined with the dark pop of anise and black pepper pays tribute to both the elegance of the Catrina and the darkness of death.

Marigold Ofrenda
Created by Christopher Bostick
The Varnish Bar, Los Angeles
2 oz. Espolón Tequila Reposado
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.75 oz. Orange Curaçao or Triple Sec
.5 oz. Light Agave Nectar
.5 cup peeled and chopped cantaloupe
1/8 teaspoon Chile de Arbol powder
1 small edible marigold for garnish

Muddle cantaloupe, Agave Nectar, and Orange Curaçao in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients, excluding garnish. Add ice and shake very well for at least 10 seconds. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with edible marigold.

Bostick is especially drawn to the imagery of Dia de los Muertos. In Day of the Dead celebrations, the marigold is known as the “flower of the dead,”
which helped to inspire this drink. Its fragrance is believed to attract spirits and guide them to their ofrendas (offerings). This cocktail’s light citrus flavor combined with the kick of Chile de Arbol is spirited enough to guide any soul home.