By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Do you realize what tomorrow is? It is not only Cinco de Mayo but also, wait for it, Taco Tuesday! Wha?!? Seriously, people, Cinco de Mayo and Taco Tuesday have intersected on the same day; there must be some crazy universal alignment or something. Actually, I checked into that; nope, just regular star and planet alignment, no retrograde or comets or meteor storm. Turns out, this just happens sometimes.
Anyway, it’s epic, friends, epic. Time to interrupt this quarantine pandemic pandemonium for something that is very much needed. Fun with a capital F-U-N!!
Every holiday has a history. And, perhaps other than St. Patrick’s Day, there is no other holiday with more confusion around it than Cinco de Mayo. So, let’s clear up the misconceptions so we know what we are celebrating. Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day; that, in fact, is on September 16. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the unlikely victory of the Mexican army over Napoleon III at the Battle of Puebla that happened on May 5, 1862. The first Cinco de Mayo celebration happened in 1863 in Southern California in support of Mexico against French rule. This means, friends, that Cinco de Mayo is in fact an American holiday, not a Mexican holiday. Starting in the 1930s, Cinco de Mayo evolved into an opportunity to celebrate Mexican identity, promote ethnic consciousness, and build community solidarity. And, well, now, it’s mainly an excuse to enjoy Mexican food and margaritas. Hence, the amazing overlap of Cinco de Mayo and Taco Tuesday!
Now that you are prepared for the History of Random Holidays category should you ever find yourself on Jeopardy, bring on the F-U-N!
The first ingredient in our Epic Cinco de Mayo Taco Tuesday Extravaganza is blending the perfect margarita. Cue Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” on your Echo Dot, pull out your blender and cocktail shaker (yes, both. You need to do some serious scientific testing coming up), and start the dissection into the Anatomy of the Perfect Margarita!
The 3 ingredient foundation
Margarita recipes are plentiful. And, the opinions and preferences are as wide ranging as the recipes. Regardless, there are 3 ingredients that make up the foundation of the Perfect Margarita - tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Everything else is just frills!
Let’s be real; the quality of your margarita starts with the quality of your tequila. (And, the quality of your hangover may also start here. Just keeping it real!) Don’t settle, friends, on this epic holiday; go for at least a mid-priced, 100% blue agave tequila (look for the words “100% puro de agave” on the label). Blanco is the most common but you may also use reposado or anejo, especially if you prefer a smoother and mellower flavor.
Sweeten it up
Orange liqueur is the traditional second piece of the Perfect Margarita foundation. Triple Sec is the most common selection but you can also use Grand Marnier or Cointreau, depending on preference.
Sour is the Power
The third ingredient in the foundation is lime juice. And, for the Perfect Margarita, there is no substitute that comes close to freshly squeezed limes. Yes, this is more work; however, it will definitely be worth it. If this is more than you can handle, be particular on the mix that you select. I'll be honest; I've never taken the time to do fresh lime. But, hey, my schedule freed up for this Tuesday!
Shaken and on the rocks? Or, blended? Ahh...the final decision for the end product! This is 100% personal preference and won’t inherently affect the flavor.
Jazz it up
Here’s where you can let your creativity flow. Leave your Perfect Margarita as is or doctor it up. You can explore other fruits or vegetables to alter the flavor like strawberry, raspberry, peach, lemon, cucumber or mint. Top it with a garnish like a lime wedge or curl of orange. Or, rim your glass with sugar or salt. The possibilities are endless!
In case you need help justifying margaritas on a Tuesday, we got you! Margaritas are totally healthy. They are loaded with vitamin C and are gluten free. Tequila is a digestif, which is when an alcohol helps speed up digestion by cutting through the fat of a rich meal. (I mean, that’s assuming you eat with your tequila). Cinco de Mayo is a holiday, and margaritas are part of the tradition. Plus, nothing brings out the fun or ability to forget current events like tequila, which might be exactly what we need for an evening. You're welcome.
And, do not forget, it’s Cinco de Mayo on TACO TUESDAY! I mean, what?!? (Alright, I may have been sampling the foundation during the writing of the Anatomy of the Perfect Margarita section.)
Obviously, the final piece of this extravaganza are the tacos! (Plus, you need something to balance out the tequila.) Your favorite taco may be different from mine. I use the good old crock pot and keep it simple; 4-6 chicken breasts topped with salsa, ½ cup of water, and taco or fajita seasoning on low for 6-8 hours. Once it’s time to eat, shred the chicken. I make a side of brown rice; and, in honor of this fancy holiday, I may even mix in cilantro and freshly squeezed lime (but only if there is any left after making the Perfect Margarita. Priorities.). In our house, we do toppings buffet style with lettuce, tomato, black olive, sour cream, taco or hot sauce, salsa, cheese, and black beans with the perplexing choice of tortilla chips or soft shell tortillas. I might even go crazy and have both. Good thing for the digestive properties in my accompanying margarita!
Top off your Cinco de Mayo Taco Tuesday extravaganza with your favorite lively music and, perhaps, even a little dancing. Salsa, anyone? Just take a night to have some well-deserved fun! Off to the store to replenish my limes!
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.