Having never been to Mexico during Cinco de Mayo, I can’t say firsthand what an authentic Cinco de Mayo party is like, or if they even celebrate it at the level that we do in America. However, being twenty-something and living in Tahoe, I can offer some helpful tips on how to throw a decent party on May 5 that has a Latin twist and will be a fun time for you and your friends.
In no particular order, here is a suggested list of party items:
Tequila: Running out of tequila is a rookie mistake. Running out of margarita mix is okay, because you still have tequila, but running out of tequila is just embarrassing. Buy a handle of Jose Cuervo or ask a few of your friends to chip in and bring a bottle or two for backup. If your FB invite says “bring Mexican-themed food or drinks” you’re going to end up with fifteen bags of Tostitos and a six-pack of warm Corona Light.
Adult Piñata: An adult piñata looks just like a children’s piñata from the outside. It might be shaped like a donkey or a star or Hello Kitty, but the inside is full of fun adult surprises. For example: mini bottles of booze, Jell-o shots (on second thought, this actually might be a terrible idea, I’ve never tried it), scratch-off lottery tickets, and candy, like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. There are probably a few other adult things you could include as well, just use your imagination. Also, please don’t do the piñata whacking after everyone is halfway to blackout town, it’s just too dangerous.
Churros: I have never personally made churros, but I have eaten them, so I know what’s up. I looked up a few recipes on Pinterest and it turns out, they’re not that hard to make. Set aside a little extra time to make a batch and your guests will be forever impressed by your attention to theme-party detail. You can also order churros from Baja Fresh and pretend you made them; they even come with the chocolate sauce.
Sombrero: Just make sure you, or someone at your party, wears sombrero.
Food: Don’t forget to eat tacos or enchiladas. Or at least chips and salsa.
Authentic Latin American Music: While I do enjoy many types of music, I can’t say I am very well versed in music from south of the border. But I do know that after a few margaritas, I’m a pro at dancing to it. A good playlist full of Latin pizzazz can really set the stage for your Cinco de Mayo-themed party. For starters, try out Duo Mezcal Radio on Pandora. I sort of picture myself riding a donkey near a cactus wearing a sombrero while listening to this, so it might not be for everyone. For something you can shake your sarape to, try out Chico Alvarez or Jose Mangual Jr. Radio on Pandora.
Sleeping Bag & Pillow: Whether it’s a spare bedroom or a vacant bathtub, being a good host means having overnight accommodations for your guests should they require them. After your friends eat eight churros, drink bottomless margaritas and wear themselves out spinning around with a stick trying to whack a Hello Kitty piñata, they’re definitely not going to be in any shape to drive home. Please party responsibly.
I hope that this is helpful and that your party is a huge success. Have a fun and safe Cinco de Mayo, everybody!
~ Margo Stoney