Cinco de Mayo is one of those bastardized, booze-fueled holidays that Americans celebrate in ignorance of the origin. For us, it’s a day to drink tequila and mezcal and eat anything that has the remotest connection to Mexico. And the significance of the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, is blurred easily by celebrants’ taco-induced comas and margarita hangovers.[related]
If you remember high school history, the French occupied Mexico in the mid-nineteenth century, and Napoleon III saw Mexico as an opportunity to create the Second Mexican Empire, but Mexican President Benito Juarez was having none of it. And the result was the Mexican-American War of 1846–48 and the 1858–61 Reform War. So what’s on the menu in D.C. this year? Read on to find out what people will be eating and drinking this Friday.
All Set Restaurant & Bar
This Friday, take off work early and go to All Set Restaurant & Bar for its discounted happy hour and dinner specials. The fun starts at 3 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. and during happy hour you can choose the $12 taco plate that includes $5 passion fruit and guava margaritas and a choice of three tacos: blackened shrimp, grilled hanger steak, or marinated chicken. Then at dinner, $18 specials include Maine lobster guacamole.
Head to City Tap at Penn Quarter this Cinco de Mayo and sample Mexican-inspired comida like guacamole and Mexican-themed beers at City Tap Penn Quarter. It’s serving a $15 guacamole trio that includes bacon and blue cheese, as well as Mexican corn, plus traditional guacamole and Anderson Valley Briney Melon beer for $20 and beeritas made with 21st Amendment’s El Sully for $10.
Drink the District’s Canal Park Fiesta
This year, Drink the District is hosting two days of Cinco de Mayo fun on Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6. Depending on which ticket you buy, you can party with mucho gusto, groove to DJ Julian Rivera, drink cold brews and margaritas, play for grand prizes in the loteria, watch Mexican wrestling, and hang out at Canal Park. General Admission tickets are $15; there’s a Drink Lovers ticket for $25 that gives you an extra $25 worth of beverage credit for use at all of the fiesta bars. Choose to attend one of the three sessions and buy your tickets online.
Go for Oaxacan food and Mexican drinks at Espita Mezcaleria for Cinco de Mayo. The restaurant is serving a limited release of Peppercorn Chamomile Saison the restaurant created with 3 Stars Brewing Company. Get the beer for $1 off the suggested retail price on Friday, May 5, or try what Espita does best: mezcal flights chosen by guest mezcalier Kaj Kackinen, the founder of Black Bar Project, the importer of Nuestra Soledad, El Jolgorio, and Agave de Cortés brands of mezcal.