Even if you have no real reason to celebrate the Mexican army’s underdog victory over French wanna-be colonists on May 5, 1962, Cinco de Mayo is still a great excuse to experience Denver’s tequila scene. Here, five agave-focused libations to get your party started. Bonus: Balance out all the drinking with tacos—check out our list of Denver’s 52 Top Tacos for some inspiration.
La Loma has offered the Mexi-Flag Marg for Cinco de Mayo for several years now. This year’s celebration is special, however, as it’s the very last May 5 you’ll be able spend at the restaurant’s historic location in Jefferson Park. La Loma creates the Mexican flag-hued drink by freezing it in three distinct layers: strawberry, house, and a Midori Melon Liqueur-spiked flavor. For those who prefer their libations a bit simpler, the restaurant also offers barrel-aged Don Julio tequila shots for $6. 2527 W. 26th Ave., 303-433-8300
Located inside the Art, a Hotel, Fire Restaurant offers expansive balcony seating overlooking Broadway, which makes it an ideal spot for enjoying a margarita on a warm (finger’s crossed) May day. Indulge in the house or blood orange versions, or opt for Fire’s Cinco de Mayo weekend special: a fruity and refreshing Hokusai marg. This drink is made with Peligroso silver tequila, Cointreau, yuzu, lime, and prickly pear purée. 1201 Broadway, 303-572-8000
As part of its annual Picnic of the Pig, Lola Mexican Fish House is giving away 300 free margaritas on May 5. Lola will dish out 150 drinks at 4 p.m. and another 150 at 8 p.m. In the hours between, you’ll find live music from Robby Peoples and Town Cavalry and oodles of pig-centric offerings from local chefs like Enrique Socarras (Revelry Kitchen), Peter Varkonyi (Beast & Bottle), and Amos Watts (Old Major). 1575 Boulder St., 720-570-8686
You’ll find one of the most undiscovered cocktail lists in Denver at the Crimson Room, an underground jazz club on Larimer Square. Try one of bar co-managers Drew Howell (a Williams & Graham vet) and AJ Snowhite’s fanciful creations like the El Diablo (tequila, ginger, crème de cassis, and lime) or Mexican Firing Squad (tequila, lime juice, grenadine, and bitters). Our pick, however, is the classic paloma, which is actually more popular in Mexico than the margarita. The Crimson Room’s tequila and grapefruit cocktail is a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and salty. 1403 Larimer St., 720-639-6987
If you’re in the Berkeley neighborhood, stop into El Chingon for a stiff Cinco de Mayo cocktail. While you can’t go wrong with any of the beverages on bar and general manager Valentina Panic’s thoughtful list, don’t pass up the Bitter Oaxacan. Made with mezcal, Campari, ginger syrup, and house-made orange liqueur, this smoky sipper is served in a rocks glass with a bit of aromatic orange zest for garnish. It’s strong, but thanks to the compelling balance of bitter and sweet, it goes down easy. 4326 Tennyson St., 303-248-3641