Cinco de Drinco

Yesterday, I had to explain the significance of celebrating May 5th to my Father when he asked me “Why does May 5 merit a party?” 

The first thing that came to mind is “Who needs an excuse to have a party and drink margaritas?!”

Then I felt slightly guilty.  A bit like a kid opening presents on Christmas Day without having gone to church the night before… You really shouldn’t get to enjoy something unless you understand the reason behind the celebration.

Although it does seem like Americans really don’t need that kind of validation.  No one needs an excuse to drink around here…  Paddy’s Day, Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo.  These are all ‘holidays’ that you don’t get a day off work for, but always seem to lead to consumption of copious quantities of alcohol.  There is something not quite right about that set up.

Anyway, I already knew that Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day are not one and the same (only because I happened to be in Mexico over their Independence day a few years ago), but I really didn’t know why it is celebrated.

Enter the trusty Google search:

The celebration of Cinco de Mayo originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War, and today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. In the Mexican state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day—the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico—which is celebrated on September 16.

Thank you, Wikipedia.

Fully informed with the reasons behind WHY we drink margaritas on Cinco de Mayo, it was about time I got down to doing just that.  Introducing, the margarita cupcake.

I hadn’t made cupcakes in a while, and felt like doing something outlandish.  You don’t get much more naughty than putting booze into cake, so I though this concoction would fit the bill.  A few years ago I made The Brown Eyed Baker’s margarita cupcakes for Cinco de Mayo, and decided it was time to try it out again.  Both the cake and frosting are very easy to make, and result in a zesty, tangy cupcake that packs a punch.  I baked mini cupcakes because I was taking them to a party and the bite-sized morsels are just more party-friendly.

WARNING! These cupcakes are not for children.  Unless, of course, you would like to get your children drunk.  There is tequila in every part of this cupcake.  Because you can never have too much tequila.  No, wait.  That’s not true.  At least 10 occasions in my life have proved that’s DEFINITELY not true.  There is tequila in the cake, tequila brushed on top of the cake, and tequila in the frosting.

I really wanted to make cupcakes that actually taste like margaritas, not just like key lime pie.  To achieve this I added more tequila and more lime than the original recipe outlines, but that might just be because I am a drunk.  And we go to parties, alcoholics just go to meetings.

Thanks Brown Eyed Baker for yet another fantastic recipe!

Margarita Cupcakes

Margarita Cupcakes

Makes 36 mini cupcakes


For the Cupcakes:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons tequila
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk

To Brush the Cupcakes:

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons tequila

For the Tequila-Lime Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2¾ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 5 tablespoons tequila
  • Pinch of coarse salt


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 mini-cupcake trays with cupcake cases; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  • In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  • Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. (The mixture may start to look curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come back together, power on!)
  • Reduce the mixer speed low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand.
  • Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until just slightly golden and a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pan at the halfway point.
  • Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila. Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.
  • To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the lime juice, tequila and mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy.
  • If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes and garnish, if desired, with lime zest, a sprinkling of salt.

Now just don’t forget to put on your sombrero and fake mustaches before devouring!  And be sure to chase with a shot of tequila.  Only the good stuff need apply.

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