07/03/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Cinco de Mayo: Get Your Fiesta On!

Ay Caramba! This Wednesday is one of my favorite party days the year -- Cinco de Mayo. This annual fiesta celebrates the Mexican history and culture that have played such an important role in enriching our nation with their colors, flavors, music and art. It's a love song to our neighbors to the south. And I personally circle the date on my calendar. After all, no matter your background, everyone has a little fiesta in them.

My best Cinco de Mayo parties are the easiest to plan. Start with a too-die-for pitcher of Margaritas (my favorite recipes follow) and a colorful buffet of great snacks - crispy tortilla chips, salsa, chiles, guacamole, queso - and add in some of your favorite Mexican entrees either homemade, or picked up from your favorite local restaurant. Hang some paper flowers or streamers in rainbow brights, put Gipsy Kings on the hi-fi and dance the night away.

I love a good margarita! I mean, any party is more festive with tequila. As a true cocktail aficionado, I'm known for my margs. Classic and mango are always staples in my party repertoire. This year, I'm all over the açai berry and its legendary health benefits. Mix that in and it's like you're drinking Botox in a glass - how great is that?!?

So call your amigos, pour a pitcher and let the party begin. Arriba!!

Margarita Madness
This classic margarita is filled with robust flavor, the addition of lemon juice completes its clean, crisp citrus tones. For a splash of sweet, try adding 2 oz. of pineapple juice.

Serves 4

  • 8 oz. Tequila Blanco
  • 2 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cups ice
  • Coarse salt for rims
  • 2 limes cut into wedges for garnish

Combine first four ingredients in a pitcher filled with ice. Salt the rims of glasses by first rubbing with a lime wedge and then dipping in a saucer of coarse salt. Pour margaritas and garnish with lime wedges.

Mango Margarita Madness
Using the above recipe, substitute 4 oz. mango nectar for the lemon juice

AY! Açai Berry Madness Marg
Using the above recipe, substitute 4 oz. of açai berry juice for the lemon juice