Hosting Series: Two Must-Try May Cocktails

This weekend is going to be all about the parties. Between the Kentucky Derby on Saturday and Cinco de Mayo on Sunday, we expect that at some point (probably multiple points) you'll be indulging in some delicious food, fun drinks, and fantastic outfits.

We can't think of a better time to kick off our blog's party hosting series, and we're doing it with 2 fun spring/summer cocktail recipes that are perfect for this weekend!

What's the connection between party cocktails and kaftans, you ask?

Kaftans and hosting go hand in hand. 

Just ask Sofia Coppola. Long kaftans are the perfect garment for hosting (or attending) a weekend party. They're:

  • Decadent. Kaftans' free-flowing shape and adjustable drawstring put comfort first. They won't punish you for indulging in the fabulous party food.
  • Cool. They breathe like linen, without the fuss. Whether you've been in a hot kitchen all morning or are headed to a humid backyard in the afternoon, you'll love the breezy 100% cotton voile used in all Kaftan Life kaftans.
  • Easy. They're quick to throw on when guests are on their way, a breeze to dress up, and washer and dryer friendly!

It so happens that Decadent, Cool, and Easy also describe our two favorite May cocktails!

Cocktail #1: The "Penny" Margarita

The "Penny" Margarita is our favorite take on a simple classic

Image: The "Penny" Margarita, our favorite take on a simple classic. Photo by Johann Trasch on Unsplash.

I used to think that I didn't like margaritas on the rocks. It turns out, I just don't like margarita mix (or the terrible headache I get from drinking it). It's too saccharine, and when you order it from a bar or restaurant, you never quite know what you're going to get.

The thing is, why use a margarita mix at all?! It only takes 3 ingredients to make the real thing! Tequila, Triple Sec, and Lime Juice. Done. The best-known variation of this traditional 3-ingredient recipe is the Coin Style (or "Silver Coin") Margarita, which uses tequila blanco (silver tequila) and gets the "Coin" part of its name from its use of Cointreau triple sec.

The "Penny" Margarita is our upgrade to the Coin Style Margarita, and it's actually more affordable. Instead of getting its umami from an especially pricey triple sec like Cointreau, the Penny Marg gets it from the tequila itself by using tequila reposado ("rested" or mildly aged tequila). The result is a richer, smoother cocktail that is still every bit as refreshing.

Pro Tip: If you want this drink made exactly to spec at a bar, just ask for a "2:2:1 margarita on the rocks with reposado". 2:2:1 is the ratio of those 3 main ingredients we mentioned: 2 parts tequila reposado, 2 parts triple sec, 1 part lime juice.

Penny Margarita Ingredients: 

  • 2oz tequila reposado
  • 2oz triple sec (the cheap stuff is perfectly okay)
  • 1oz fresh* lime juice 
  • Margarita salt for the rim (in the mixers aisle at your grocery store)
  • Ice
  • Optional: 1 lime wedge

*You can sub in bottled lime juice, but bottled lime juice can be hit or miss. We like this brand of Key lime juice, which is available in most grocery stores. It has a "sweeter" lime flavor and in our experience, is less likely to cause heartburn than other shelf-stabilized lime juices. 

Penny Margarita Directions: 

Note: This recipe is for a single cocktail. If you're making multiple cocktails, just scale the 3 main ingredients proportionately and combine in a shaker or pitcher before pouring into individual glasses.

1. Prep your glass by running a lime wedge around the rim and dipping the rim in margarita salt. Fill glass with ice cubes. (If you're working without fresh limes, you can squirt some extra lime juice from the bottle onto a small plate and dip the rim of the glass in that before dipping it in the salt.)

2. Pour lime juice, tequila reposado and triple sec into your glass and stir gently. Top with more ice if needed. (It's generally better to pour liquid ingredients in order from smallest quantity to largest quantity. This creates the best natural mixing action.)

3. Optional: If you have a fresh lime wedge, use it as a garnish on the glass before serving.

Cocktail #2: The Mexican Mule

Mexican Mule featuring and a copper mug

Image: Mexican Mule featuring mint and lime. Photo by Miguel Maldonado on Unsplash.

Our second cocktail selection for May is a more flavor-packed take on the classic Moscow Mule. We love serving it alongside Penny Margaritas at parties because the only additional ingredient you need is ginger beer!

Mexican Mule Ingredients: 

  • 2oz tequila reposado (you can also use Mezcal instead for a smoky Mezcal Mule)
  • 4oz ginger beer (not ginger ale!)
  • 1-2 lime wedges
  • Ice
  • Optional: Mint for garnish
  • Optional: Stainless steel lined mule mug or mason jar (for the 'gram)

Mexican Mule Directions: 

Note for party hosts: Don't pre-mix a batch of Mules before a party. The ginger beer will go flat. Instead, try placing a recipe card at your drink station with the ingredients. Your guests will love making this easy recipe themselves! Ginger beer usually comes in 8-12oz cans or bottles, so just instruct guests to estimate 1/3 to 1/2 of the can/bottle and leave the remainder for the next guest.

1. Add ice to a rocks glass or stainless steel lined mule mug until it's 3/4 full.

2. Squeeze your lime wedge(s) into the glass and drop them right in. They'll continue to add flavor as they soak in your cocktail.

3. Add tequila, then ginger beer. Stir gently and (optional) garnish with mint for added freshness.

Bonus Twist: The Derby Mule

The Derby Mule is the perfect cocktail for Derby Day

Image: For Derby Day, try a Derby Mule. Side note: yes, we included an image with straws, but please avoid plastic straws if possible. Photos by Mariel Matute and Daniel from Pexels.

Look, we get it. Tradition is important. But after years of attending Derby parties, we've come to the conclusion that Mint Julep isn't bad... it's just kind of boring. Spice up your Derby party cocktail menu with a few simple tweaks to the Mexican Mule recipe above:

1. Substitute bourbon for tequila.

2. Skip the lime.

3. Muddle mint (8-10 leaves) and bourbon in the bottom of your glass before adding your ice and ginger beer. Garnish with additional mint as desired.

Ending Notes

That's it! Two recipes and a fun Derby Day twist to help you get through a weekend of fun. Hit the comments to let us know what you think and tell us about some of your favorite drinks for Spring/Summer get-togethers.

Be sure to check out our limited run of breezy, ethically made long kaftans! They truly are Spring/Summer party essentials. And if you enjoy reading our blog, subscribe to our mailing list at the bottom of our homepage to receive updates about new posts!

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