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Festive Día de Muertos Tequila Cocktails

Several tequila brands have created Día de los Muertos-inspired cocktails to honor the Mexican holiday. Many of the traditional celebrations will be small this year and these colorful drinks add a fun touch to the festivities. According to Jane Danger, a national mixologist for Pernod Ricard, she says, "tequila is an integral part of the Día de los Muertos celebrations," so it's only fitting there are inspired cocktails to celebrate this year. 

dia de los muertos products sugar skulls shadow box altar

Día de los Muertos celebrations are expected to be muted this year, at a time when many of us want to remember loved ones we’ve lost.

Traditionally, observants of the Mexican holiday gather to pray and remember friends and family who have passed, but it is a celebration rather than a time of mourning. (For those not familiar, or just in need of a heartwarming movie, see “Coco”).

A key part of the holiday, typically celebrated Nov. 1-2, are ofrendas (home altars) which are decorated with calaveras (skulls), marigolds and the favorite food and drinks of the dead.

“Tequila is an integral part of the Dia De Los Muertos celebrations,” said Jane Danger, national mixologist for Pernod Ricard. “During this holiday, it is believed that the departed come to visit during the celebration, and marigolds are used to help guide the spirits with their vibrant colors.”

These tequila cocktails incorporate traditional components of the holiday and are meant to be enjoyed thinking about those we miss. They reflect the flavors of the season, including rich spices, deep coffees and chocolates, bright citrus fruit and honey and agaves.

1800 Rainbow Skull Elixir featuring Okuda San Miguel

1800 Tequila partnered with surrealist pop artist Okuda San Miguel as part of their Essential Artists Series, and his bold creations in the six-bottle series are especially apt for Día de los Muertos, especially the skull bottle (all available at reservebar.com). San Miguel has been painting the skulls for about 15 years, and they’ve evolved over his career — but he said he’s looked to traditional calveras for inspiration. Use it to make this spicy pineapple cocktail that has a hint of earthiness from sage.


2 ounces 1800 Essential Artists Series Silver Tequila

0.75 ounce pineapple juice

0.5 ounce lime juice

0.5 ounce simple syrup

4 sage leaves

Jalapeño slices to taste


In a cocktail shaker, muddle sage leaves and jalapeño slices in simple syrup. Add all other ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.

Sugar Skull Punch

This is a recipe Danger created for the holiday inspired by the various milk punches of Mexico, including Rompope, which is similar to an egg nog, Horchata, which is made from nut and grain milks and sweetened and spiced, and Atole, made from corn, milk, vanilla and spices.


Multiply parts by number of portions

1 part Avión Silver

1 part whole milk or milk substitute

1 part Kahlua

¾ parts agave

Dash mole bitters

Nutmeg for garnish


Build in punch bowl. Add ice and stir briefly to combine. Use ladle to serve. Garnish with nutmeg.

Golden Death

Danger created this cocktail inspired by Champurrado, another milky beverage made with masa, milk, chocolate, cinnamon and spices. She recommends using your favorite kind of chocolate syrup and add freshly grated cinnamon.


2 parts Altos Plata

2/3 parts chocolate syrup

2 dashes orange bitters

Orange for garnish

Cinnamon for garnish


Add Altos Plata and chocolate syrup to rocks glass. Stir well to dissolve syrup. Fill glass with ice and add orange bitters. Garnish with orange wedge and freshly-grated cinnamon.

Don Francisco Margarita

This orange margarita with honey notes is a nod to the colors of the holiday but also Don Francisco Javier Sauza, the founder of Hornitos (as well as Sauza and Tres Generaciones) who was one of the first to make Reposado tequila, which is by law aged at least six months in wood. That imparts some vanilla and caramel notes to the tequila which pair well with the honey and orange in the drink.


2 parts Hornitos Reposado Tequila

1 part orange juice

½ part freshly squeezed lime juice

¾ part honey syrup*


Combine ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice, shake and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange slice or edible marigold. Optional salt and chili rim for garnish.

*To make honey syrup: Combine equal parts honey and hot water. Stir until honey is fully dissolved. Let cool. Store refrigerated in airtight container for up to three weeks.

**To make salt and chili rim: Combine equal parts salt and chili powder on a plate. Wet the rim of the glass with an orange slice, and then dip into the salt and chili mixture.

Spirits Raised

This is also a cocktail that takes advantage of a tequila with a bit of age on it, the Partida Reposado, which brings vanilla and caramel notes to this coconut and pineapple cocktail. I’ve sung the praises of coconut and tequila a couple times recently, and, this is also a hit (and thematically has an opaque white color similar to sugar skulls).


2 ounces Partida Reposado

1 ounce Coco Lopez

1 ounce pineapple juice

1 ounce lime juice


Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into cocktail glass of choice, over ice.

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ginapace/2020/10/30/try-these-tequila-cocktails-that-evoke-da-de-los-muertos-traditions/?sh=33f75575633e

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