The Festive Cocktails of Día de los Muertos

These bars and restaurants get creative with their celebratory offerings.
The Festive Cocktails of Día de los Muertos

Memories of the dead come to life during the Mexican holiday known as Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on November 1–2. Celebrations throughout Mexico often center around food and drink to honor the dearly departed. Now United States restaurants and bars have borrowed the idea, decorating with symbols of the tradition (papel picado, or paper banners, sugar skulls, altars with gifts to the beloved) and serving up spirits. Give it a try at these locations:

San Antonio

At Vbar, a special cocktail was created specifically for the occasion: the Skull Crusher. A reference to sugar skulls, a staple of the holiday, it’s made with orangeflavored vodka and a splash of cranberry juice.


On Sunday, November 6, follow the All Souls Procession to 47 Scott, a downtown restaurant where cocktails made with Mexican ingredients (molé, mezcal, Tequila) are served. Expect to see staff members in skeleton costumes.

Washington, D.C.

The Day of the Dead celebration begins October 25 at Oyamel where the restaurant and bar will take on a Monarch butterfly theme. Some Mexicans believe that butterflies represent the spirits of dead relatives. Inspired by food and drink from Michoacán, winter home of the Monarchs, mixed drink specials highlight mezcal or a regional sugar cane spirit called charanda, with chilies added to both.

The Skull Crusher, Version 1

Recipes courtesy of Vbar, in San Antonio, Texas

1½ ounces Grey Goose L’Orange vodka
Club soda, to top off
Cranberry juice, splash
Lime wedge, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine vodka, club soda and a splash of cranberry juice. Pour into a highball glass filled with ice and garnish with lime.

The Skull Crusher, Version 2

1½ ounces of 360 Mandarin Orange vodka
¾ ounce Cointreau orange liqueur
Cranberry juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Orange wedge, for garnish

In a highball glass filled with ice, combine the voda, Cointreau, cranberry juice and fresh lime juice. Garnish with orange wedge.

Vuelve a la Vida Margarita

Courtesy of Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine in San Antonio, Texas

Instead of costumes and candy on Halloween, our Hispanic neighbors celebrate the Day of the Dead with altars, Mexican folk art and spicy cocktails.

1½ ounces Partida Blanco Tequila
2 slivers of fresh jalapeño
1 ounce diluted agave nectar
1 ounce fresh lime juice
14 ice cubes for a 10-ounce martini glass
Trechas chili-lime salt, for rim

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine Tequila, jalapeño, agave nectar and lime juice and shake vigorously. Serve in a martini glass rimmed with chili-lime salt.

Posada Punch

Courtesy of 47 Scott in Tucson, Arizona

1½ ounces Partida Blanco Tequila
½ ounce Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum
1 ounce fresh watermelon juice
½ ounce maraschino juice
½ ounce lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the Tequila, Rum, watermelon juice, maraschino juice and simple syrup. Shake well and strain into a vodka glass filled with ice.

Burro Brava

Courtesy of 47 Scott in Tucson, Arizona

1 ounce ginger syrup
¾ lime juice
1½ ounces mezcal
Club soda
Cilantro, for garnish
Lime wheel, for garnish

Muddle cilantro with ginger syrup and lime. Next, add mezcal and shake well. Double strain over ice in a Collins glass and top with club soda. Garnish with cilantro and a lime wheel.

Mouthwatering New Mexico

Published on September 2, 2011
Topics: Cocktails, Holiday Cocktails, Recipes

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