The holiday is an important time for restaurants to attract culturally diverse consumers. Ethnic populations in America are growing tremendously, and with that comes arise in purchasing power. By trying your hand at some easy-yet-delicious Hispanic-style foods, such as tacos and salsas, you can begin to tap into this burgeoning market. But first, let’s get some facts straight about the big day:
1. A Winning Battle
Many people mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexico’s IndependenceDay, much like our 4th of July. But in fact, it commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla, which occurred on May 5, 1862.
2. A Northern Tradition
Though it’s an important date in Mexican history, the fiesta/street party aspect of Cinco de Mayo is almost entirely an American creation, with the biggest blowout taking place in Los Angeles. Other U.S. cities that have a tradition for celebrating Mexican culture and food on May 5 include Denver, New York, Phoenix and Houston.
3. Celebrating Mexican Heritage
Cinco de Mayo has been promoted at several points throughout history for a variety of reasons. It was first given life in the U.S. under Franklin Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor” policy, which was intended to improve relations with Latin America. In the 1950s and ’60s, it was picked up by Chicano and Hispanic activists as a way to spread cultural understanding. And in the 1980s, beer companies promoted it heavily, weaving it into their advertising campaigns.
4. Holy Guacamole
Americans love to eat avocados. Each year, more than 80 million pounds of them are mashed to make guacamole on Cinco de Mayo. Use Casa Solana Pre-Mashed avocados to save time and labor when making your favorite version of the dip. Then pair with Casa Solana tortilla chips. To make the simplest guacamole, combine fresh avocados, fresh lime juice, finely diced white onion, minced jalapeno chile and sea salt. If you like, add salsa, chopped fresh tomato or chopped fresh cilantro according to your taste.
5. Margaritas in the Mix
Tequila sales double in the week leading up to Cinco de Mayo, and margaritas account for nearly 50 percent of cocktails sold on the holiday. Combine Sysco Classic margarita mix with your favorite tequila or mezcal and a splash of lime for a refreshing and festive drink. Or whip up something a little more glamorous, such as the Paloma Margarita (pictured). Made with grapefruit soda, it’s the perfect pick-me-up to serve patrons on a warm spring evening. Pair it with chips and an assortment of vibrant and spicy salsas.