The month of October comes with many things – pumpkin spice, falling leaves, and the beginning of the holiday season. The holidays begin at the end of the month with Halloween and the commencement of Dia de los Muertos.
While they fall on the same day, Halloween and Día de los Muertos are, in historical theory, similar but not the same. Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, is a pagan-rooted holiday celebrating the end of the harvest season on October 31st. The traditional purpose of Halloween was to celebrate the afterlife and the survival of life. Countries around the world carve pumpkins, dress up in scary costumes and indulge in sugary treats to commemorate it.
Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that spans across several days, October 31st to November 2nd as a way to celebrate loved ones who have passed away. To honor the deceased, the living visit grave sites, create altars of remembrance, and eat the deceased’s favorite food. It is a celebration of the person’s life, their contributions while living, and the love they bestowed onto others. A tequila tasting and cocktail pairing could be a memorable way to do just that. As with most celebrations, planning a Day of the Dead party begins with the menu.
First Course – Tequila Tasting
Because Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday, it is only appropriate to begin the festivities with chips and salsa. Seek out restaurant quality chips that are thick and salty and a little on the oily-side (that’s authenticity seeping out). If you can’t find good chips at your local grocery store, head to your fave Mexican restaurant and ask for a few bags to-go.
There are countless salsa recipes in one Google search. We’ve saved you some research time and sourced nine good salsa recipes (guacamole included). Pick your favorite trio and get to chopping! Your guests will love the different taste combinations that you create by adding a little heat or stirring in a little sweet.
Our recommended cocktail for the first-course tequila tasting is the Blood Moon. It’s a rich red citrus cocktail made with Azuñia Blanco organic tequila, Art of the Age Snap liqueur, pumpkin puree, and fresh lemon juice. The light brightness will perfectly complement the salt and spice of your first course.
Main Course – Tequila Tasting
Nothing says “delicious” like carnitas. Carnitas is cubed pork seasoned with onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, and citrus juice and roasted to a deep brown until it is a little crispy. Serve it with warm tortillas, pinto beans, and one or all of the fresh salsas you made for your appetizer. Offer your guests chopped fresh cilantro and white onion to top their tacos for added flavor and authenticity.
The Día de los Muertos cocktail is a stunning concoction of Azuñia Reposado organic tequila, sweet vermouth, Ancho Chili Reyes liqueur, and orange bitters. This drink enhances the citrus nuances of the carnitas and brings a little bite to the course.
To Make the Día De Los Muertos Cocktail:
- 4 tbsp (2 oz.) Azuñia Reposado Tequila
- 1.5 tbsp (.75 oz.) Cocchi di Torino Sweet Vermouth
- .5 tbsp (.25 oz.) Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur
- 2 dashes Orange Bitters
- Pour all ingredients into a cocktail glass
- Strain into a Coupe, or similar, glass
- Top with Dried Chili Garnish
Final Course – Tequila Tasting
As we talked about, Día de los Muertos is a celebration of the lives our loved ones. Symbolically, this is represented through décor of bright colors, real or paper flowers, candles, incense, and sugar skulls. One of our favorite ideas for the final espectacular (grande finale) is to have your guests decorate sugar skull cookies. Set up a table with prepared sugar cookies, and all the frostings, icings, tips, and ideas they might need to create their dessert.
As guests decorate the desserts for the finale of the tequila tasting, serve up a Smashing Pumpkin cocktail. This cocktail made with Azuñia Reposado, pumpkin puree, allspice, vanilla, and cream is a dessert in and of itself.
Tequila Tasting Party Recap
Your guests will not be able to stop raving about all the little details that make the tequila tasting party so spectacular. The possibilities are endless not just for a party in October, but for future entertaining too. By researching a theme, its history and origins, complete with a tequila tasting plus food and cocktail pairings, you create a fun and festive environment for your guests.
Learn more about the honestly authentic tequila products we paired with your Día de los Muertos meal courses.