A Little History, a Margarita Recipe, and a Giveaway!

When I realized my post fell on Cinco de Mayo, I wondered how the day became such a big United States celebration. Okay, I hear those who remember I live in Texas saying, “You’re just asking this now?” Yes, I should’ve researched this sooner having lived in Texas over 35 years, but as my father said, I was born two weeks late and have been late ever since!

The first thing I discovered, that celebrating Cinco de Mayo is primarily a US festivity, surprised me. I also mistakenly thought some that the day commemorated Mexico’s independence from Spain. (This occurred on September 16, 1821.) What Cinco de Mayo originally celebrated was 1862 Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. On that day, Mexican peasants with South Texas and Rio Grande Valley vaqueros led by Goliad, Texas, born General Ignacio Zaragosa defended forts in Puebla. Though poorly trained, short on ammunition, weapons, and artillery, they defeated the French.

In 1864, Mexican American associations in California organized an event to memorialize the battle. To these people, the win was a symbol of Mexican pride and hope for freedom over tyranny. Soon after, communities in South Texas started commemorating the day. Newspapers from the 1880s and 1890s contained stories on Cinco de Mayo celebrations in San Antonio, Laredo, and El Paso. In the 1960s Goliad created the General Zaragoza State Historic Site in Goliad State Park. In 1973 the town held Fiesta Zaragoza which included music, ballet folklórico performances, and a barbecue cookoff. (After all, this was Texas!) In 1980 Puebla gifted Goliad with a statue for their historic site, and in 1990, the Texas Senate declared Goliad the “official place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.”

As to how Cinco de Mayo has become the huge event it is today in the US? Part of the reason could be because as some claim winning the Battle of Puebla, slowed Napoleon III’s taking of Mexico and installing Maximilian I, and prevented the French’s involvement in the US Civil War on the Confederate’s side. But most agree the celebration’s huge popularity is due to marketing folks realizing the day’s potential.

Tonight if you want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and toast General Zaragoza and the bravery of those Texans that fought with him against the French but aren’t big on crowds, here’s my dear hubby’s margarita recipe.

          Into a shaker with ice, place the following:

          1 shot Tequila

          1/2 shot orange liqueur such as Triple Sec

          1/2 shot Fresh squeezed lime juice

          1/2 shot Simple Syrup (Make by bringing equal parts of sugar and water to a boil and cooling.)

          Shake well. Strain into a glass filled with ice and rimmed with salt (optional).

Note: You can make a margarita mix to store in the fridge by mixing equal parts of fresh lime juice and simple syrup.

As an extra bonus, here’s my hubby’s great fajita recipe to go with the margaritas. The meat is also super in quesadillas.



1  lb skirt steak

2  limes

1  pkg tortillas


½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp cumin

1 tsp coarse salt

1 tsp coriander

1 Tbl chili powder


Sprinkle meat with tenderizer. Combine dry ingredients to make the rub. Apply the rub to the meat, let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle meat with fresh lime juice. Refridgerate 30-60 minutes covered. Grill on high heat for 6-8 minutes per side. Let rest 5 minutes. Slice against the grain.

To be entered in today’s giveaway of a margarita car air freshener, car coasters  (they also fit in my couch’s cup holders), and a copy of The Rancher and the Vet leave a comment about your favorite Mexican dish, dessert, or cocktail. My favorite is a tie between sopapillas and flan!

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Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at www.juliebenson.net.

52 thoughts on “A Little History, a Margarita Recipe, and a Giveaway!”

  1. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

    I love seafood enchiladas from my local restaurant. My flan recipe is more Spanish.

    No need to count me–I already have the book.


    • Denise, thanks for stopping by even though you have the book! Tell you what. I’ll include you and if you win, we’ll figure out another book! Happy Cinco de Mayo and stay safe.

  2. I used to love Margarita’s. Due to medication that I take, I am no longer able to indulge. I enjoy chicken soft tacos and nachos with mild salsa. Thank you for the opportunity. God bless you.

    • Debra, I used to love margaritas, too. Mine problem is with how acidic they are. The last few years acid and sugar make my digestive system and my mood very unhappy, despite being on acid reducers. 🙁 I’m a big sour cream enchilada fan.

  3. I love sopapillas, I could eat them everyday but my waist would never forgive me. This was a tie with Tres Leche cake but in the end sopapillas won. I feel a trip to Richards ( a wonderful Mexican restaurabt here in Albuquerque) but I’m sad to say, is still closed due to the pandemic. I can’t wait to hear when they will reopen.

    • Nancy, yup, nothing beats a sopapilla with local honey! It has been tragic seeing what this pandemic has done to certain people because it’s devastated their industry. Restaurants have been hit so hard, and so many haven’t survived. My youngest graduated a year ago with a degree in musical theatre. The pandemic has been doubly hard on those folks since not only is their primary industry shut down, but so is the one they worked to make ends meet, restaurants. I pray we are about done with this, and we never see this much hardship and loss of life again. Thanks for stopping by today, and when Richards is open again enjoy!

    • Oooh, tacos do sound good tonight, or my hubby makes wonderful chicken enchiladas. I never go out to restaurants on days like these. The older I get the more crowds and the huge noise bother me. However you celebrate, enjoy!

  4. I’m with you. My favorites are dessert, flan or sopapillas. There was one place near our house that used to have cinnamon ice cream and I really liked it too.

    • Janine, cinnamon ice cream sounds interesting, in a good way. Plus, cinnamon is supposed to be so good for us. I love when an ingredient makes me feel less guilty about indulging. Pies are another example. Whenever I eat a fruit pie (cherry’s my favorite) I tell myself at least I’m getting a serving of fruit! Oooh, Janine, I just had a thought–a delicious, naughty thought. What if we had a sopapilla WITH just a little cinnamon ice cream? 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today and giving me such a wonderful thing to dream of! I’m sitting here almost drooling! Take care and have a fabulous Cinco de Mayo!

    • Debra, one can never go wrong with nachos. But as with most things in life, I’m an all in gal. I love loaded nachos. The more stuff that’s thrown on them, the better. I think some are definitely in my near future. Thank you for stopping by the corral today. Take care and stay safe.

  5. I love green chili enchiladas and guacamole
    Now I’m hungry.
    Happy Early Mother’s Day to you.

    • Tonya, I’ve never made green chili enchiladas, but I think I may need to search for a good recipe to try. I go back and forth on guacamole. Some places make wonderful guac and others it’s awful. I guess I’m more of a salsa gal. Happy mother’s day to you as well. Take care and stay safe. Thanks for stopping by today to chat.

    • We make chicken enchiladas which everyone in the family loves, except my oldest who hates tomatoes. He’s 31 and he’s less picky now than as a child, still doesn’t eat things that makes it tough. Yup, he’s one of the people who has pizza with a white sauce rather than red. I never realized how many things had tomatoes until he had a problem with them. I love restaurant tacos, but haven’t found a recipe I like to make them at home. Maybe I’ll have to see what I can find because everyone mentioning them has made me hungry for a taco.

      Thank you for spending part of your day with me. Take care, stay safe, and have a great Cinco de Mayo.

    • Oooh, I forgot about fajitas! I should’ve posted my hubby’s fajita recipe too! The meat is also great in quesadillas. I may need to post it later. I’m sure there are others out there who’d love a new recipe for hubby to throw on the grill. Thanks Ann, for stopping by to chat today. Take care and happy Cinco de Mayo.

  6. A Mexican sunset tequila cocktail is my favorite drink. Happy Cinco de Mayo. Tacos are my favorite food. Elephant ears are my favorite dessert. Thank you for sharing.

    • Charlene, you’ve got to tell me more about a Mexican sunset tequila cocktail and elephant ears! I’ve never heard of either the of those, but both have me with their names. Happy Cinco de Mayo and thanks for stopping by. I’m off to Google to check out your favs…

    • Laini, I can’t believe in all the years I’ve lived in Texas I’ve never had huevos ranchero! I’m definitely need to fix that. Have a wonderful and safe Cinco de Mayo and thanks for stopping by today.

    • Ellie, this sounds great! It’s already getting warm here in Texas, but there’s nothing better on a cool fall night or a cold winter one than a stew. Thanks for giving me something else to find a recipe for. I’m always looking for good stew and soup recipes. Thank you so much for stopping by today. Take care, stay safe, and have a fabulous Cinco de Mayo.

    • Melanie, thanks for stopping by the corral today. I love cheese enchiladas with fajita meat on top. My favorite Mexican place had that on the menu as a house specialty before it closed years ago. I was thrilled when a nearby restaurant started serving something similar not too long ago. We’ve gotten take out from there quite a bit during this pandemic. Take care and have a fantastic Cinco de Mayo.

  7. My favorite Mexican dish has to be Nachos smothered in Cheese. Although the Flan is a tasty second. I tried Flan for the first time in Spanish class when I was in college. My Spanish teacher was fantastic. Best sSpanish teacher I ever had. Thanks for your Margarita recipe.
    I loved reading this post. The history was incredible that I learned and never knew
    Hope I Win
    Happy Cinco de Mayo

    • Crystal, I was amazed how much I didn’t know about Cinco de Mayo, and I’ve lived in Texas for 35+ years. I never knew it related back to a single battle during the Mexico/French War. I always thought it had to do with the war between Spain and Mexico for Independence. And what a hoot that it’s primarily an American event! I took two years of Spanish in high school, but my teacher wasn’t fantastic like yours. I wish now I’d taken four years in high school and more in college. Not enough people are bilingual, and it would help as a teacher.

    • Teresa, after all the great dishes and desserts everyone has mentioned so far, I agree. It’s hard to pick one. Thank you for stopping by today to chat. Happy Cinco de Mayo. Take care.

    • Rita, my enchilada recipe makes a big pan, too, but I keep forgetting to throw some in the freezer. There’s nothing better than realizing I don’t have to cook because I’ve got something in the freezer to pull out! Take care, stay safe, and have a wonderful Cinco de Mayo.

    • Jan, you’re like my husband. He loved margaritas but couldn’t find a mix he liked so he created one. The nice thing with the recipe is the amounts can be adjusted to make it sweeter or more sour, whatever is your preference. Thank you for chatting today and have a great Cinco de Mayo.

  8. Julie, I never knew where this holiday originated but somehow I always thought we only celebrated in Texas. Such a big part of our population is Hispanic. For such a little town, Goliad played a big role in two wars. I love margaritas! They’re always my drink of choice whenever I can get them. Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

    • Linda, I was surprised what a role Goliad played in the battle. I think originally celebrating Cinco de Mayo started with southwestern states. Then when marketing folks figured out they could get more people to go to restaurants and buy booze, they were off and running promoting it.

  9. Hello I Love any of The taco’s and I Love the enchiladas with Spanish rice , and refried beans so yummy My favorite Thank you so much for the amazing giveaway Happy Cinco De Mayo!

    • Sarah, I haven’t had Spanish Rice in forever, and that sounds so good! I’ll have to dig out my recipe or peruse what’s on the internet. Okay, now what I want for dinner is enchiladas and Spanish rice. Thanks for the idea. Thank you for stopping by the corral and have a super Cinco de Mayo.

  10. Colleen, I’m amazed how many things everyone has mentioned that I’ve never tried. Fried ice cream is another one. I think about trying it a lot when I’m at a Mexican restaurant, but then I pick either sopapillas or flan. Next time I’m going to be adventurous. Have a wonderful Cinco de Mayo.

  11. I have always thought Cinco de Mayo like St Patrick’s Day had more to do with Americans celebrating their heritage than with the original event. I had heard about the battle against the French that took place on May 5 but not about General Zaragoza. I will have to try the fajita recipe. One of our local restaurants used to serve a delicious fajita salad. So far I have had no luck trying to duplicate it at home so I am always looking for good fajita recipes. I already have “The Rancher and the Vet”

    • Alice, wow, I’m impressed! Not only did you know about the battle, but you knew Cinco de Mayo is more of an American celebration of heritage. I hope you like the fajita recipe. We’ve used it for years and love it. I’ll tell you what I told Denise. If you win the giveaway, I’ll let you pick another book. I just grabbed one and The Rancher and the Vet was what I got. Have a wonderful day!

    • Jackie, what you wrote should be on a T-shirt! Like Taco Tuesday. Hmmm, maybe Tuesday, tacos and flan. What else do you need, except maybe tequila. Lol. Thanks for making me laugh! Have a great Cinco de Mayo and thanks for stopping by to chat today.

  12. I love chile rellenos, as long as the long green chiles aren’t hot, I like mine mild. I love the sopaipillas sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. I also love the Arroz con Leche for dessert , it is delicious . Have a Great week and stay safe. Thank you so much for sharing the delicious sounding recipes.

    • Alicia, now you’ve made me hungry! Everything you say sounds wonderful. I like my sopapillas with cinnamon sugar, too. Then I open them up and add honey. Soooo good. I’ve never heard of Arroz con Leche. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for stopping by today. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Take care.

    • Diana, I haven’t had a good strawberry margarita in forever. I hope you’ve had a great Cinco de Mayo. Take care and stay safe. Thank you for dropping by the corral today.

  13. Thanks so much for the history and the recipes. Fajitas are a favorite and I really should fix them at home. As for the margaritas, I like the lime but love the strawberry margaritas. I hope you enjoyed celebrating.

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