Yes, Cinco de Mayo is a time for celebrating, as it commemorates the 151st anniversary of victory by a rather ragtag band of Mexican ex-guerrilla fighters over the invading French army. (Never mind that the French regrouped and eventually captured Mexico City with the Viennese prince, Maximilian installed as Emperor). This holiday, known in Mexico as El Dia de la Batalli de Puebla, seems to have originated in the U.S. by Mexican-American students to celebrate their heritage and the Mexican spirit to survive.
Many people in the U.S. just use this as an excuse to party, with restaurants and bars doing a heavy business in margaritas and shots of tequila or mezcal, often chased with beer.
I like to plan the 5th of May as a time for an informal but festive gathering of friends and family with a splendid array of classic Poblano foods. I make tinga, a highly seasoned dish of shredded pork and use it as a topping for tostadas, and also various traditional masa snacks such as chalupas, an oval or boat-shaped antojito with pinched up edges to hold the salsa and cheese. And, of course, I will also make guacamole with totopos for dipping, and serve the good liquid soul of Mexican hospitality, tequila, probably Herradura reposado, and a dark Negro Modelo or the fragrant Superior pilsner beer.
To help choose a tequila or mezcal of your liking, my friend Lucinda Hutson, has her Viva Tequila! book releasing May 1. You could preorder now and start planning your own Cinco de Mayo celebration.