Editors’ Selects: At-Home Cinco de Mayo Celebrations

An opportunity to reflect on Mexican design, heritage and history

A celebration of Mexican culture and its international influence, Cinco de Mayo evolved from the commemoration of a battle in the Franco-Mexican War on 5 May 1862. Today, within the Mexican state of Puebla, festivities abound. Across the US, many indulge in traditional Mexican cuisine and music, along with cocktails featuring the country’s beloved spirits, tequila and mezcal. For us, Cinco de Mayo extends beyond an evening of mixed drinks and mole—though we may partake in both. An at-home celebration, at this time, offers an opportunity to reflect on Mexican design, heritage and history. Some of our selections below can be purchased for the occasion, but others require more time and thought as they channel the inspiration behind the day long after.

Erika Mezcal Glasses

Made in Oaxaca City by Xaquixe Glass, these hand-blown tequila cups ($75)(which are nearly three inches tall) can be filled to the brim for a sippable serving or poured light for a standard shot. Made from post-consumer recycled glass in a zero-waste facility, the naturally uneven set comes in a number of four. Plus, all of the heat captured from Xaquixe’s ovens power the neighboring mezcal distillery, which we’d argue warrants another round.

Marigold Candles

Available in two sizes (six or 14 inches tall), these marigold candles ($12) are handmade in Mexico and available in various colors: orange, navy, mint, pink, lavender, plum and more. While candles and marigolds are important for Dia de los Muertos (the flowers’ color and fragrance are said to lead spirits to their altars, while the candlelight welcomes them there), these pieces are just as appealing unlit and year-round—adding color to any room.

Equipale Chair

Working with everything from leather to wood, copper, iron, and stone, Mixma (based in Guadalajara) fabricates furniture and homeware with their focus firmly on premium materials and incredible craftsmanship. This stunning, rustic equipale chair ($275), made from cedar strips and natural leather, is a take on a style that predates the Spanish arriving in Mexico—in fact, according to Mixma, an Aztec shaman taught the “equipalera” technique to early settlers after learning it from the gods. Combining history and myth, this piece is beautifully made by hand.

Cocktail Courier’s Smoky Paloma

Assembled around a 750ml bottle of Volcán de mi Tierra Blanco Tequila, Cocktail Courier‘s  Smoky Paloma mixed drink kit ($100) comes with enough accoutrement (limes, grapefruit salt-sugar) to craft six tasty cocktails. The recipe, a variation on the classic, incorporates charred rosemary for delicious results. It’s also easy enough for anyone to assemble.

Mexican Style

Penned by author Susana M Vidal, Assouline’s 216-page hardcover book, Mexican Style ($85), defies expectation by exploring the aesthetics behind many cultural categories, including the nation’s landscapes and natural wonders. It’s a study of the colors behind the culture—from entries on chilies and chocolate to guitar music, cinema and crafts. Altogether, it’s inspiring for everyone to read through.

Taza Chocolate Oaxacan Sampler

Produced in Somerville, Massachusetts using direct trade, organic cacao and centuries-old stone grinding methods, Taza Chocolate’s delectable discs ($12) preserve traditional Oaxacan production methods, flavors and textures. The chocolate is a bit grittier than the smoothe chocolate you may typically enjoy and Taza actively uses native Mexican ingredients for additional flavors. From coffee and guajillo (the second most common pepper in Mexico) to cinnamon and vanilla, Taza carefully, and considerately, fuses beloved components to form something inherently unique. Our recommendation remains the brand’s Oaxacan Sampler, a four-disc set (for a total of eight individual circles) for sharing, pairing or when you’re feeling peckish.

Editors’ Selects stories shine a light upon a brand, store, marketplace, company or occasion and incorporate picks by various members of our editorial staff and contributor network.

Hero image by Leslie Parker