​Día de Muertos Cocktails

​Día de Muertos Cocktails

Posted by Jesse Estes, Tequila & Mezcal Curator on 29 Oct 2021

Día de Muertos (Days of the Dead in English) is a traditional Mexican holiday during which people’s lost loved ones are honoured. Taking place November 1 st and 2nd, Mexicans who observe the Days of the Dead believe that their deceased loved ones return to Earth during celebrations. 

According to tradition, the gates of heaven open at midnight on November 1st to allow the spirits of children to reunite with their family for 24 hours, and for adults of November 2nd. 

Days of the Dead often involve building altars full of ofrendas (offerings) decorated with fruit, marigolds, candles, sugar skulls and papel picado. Processions also take place, often in cemeteries.

To celebrate, I’ve compiled a short selection of 3 tequila cocktails for you to try for Days of the Dead (or indeed any time of year!). If you like the sound of them and are seeking further inspiration to go with your Tequila delivery from Kiosk, you can find many more tequila- and mezcal-based drinks recipes in my book, Tequila Beyond Sunrise.

El Diablo

This devilishly-delicious classic tequila cocktail was first featured in Trader Vic’s Book of Food & Drink under the name ‘Mexican El Diablo’ (literally translates to the ‘Mexican Devil’). I have adapted the original recipe to include fresh ginger juice to give it more of a kick.

50 ml Tequila Ocho Blanco

25 ml fresh lime juice

10 ml fresh ginger juice

20 ml simple syrup

10 ml  Crème de cassis

Top up with Fever Tree Ginger Ale and garnish with a lime wedge

Add all ingredients except ginger ale to a shaker with cubed ice and shake hard. Strain into highball glass over cubed ice, top up with ginger ale and garnish with a lime wedge.

The Rosita

The Rosita is a Negroni with tequila in the place of gin. I find that using raicilla, another agave spirit from the state of Jalisco, adds creamy, lactic, and vegetal notes this cocktail. It is surprising refreshing for such a complex tipple. Don't worry if you can't get hold of any though, thee full spectrum of Agave spirits work well in this drink. 

25ml La Venenosa Sur Raicilla (or any other agave spirit)

25ml  Sweet vermouth

25ml  Campari

Stir all ingredients over cubed ice in rocks glass, garnish with a grapefruit zest.

The Matador

The Matador is a somewhat-forgotten classic tequila cocktail that I’ve twisted slightly with the addition of Green Chartreuse. The herbaceous notes of the Chartreuse serve to complement the vegetal notes of the tequila and the sweetness of the pineapple.

50ml  Tequila Reposado

25ml Lime juice

30ml Pineapple juice

7.5ml  Green Chartreuse

5ml Agave nectar

Shake all ingredients, strain into Mexican ‘cantarito’ or highball glass. Garnish with dehydrated pineapple slice and, if you have it, a dehydrated lime wheel.

Classic Sangrita

If you enjoy your tequila best neat (as I do) you may want to try a sangrita. In Mexico, tequila is traditionally served alongside Sangrita (which literally translates to little blood) and one alternates sipping between the two.

While the original recipes likely did not call for tomato juice, the drink has now evolved to include tomato – or Clamato – juice.

200ml Tomato Juice

200ml Fresh orange juice

200ml Fresh pomegranate juice

100ml Lime juice

2 teaspoons Maldon salt

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

50ml Cholula hot sauce (or adjust to taste)

Add all ingredients to a pitcher and stir until consistent. Store in fridge for up to 5 days.

If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, the Verdita is another fresh, delectable twist on the classic sangrita that works especially well paired with Blanco tequilas.


This twist on the Sangrita was likely first introduced to the UK by Dre Masso & Henry Besant at their East London tequila bar Green & Red. It is a very fresh and bright take on the Sangrita.

One handful of cilantro

1/2 handful of mint

3 green jalapeños (scale back accordingly if you want less spice)

500 ml Pineapple juice

Large pinch of salt

Blend all ingredients together, fine strain and store in fridge for up to 5 days.

Having worked in cocktail bars for nearly a decade, I firmly believe that anything whiskey, rum or gin can do, tequila can do better! If you love other classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Piña Colada, or a French 75, why not try experimenting with replacing the base spirit of your favourite cocktail with tequila? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

However you choose to drink tequila for Days of the Dead, whether mixed or neat, please remember to do so responsibly. ¡Salud!