Spring Celebration Weekend
There is a lot to celebrate this weekend!
The calendar has aligned in a perfect way so Cinco de Mayo, graduation, Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day are all falling on the same weekend. That means there’s something for everyone who needs a reason to indulge in good food and drinks!
Cinco de Mayo happens to fall on Thursday, which is my favorite excuse for enjoying a long weekend. And while there is a great deal of confusion on what exactly that holiday celebrates, it is actually NOT Mexico’s Independence Day. This day is celebrated (mostly stateside) in honor of a single battle against the French where the Mexican underdogs triumphed.
The obvious choice for food and beverage would be tacos and margs. Simple to make, easy to customize and cheap for a crowd, if you’re entertaining for this holiday a taco and margarita bar with all the fixin’s is the way to go. I like to have at least 2-3 protein selections, making seasoned ground beef in the skillet, roasting a pork shoulder in the oven for carnitas, and letting the slow cooker do the work on some chicken while I prepare the rest of the meal. Standard toppings like lettuce, tomato, cheese, and onions are a must, but make sure to add something with flair, like avocado/guac, jalepenos and sour cream. Bowls of chips and a variety of salsas make the perfect aperitif for snacking, and a couple of sides like rice, beans and Mexican street corn are easy and delicious. For cocktails, make a big pitcher of basic margaritas for self service, then let people customize with flavored fruit syrups and fresh garnishes like lime, cucumber and jalepenos. And always keep a bottle of good reposado tequila on hand for anyone who prefers their spirits neat.
The first weekend of May is also always reserved for college grads. If you’re hosting for one of our future’s best and brightest, I love the idea of a barbecue. The weather this time of year is perfect for outdoor entertaining, so fire up the grill for burgers and dogs with your favorite sides, fill a large cooler with icy cold beers and seltzers and relax. You can fancy the atmosphere up a bit with a custom cake from a local bakery and make that the centerpiece of the soiree. And if you have a fire pit, set up a s’mores bar for toasting when the sun sets.
Saturday May 7th is also the annual Kentucky Derby. This horse race has been run without interruption each year since 1875. If you can’t make it up to attend in person, do the next best thing and throw a party at home. Ladies don your biggest hat, gentlemen break out your seersucker suits and decorate everything in roses! A beautiful rose centerpiece will make a great place to gather and sip mint juleps between races. The perfect mint julep is cool and refreshing and MUST be served on crushed ice. In a glass, muddle a few fresh mint leaves and 1-2oz of simple syrup, then over-fill glass with crushed ice. Add 2oz of good quality bourbon and a small splash of cold water to open the flavor of the bourbon a bit. Give a quick stir, garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and enjoy!
Finally, the big finale for a long spring weekend of fun is Mother’s Day. This annual holiday is falling a bit early this year, with the second Sunday of the month landing on May 8th. I love the idea of a Mother’s Day brunch. Of course you can always take the easy route and make reservations at a fancy restaurant, but if you really wanna knock Mom’s socks off, prepare a meal for her. An assortment of quiches, pancakes, fresh fruit, and breakfast meats like sausage and bacon are perfect, and you can include light finger sandwiches and chips as well. A lovely mimosa bar with plenty of bottles of crisp bubbles and a selection of fresh pressed juices are the ultimate compliment to your meal. I love to offer the standard orange juice, but mix it up with pineapple, cranberry, grapefruit, and even watermelon and cantaloupe juice. I have a juicer at home and it’s so easy and delicious to make your favorite fresh squeezed fruit juices at home that taste infinitely better than the pasteurized crap from the supermarket.
No matter what, where or who you’re honoring this weekend, party responsibly. Pre-order ubers, drink plenty of water and try not to over-indulge. This weekend is just the beginning to a great summer, and what a kickoff it is with plenty to celebrate! Cheers!