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Chicago celebrates Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo - and limeless cocktails

I love the Kentucky Derby. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been sitting in front of the television on that special day, utterly mesmerized by the beauty of those gorgeous thoroughbred horses – poetry in motion. Plus for the past several years I’m always invited to one of the coolest Derby parties in town to drink mint juleps and wear big hats (which I also love to do). So herewith is my Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo listing of a few places to get drink and food specials this weekend.

Celebrate the Kentucky Derby with Chicago q drinks, contests and betting
Chicago q

Oh, and perhaps, like me, you didn’t realize there was a lime shortage this year. Oh, Dios mio! Once you’ve checked out the specials listing, you’ll find a couple of recipes below that. They’ll have you drinking just-as-delicious tequila alternative concoctions. You might even share them with your favorite bartender if s/he says she’s out of limes.

Chicago q, 1160 N. Dearborn St. Saturday May 3, 2pm to 6pm view the races in the main dining room or outside on the heated patio. $42 gets a Southern-style, all-you-can-eat buffet and a drink. Contests for best Derby Hat, Best Dressed Gentlemen and more. Bet on derby horses. A portion of ticket sales and all sales of Chicago q’s special “The Derby” drink's proceeds will be donated to Ronald McDonald House®.

Epic, 112 W Hubbard St. Monday, May 5th, enjoy specials in the restaurant, lounge and rooftop. $35 pitchers of margaritas (Cranberry, Mango, Passionfruit or Original Lime). Taco specials include Fish Tacos with celery slaw, lime crema soft corn tortilla (3 for $10), Steak Tacos with chipotle slasa, onion, cilantro, queso fresco, and Pork Belly Pastor taco with fresh pineapple, cilantro and onion.

Mezcalina, 333 East Benton Place, Suite 100. May 2 and May 5 - Get a free taco on Friday and Monday for doing a social post on a Mezcalina page. DJ music on Friday from 11:30-1pm and 4:30-6pm. Monday the 5th, live Spanish guitar music 5-7pm. $5 Cinco specials all weekend include: 3 tacos, guacamole, Torta sandwich, shrimp ceviche or any margarita.

Porkchop, 941 W Randolph St. and 1516 E. Harper Ct. $7 to $9 for blackened fish tacos, pulled pork tacos. Hyde Park opens 7am and offers chilaquiles with smoked chicken, grilled corn, black beans, and scrambled eggs. Try a margarita or whiskey on the rocks.

Polish and Pour Old Town, 1244 N. Wells St. Saturday May 3, Chicago spa bar offers $6 Moscow Mules, $6 Bulleit bourbon, and a $7 Strawberry Mint Julep. Monday May 5 sample $6 margaritas on the rocks.

Revolucion Mexican Steakhouse, 3443 N. Broadway. Friday, May 2- Monday, May 5, 2014 Open late! Friday and Saturday 6:30-8:30pm, Milagro Tequila is giving away complimentary drink samples. Enjoy brunch on the patio on Saturday & Sunday with $3 mimosas & bloody Marys. $3 Pacifico on Monday.

El Mariachi Tequila Bar, 3906 N. Broadway. Friday, May 2, 6pm-8pm Cointreau will give away complimentary drink samples. Then Saturday and Sunday 10am-2pm enjoy the $21 Bottomless Mimosa Brunch on the private patio, and on Sunday the $18 Rio Grande Margarita (60oz Margarita)!

Tacos Tequilas, 2919 N. Milwaukee, patio opening. All-you-can-eat tacos - barbacoa, cochinita pibil, nopales, and papa y epazote – for $15. Live Latin DJ on May 5th. Special Cinco de Mayo drinks if Tacos Tequilas' liquor license is officially approved by then

WeatherMark Tavern, 1503 S. Michigan. $7 Mint Juleps on Derby Day. Cinco de Mayo $4 Coronas, $5 Cuervo Tequila shots, $7 Cuervo margaritas.

Limeless alternatives to margaritas
Compliments of Familia Camarena Tequila

Copa de Arandas

2 oz Camarena Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Italian Amaro
3 oz Ginger Ale
Mint for Garnish

Combine tequila, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, lemon juice and Italian amaro in a highball glass. Mix well. Fill glass to brim with ice. Top with ginger ale and stir gently with a bar spoon. Garnish with mint.+++


2 oz Camarena Silver Tequila
1 tsp Agave Nectar
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
4 oz Grapefruit Soda

Combine tequila, agave nectar and lime juice in a highball glass. Mix well. Fill glass to brim with ice. Top with grapefruit soda and stir gently with a bar spoon. Garnish with a lime wheel.+++

San Francisco Smash (from Mixologist Duggan McDonnell, Cantina)
2 oz Familia Camarena Silver Tequila
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/3 Cucumber, Peeled & Diced
1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
2 dashes Orange Bitters
1 oz of Soda Water
Lemon Wheels and Mint Sprig for Garnish


Muddle cucumber thoroughly in shaker tin. Add Camarena Tequila, lemon juice, agave nectar and orange bitters. Add ice and shake thoroughly. Strain into a tall, ice-filled glass, and top with soda water. Garnish with lemon wheels and a mint sprig.

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