The Mexican Tequila Bandera – A Patriot’s Drink on Independence Day

No, actually, ‘Cinco de Mayo’ (May 5th) is not Mexican Independence Day, the celebration begins at 11pm on each and every September 15th. The reenactment of the cry (or scream) for independence, “El Grito,” takes places in most every Mexican village, town, and city.

the flag or bandera de Mexico

It’s a fiesta too. The Mexicans are patriotic. Actually, in all my travels, they are some of the most patriotic people I’ve met. What other country drinks their flag.  Yes, it’s called a bandera (the flag)

You’ll notice the Mexican flag is green, white, and red (left to right). And it’s by the colors you line up a bandera. The green representing the independence movement becomes the  limes, the white representing the purity of the catholic faith becomes the tequila and the red representing the blood of the national heroes becomes the Sangrita.

Limes for the Green

Most people believe the salt is first and then the lime is post tequila. Not so. Actually, in my experience, a dish of fresh (properly) cut limes comes with the tequila.  People salt the limes, taste the lime and then taste the tequila. Yes, the lime comes first.

properly cut limes

Tequila for the White

In Mexico, most drink a respectful tequila. It’s a bit different from the college fraternity parties that caused many to give up on the blue agave spirit. It’s the taste of tequila true connoisseurs crave.

Sure many ways exist to enjoy tequila and I love the Tequila Triple Play, but for the bandera, the tequila you purchase is sipped and since the flag is white, traditionalist might prefer the blanco or a silver tequila.  But, I find there is a forgiveness when ordering a golden tequila such as a repasado or an anejo. It’s OK.

Again, since it is for sipping, it is expected (and not unpatriotic) to do multiple “banderas” with one serving size of tequila. However, at times people shoot the entire tequila and scream “Viva Mexico!” Yes, that’s been done a few times.

The Tequila

Sangrita for the Red

Sangrita, no it’s not sangria the wine drink, it has a “T.” In fact if I had to compare it to anything I would say it’s similar to a good Bloody Mary. And when you find a good recipe you keep it. Some places guard it like the Coca Cola secret formula.

Also, just like a Bloody, if it’s the commercialized ‘mix’ and not homemade, it’s probably not worth it. So if it’s not “sangrita de la casa” don’t even bother. In those cases, stick to tequila and limes and wave the flag another day.

Homemade Sangrita... delicious.

Then once you have all three, it’s simple. First, take a lime (salt if  desired) and suck on it, then second sip your tequila (or shoot it down if desired) and then third, chase it with a sip of the sangrita. Delicious. And then yell “Viva Mexico” because you just enjoyed the green, white, and red of the Mexican Bandera. Plus, it’s patriotic.

Do many Mexican’s drink Banderas of Tequila?

Maybe it’s not ordered as such, or even taken with the ‘al gusto’ of patriotism each and every time, but you’ll see it. It’s intrinsic. It’s just the way they drink tequila in Mexico City.

the Bandera.... Viva Mexico!

And after calling Mexico City home for some time my tequila episodes now start with limes, then tequila, and then a sangrita.  It usually continues with a second order, then another, and then …. Viva Mexico!

Happy Independence Day to our friends in Mexico.

Stay adventurous, Craig


So whether you use your Riedel Tequila Flutes or just a simple shot glass, definitely enjoy a bandera or two this Mexican Independence Day.  Plus, to learn more about Mexico Independence traditions and stories read some posts from my fellow Mexico Ambassador posts below. Viva Mexico!

This  post is part of the Mexico Today program. I am being compensated for my work in creating content as a Contributor for the México Today Program.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared in my blog are completely my own. Viva Mexico!

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  • Laura in Cancun

    Oh my gosh, that looks amazing! Would you believe I’ve never heard of it until today? I’m a huge tequila fan, so I’ll have to give this a try if I can find sangrita tonight!

  • Tom Johnston

    Great post on tequila, it’s remarkable how many misconceptions there are about the noble drink outside Mexico. I’m off to order a “bandera” at lunch (in honor of Mexican independence, of course).

  • Maura at The Other Side of The Tortilla

    Great post, Craig! My burning question: do you have a good sangrita recipe? I completely agree with you that if it’s not sangrita de la casa, I don’t want it! I’m always interested to know how others make theirs.

  • Craig Zabransky

    @Laura, you must rectify this error…good luck and make sure it’s “sangrita de la casa”

    @Tom, you are so correct sir, tequila is quite the noble drink. Hope you enjoyed your “patriotic” lunch.

    Thanks @Maura, I do have a recipe I used as my base, but I made some changes… don’t we all. I’ll be happy to share it with you.

    stay adventurous, Craig

  • The Chairman

    Post that Sangrita Recipe! When i was in Guadalajara with my buddy (a native), he said the people of the city gather around the square on independance day and wait for the mayor to come out for a huge “Viva Mexico!” and apparently firing guns into the air. Sounds awesome. I need to experience that, just to make sure it actually happens.

  • Maryann

    Love Tequila drinks. Never heard of this one.
    Also, I enjoy your articles about Mexico. They really make me want to vacation there again. Although I have been there many times, there is still so much more to experience.

  • Ana L. Flores

    I miss sangrita because the home made is almost impossible to find if it’s not an authentic Mexican restaurant.
    Glad you made it clear that the bottle version is no good.


  • Craig Zabransky

    @The Chairman it happens… and I’ll post my recipe soon, still perfecting it. It takes practice you know :-)

    @Maryann, there is much to love with Tequila, definitely check out the triple play – it’s why I love it And glad you appreciate Mexico too, head back, there is so much to see, discover and enjoy. Viva!

    @Ana, it is not only no good, but awful. It’s may even be worse then using sour mix in a margarita instead of fresh lime juice… it’s that bad. Yes, ‘de la casa’ all the way.

    stay adventurous, Craig

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