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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

How to Make a Mexican Firing Squad, the Bright Tequila Cocktail That Brings a Little Bang


One of the original tequila cocktails is still one of the best


First, as mentioned, this is among the earliest tequila cocktails ever published in the English language. That title officially goes to the handful of tequila drinks (like the Toreador) in William J. Tarling’s Cafe Royal Cocktail Book in 1937, the same year Baker encountered the Mexican Firing Squad, though he wouldn’t publish it until 1939 (fun fact—the word “Margarita” wouldn’t get connected to the cocktail we all know until 1953). What’s more, La Cucaracha was a famous bar, and you can find their physical menu from the 1930s, and the Mexican Firing Squad isn’t on it. Was it an extemporaneous creation from a talented bartender, or a previous cocktail that was already phased out by 1937? It’s impossible to tell. Further, it’s not even clear what the cocktail’s name actually is. In the index of his book, it’s listed as the “Firing Squad Cocktail, with Tequila; Mexico,” which would be a better name, but in the text itself he calls it the Mexican Firing Squad, which is the name that stuck.


What we do know for sure is that the Mexican Firing Squad is one of the few classic tequila cocktails we have. It’s incredibly simple, just some pomegranate and baking spices accenting a basic sour-style mix, but it unfolds like a story in four acts, each ingredient playing its role perfectly: You meet the tequila first before the bright juiciness of the pomegranate takes over, which turns tart with lime and then finishes with the dry textured spice of the bitters. It’s elegant, simple, and delightful, a worthy bit of cocktail reporting by an adventurer who couldn’t help but share this deliciousness, and his enthusiasm for it, with the world.


Mexican Firing Squad

  • 2 oz. tequila

  • 0.75 oz. lime juice

  • 0.75 oz. grenadine

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters


Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake hard for six to eight seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with a lime wheel, or if you’re feeling festive and want to do it as Baker suggests, “garnish with a slice of orange, a slice of pineapple, and a red cherry.”





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