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Forget what your girlfriend says: size truly does matter.

That's especially true when it comes to margaritas.

We learned this vital lesson when Weekender taste testers decided to get our "drink-o" on in the days prior to Friday's Cinco de Mayo. 

You see, runners train extra hard in order to compete for a marathon. Taste testers follow a similar (if more liquified) regimen prior to a drinking holiday.

And what better place to begin this tale of debauchery than at Mi Familia Mexican Restaurant (601 Dakota Ave., South Sioux City), the home of the 60-ounce, fish bowl-sized margarita?

General manager Jose Gonzalez takes an extra step in the creation of these fruity Mexican cocktails. He introduces an upside-down bottle of Corona in an effort to increase the decadence quota.

Hmm, a top-drawer tequila plus an orange-flavored triple sec like Cointreau plus a Mexican beer? What could go wrong there?

Well, our Weekender crew reasoned plenty could go wrong from drinking from a glass designed to hold three-and-three-quarter pounds worth of alcohol.

This is why we ended up doing something more sensible. Our taste testers went with Mi Familia's more modest 20-ounce margarita.

But before we get to that, let's learn a bit of Cinco de Mayo history.

A celebration of a two-hour war

On May 5, 1862, the French army landed in Mexico to collect outstanding debts from Benito Juarez, the country's newly elected president.

Approximately 4,000 Mexican soldiers told 8,000 French soldiers "No mas!" by beating the pomme frites out of the Frenchies at the Battle of Puebla -- a fight that took around two hours to complete.

If people ask you why you're downing a half-price tequila shot this Friday, you tell 'em it's due to a two-hour war!

But keep in mind that most Mexicans don't celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It's strictly an American-made celebration in major cities like Los Angeles.

Hell, Cinco de Mayo celebrations have occurred as far away as Australia and Japan.

Wait, isn't Cinco de Mayo the south-of-the-border equivalent of the United States' Fourth of July? Nope, Mexico's Independence Day is actually Sept. 16.

Now, let's get back to drinking the unofficial beverage of Cinco de Mayo: the margarita.

A salt-rimmed status report

Mi Familia's 20-ounce margarita went down very easily, especially smooth for such a high-octane beverage.

Either blended or on the rocks, this specialty cocktail was sweet without being cloying and citrus-y without mimicking a freakin' fruit salad.

And what about the seven-ounce bottle of Mexican Corona that accompanied every 20-ouncer? This was simply brilliant. The sour beer contrasted well with the sweet drink and the salty rim of the glass.

From the authentic item to a 'new' Mexican variation

High-tailing it over Siouxland Veterans Memorial Bridge back to Sioux City, taste testers made their way to Rebos, a popular 1107 Fourth St., eatery specializing in New Mexican fare.

But Rebos is more than just a place where you can get menu items with campy names like the Tijuana Trainwreck or a Southwest Beef Stroganoff. The Historic Fourth Street bistro also has a very respectable drink menu.

We ordered their regular margarita that certainly wasn't comparable to Mi Familia's in either size or creativity.

Instead, Rebos' take on the Cinco de Mayo was refreshing and respectable. Our strawberry-flavored margarita was delicious and really hit our sweet spot.

Is Cinco de Mayo authentically Mexican? No, not by a long shot.

Is it a fun time to drink a few margaritas and eat some spicy Mexi-fare? Absolutely.

Whether it's served inside a cocktail glass or inside a fishbowl, have a margarita while tipping your hat to President Benito Juarez.

After all, Cinco de Mayo sounds a lot more romantic than boring ol' May 5th.


Food and Lifestyles reporter

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