Lonely Planet Writer

Enjoy Cinco de Mayo on a tequila train ride in California

The Napa Valley Wine Train is getting the perfect makeover for Cinco de Mayo as it transforms into a tequila train to mark the occasion.

Sample Tequila Casa Dragones on board a train. Image by Tequila Casa Dragones

In the US, the holiday celebrates Mexican culture, and one perfect way to celebrate will be sipping on fine tequilas while on the three-hour train journey. The ride will include a tasting and drinks from Tequila Casa Dragones, a four-course gourmet dinner and live music. Previously named as one of Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things, Tequila Casa Dragones is a small-batch, luxury tequila maker based in Jalisco, Mexico. It’s famed as a sipping drink – instead of your lemon-wedge-and-salt shooter – and is made with no more than 500 cases per batch.

Spend Cinco de Mayo sipping tequila on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Image by Napa Valley Wine Train

The special train journey will begin with at around 5:30 pm, when guests will hop on board with a welcome cocktail and an appetizer of white corn tortillas with guacamole and salsa. From there, guests will eat dishes like shrimp ceviche and tortilla soup and they learn about pairing tequila with food. After that, they will try a spice-rubbed flat iron steak and orange mojo-spike chicken, with Mayan rice, queso fresco, and chimichurri. To top it off, the guests will enjoy tres leches, a classic Mexican cake that is soaked in three milks, paired with the Casa Dragones Joven 100% Pure Agave Azul tequila. The experience starts at $295 (€246) per person and  the Tequila Train will run for two more special events, celebrating the Day of the Dead in October and National Tequila Day in July.

Drink tequila on board the Napa Valley Wine Train. Image by Napa Valley Wine Train

If you want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo south of the border, sampling some tequila along the way, there’s some basics you need to know. While most people are familiar with tequila, the drink is actually a type of mezcal made with blue agave that is produce in Jalisco. But, there’s plenty more to Mexico’s most famous drinks. Find out all about sampling tequila, mescal and pulque, or read all about 10 of the best places to get mezcal in Oaxaca.