A UNESCO-recognized celebration as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a multi-day transformative experience for the Mexican people honoring ancestry and remembering loved ones. Día de Muertos is not only about paying respect to those who have passed on, but rather, keeping their souls and their memories alive through tradition.
Each November, Mexican families celebrate the date with an ofrenda, or an altar, that features food, photos, possessions, decorative skulls, marigold flowers, candles, incense, and more to welcome the souls of those that have passed on. A commonality with many of the altars are a pitcher of water (water), paper banners (wind), food (earth) and candles (fire) reflecting the four essential elements.
In Mexico City, the full-of-life Día de Muertos celebration transcends regional borders across the country’s 32 states, spans generations and fuses indigenous customs with new music, art and facets of today’s contemporary CDMX culture. It includes the annual Mexico City parade featuring Catrinas. La Catrina became highly-popularized by Diego Rivera, husband of Frida Kahlo, in his famous mural, “Dreams of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park” resulting in the strength of Catrina as part of Mexican culture.
From the Caribbean Coast of Mexico to Mexico City to the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Hilton properties are commemorating Día de Muertos with festive events, cocktails, traditional dishes such as Pan de Muertos, and much more.
Hilton Mexico City Reforma
Celebrate Día de Muertos, the traditional Mexican holiday where families gather to welcome back the souls of their lost loved ones at Hilton Mexico City Reforma. Now through Nov. 30, sample the unique Día de Muertos Spa Experience, which utilizes pre-Hispanic ancient techniques passed on through lineage of time and generations. On Nov. 1, visit the colorful cempasuchil flower-adorned Día de Muertos altar, erected to hold photos of the departed and their favorite food and drinks to welcome souls back. Guests are invited to add the names of their loved ones in this beautiful remembrance. Guests can also make the hotel’s traditional Pan de Muertos recipe from Chef Victor Terán below.
- 18 oz Flour
- 5 ½ oz sugar
- 3 ¼ oz butter to make the dough
- 2 oz butter to coat the loaves
- 2 eggs
- 3 to 4 oz milk
- 2 Oranges (to grate the peel)
- ⅓ oz orange blossom water (agua de azahar)
- ½ oz dry yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- Activating the Yeast:
- Gently warm the milk. Don't let it get too hot or it will kill the yeast.
- In a small bowl, add 4 tbsp. flour, 2 tbsp. sugar, and the dry yeast. Add 1 to 2 ozs. of warm milk. This is just enough to make a thin, homogeneous paste.
- Stir until the milk is fully incorporated. Let the starter ferment for 10 to 15 minutes. The warmer the room temperature, the faster it ferments.
- Mixing the Dough:
- Grate the orange peel.
- On your work table, pour out the flour and make an indentation in the middle. In the indentation, add the butter, half the sugar, and the grated orange peel. Sprinkle the salt around the outside ring of flour.
- Firmly mix the eggs into the flour. Add the orange blossom water (agua de azahar). And a splash of milk if needed. Form a rough ball with the dough.
- Push the dough down and make an indentation in the center. Add the fermented yeast to the center of the dough. Use your hands to mix the yeast into the dough.
- Push down your dough again and add the remaining sugar. Mix firmly with your hands to fully incorporate the sugar. Add a splash of milk if the mixture is too dry.
- Kneading the Dough:
- Once you have fully mixed the dough by hand, add it to the bowl in your stand mixer with the bread hook attachment and knead for 5 minutes on medium-high speed. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then knead on medium-high speed for another 5 minutes. Add a bit of milk if the dough gets too dry.
- Place the kneaded dough on your work surface. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball. Keep working the dough until you get a perfect ball of dough.
- Proofing the Dough:
- Add 1 tbsp. of oil to a large mixing bowl. Coat the bottom and sides of the bowl with the oil. Add the ball of dough to your mixing bowl. Press the dough down and coat with a bit more oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel.
- Place the bowl in the warmest part of your kitchen and allow the dough to rise until it doubles its original size.
- Shaping the Loaves:
- On your work table, gently press down the dough. Stretch the dough into a thin piece about 15" long.
- Form nine, 3-ounce balls of dough. Use a kitchen scale to weigh each piece.
- After you have nine balls, sprinkle the remaining dough with flour. Knead the dough gently to incorporate the flour.
- Using your pastry cutter, cut 18 small, ½-ounce pieces of dough and seven ¼-ounce pieces. These will be used to form the "bones" and "skulls."
- Roll the ½-ounce pieces into strips about 5" long. Leave the indentations from your fingers. This makes the dough look like bones. Then form the ¼-ounce pieces into little balls.
- Top each loaf with two strips in a cross shape. Then, in the center of each loaf, top with one of the small balls of dough.
- Baking the Loaves:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees when you put the loaves in the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the loaves are golden brown.
- As soon as the loaves are cool to the touch, brush the melted butter on top of each one, then sprinkle with sugar.
Hilton Cancun, an All-Inclusive Resort
For commemorating Day of the Dead, Hilton Cancun, An All-Inclusive Resort’s Bar Supervisor Doriluz Herández recommends getting spooky with this Drink of the Dead that celebrates fall’s full spectrum of flavors.
- 2 oz. Pox (corn liquor)
- 1 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1 oz. Grand Marnier
- 2 oz. Apple Juice
- 1 oz. Cranberry Juice
- 4 oz. Red Fruits Jam
- Dash tortilla salt
- 1 Slice, Dehydrated Pineapple
- 1 Piece, Rosemary
- Add the Pox, lemon, Grand Marnier, apple juice, cranberry juice and red fruits jam to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until well-chilled.
- Salt the rim of a glass with the tortilla salt.
- Percolate the liquid twice and pour it in the glass.
- Garnish with pineapple and rosemary.
Hilton Mexico City Santa Fe
Guests visiting Hilton Mexico City Santa Fe can indulge in a cocktail with a name nodding back to the underworld in Aztec mythology. The sweet, citrus-based cocktail is infused with pumpkin spice syrup for an autumn touch.
- 2 oz. Appleton State Jamaica Rum
- 1 oz. Amaro Averna
- 1 oz. Pumpkin Spice Syrup
- ½ oz. Mandarin Orange Oil/Cempasuchil
- 1 ½ oz. Carrot Juice
- 1 oz. Eureka Lemon Juice
- Tangerine twist for garnish
- Marigold flower for garnish
- Previously refrigerate the glass of your preference.
- Add all the elements to a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for approximately 15 seconds.
- Add ice to the glass.
- Strain into glass with simple strainer and garnish with a tangerine twist to perfume the drink and a marigold flower.
Hilton Los Cabos
Perfect for the whole family, visitors to the Baja California peninsula can commemorate Día de Muertos with an array of activities. On Nov. 2, Hilton Los Cabos will celebrate ancestors with a special celebration on the hotel’s Black Marlin Terrace. Guests of all ages can enjoy Catrino and Catrina face painting, live music featuring a local mariachi trio and traditional dishes from Executive Chef Mauricio Lopez and team including the famed Caramel Pan de Muertos, recipe below.
On Nov. 2, guests can experience a taste of Mexico with a special Baja-inspired Día de Muertos dinner in Dallas, Texas at Roots Southern Table in partnership with Chef Tiffany Derry, Chef and Co-Founder, T2D Concepts and Hilton Los Cabos’ Executive Chef Mauricio Lopez and Assistant Director of Food and Beverage and Tequila Master Ana Martinez. This dinner is part of an ongoing series of guest chef experiences hosted at Roots Southern Table, which are designed to celebrate different cultures and cuisines, and inspire meaningful conversations around the table to drive social good. Chefs Derry and Lopez will prepare a five-course Baja-inspired menu with modern takes on Mexican classics, served alongside elegant tequila parings selected by Martinez. The evening will also feature live entertainment and red-carpet photo opportunities for guests. Tickets are available here.
- 1.000 kg Flour
- 0.075 kg Refined sugar
- 0.010 kg Kosher Salt
- 0.030 kg Dry Yeast
- 0.007 kg Cinnamon powder
- 0.010 kg Orange zest
- 0.350 kg Whole milk
- 0.300 kg Egg
- 0.300 kg Butter
- Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Beat in warm milk mixture, then add eggs and orange zest; beat until well combined.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
- Punch dough down and shape into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet; loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until just about doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes.
- Cool slightly before brushing with butter.
- Cover with sugar.
- Cut in the middle and add the pastry cream (pastry cream instructions below).
For the Caramel Pastry Cream:
· 100 gr Sugar
· 350 gr Whole Milk
· 150 gr Whipping Cream
· 40 gr Corn Starch
· 15 gr Flour AP
· 120 gr Egg Yolks
· 100 gr Sugar
· 25 gr Butter
· 30 ml Rum
1. In a saucepan, cook the sugar until you get a golden caramel. Add a part of milk and whipping cream, and bring it to a simmer.
2. Whisk egg yolks, the other half of the milk, cornstarch, flour, and sugar in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture. Return custard to saucepan and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs do not curdle or scorch on the bottom.
3. When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove it from the heat. Mix in the butter and rum until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heatproof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent skin from forming.
4. Refrigerate until chilled before using.
Conrad Punta de Mita
Travelers visiting Riviera Nayarit’s lush landscape for Día de Muertos can indulge in a lively celebration at the area’s newest luxury resort, Conrad Punta de Mita. Guests can partake in the celebrations with local traditions including face painting, music, colorful costumes, traditional cuisine and a parade of Las Catrinas. From the moment guests step foot in the resort, they will be welcomed with the resort’s ofrenda. The installation features displays of vibrant marigolds, hand-made Eye of God decorations, candle lanterns and traditional Día de Muertos skulls.
Additionally, available year-round, for couples looking to exchange vows, Conrad Punta de Mita’s wedding capabilities encompass traditional Mexican ceremonies including “Callejoneada,” a parade from the ceremony to the reception. The tradition includes a joyful serenata with mariachis, the couple and their wedding party and their guests. During the parade, guests enjoy tequila from handmade ceramic cups adorned with colorful ribbons from a tequila cart as they follow a burro to the start of the reception to continue the celebrations. The parade often also features stunning, larger-than-life Catrinas to honor the occasion. Guests can learn more about the resort’s variety of culture ceremonies by visiting Conrad Punta de Mita’s website.