The History of the Margarita, According to a Tequila Brand

By August 27, 2017 July 16th, 2019 Blog

Margarita History Bartender Serving a Margarita Cocktail

There’s so much information out there about the origins of our favorite spirits and cocktails, that it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Just try searching for “margarita history,” and you’ll find so many contradicting stories that you could get lost in the information.  While you could enroll in classes about booze, we felt it might be beneficial to bring margarita history straight to you.

The Origins of Margarita History

A traditional or classic margarita recipe calls for triple sec, fresh lime juice, on the rocks (over ice) or blended, in a glass rimmed with salt. There are so many variations of the traditional margarita cocktail that we couldn’t begin to list them all here. But when was the first margarita cocktail made and who’s brilliant idea was it? Let’s take a look at the most popular rumors about margarita history.

A Cure for an Alcohol Allergy

You should say “bless you” to Marjorie King, a Ziegfeld dancer, who was allergic to most alcohols. Luckily for us “most alcohols” didn’t include tequila. The sensitive Ms. King was also rather picky. In the late 1930s, she was a regular at Rancho La Gloria, a restaurant just outside of Tijuana, Mexico on her many trips to Ensenada, Mexico. The owner, Carlos “Danny” Herrera, used the essentials of the tequila shot ritual (tequila, lime, and salt) to make a delicious cocktail. The result was the margarita, a drink that satisfied his finicky (and allergic) customer.

Socialite turned Master Mixologist

Margaret “Margarita” Sames, a Dallas socialite, was entertaining a few friends at her home in Acapulco, Mexico circa the late 1940s. At the party were two notable guests, Nick Hilton (as in Hilton Hotels) and Joseph Drown (Hotel Bel-Air owner). Never one to turn down a good drinking challenge, Margarita’s friends challenged her to make a special cocktail for the party. Well, she rose to the occasion (and won), mixing Cointreau, tequila, and lime juice. She even went so far as to garnish the glass with a rim of coarse ground salt! Although this is a somewhat plausible theory as to margarita history, the dates don’t add up. Jose Cuervo was advertising margaritas as early as 1945, and this story starts in 1948, thus debunking this history of margarita.

Inspired by the Races

The legendary horse-racing venue, Agua Caliente in Tijuana, Mexico, is the venue for the next in the list of widespread rumors. It’s said that, in 1944, a bartender named Danny Negrete, created the tequila and lime libation for his sister, Margarita, on her wedding day. Or maybe he mixed it first for a not-yet-discovered starlet Margarita Cansino who grew up to be the bombshell, Rita Hayworth. Although it’s fun to think that Rita Hayworth inspired the margarita cocktail, this rumor is just that – a Hollywood-worthy story.

Margarita Cocktail History infographic

It Began with a Daisy

With so many plausible stories about margarita history, it’s easy to get lost as we did when researching the History of Punch drinks. The last in our theories is that the Margarita evolved from a pre-Prohibition drink called the Daisy. Through the evolution of taste, or a bartender grabbing the wrong bottle, tequila replaced rum, and the modern authentic Margarita emerged. To us, this seems the most reasonable and trustworthy explanation. However, since we weren’t actually there, it’s hard to say with certainty that the Daisy started it all. In the end, all that matters in margarita cocktail history is that it was invented. We can all certainly raise our Azuñia Organica* to that!

Celebrate all you’ve learned with one of these margarita cocktail recipes.

The Original Margarita in Margarita History

The Original Margarita

2 oz Azuñia Blanco Organic Tequila
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Triple Sec or Cointreau

Salt the rim by taking a lime wedge and coating the rim of a margarita glass.
Dip the glass in margarita salt, rotating until coated.
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a cup of ice.
Shake vigorously.
Pour into a chilled margarita glass with the ice from the shaker.
Garnish with a lime wheel.

Classic Margarita in Margarita History

The Classic Margarita

2 oz Azuñia Blanco Organic Tequila
1 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Lime for garnish
Margarita Salt for garnish

Salt the rim by taking a lime wedge and coating the rim of a margarita glass.
Dip the glass in margarita salt, rotating until coated.
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a cup of ice.
Shake vigorously.
Pour into a chilled margarita glass over fresh ice.
Garnish with a lime wheel.

Azunia Organica Skinny Organic Margarita

The Azuñia Organica Skinny Margarita
Similar to the Classic Margarita, the Azuñia Organic Skinny Margarita is a touch sweeter and 100% organic. 

1 1/2 oz Azuñia Blanco Organic Tequila
3/4 oz Azuñia Organic Agave Syrup
1 oz Fresh Organic Lime Juice
Splash of water
Sea Salt for Rim (optional)
Organic Lime Wheel for Garnish

Add the ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and shake.
Rub the wedge of an organic lime along the rim of chilled margarita or rocks glass. Coat the rim with salt.
Add fresh ice to the glass. Strain margarita into the glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.


The Margarita Cocktail Can Be Made Your Way

There are so many variations of margaritas that you can have it your way. Spice up your cocktail repertoire with a Jalapeño Margarita. Or go a little nutty with the tropical Coco Mango Margarita. Better yet, go back to basics with the Margarita Auténtica.  Or check out some really twisted versions of the margarita cocktail with the  Mexican Razor Blade, an El Vato Swizzle, or a Word to Your Cardamom.

Pick up a Bottle

You can find Azuñia tequilas at fine restaurants, bars, and retailers across the country.


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