Are you thirsty for margarita cocktail history like we are? There are a couple of options. You could go back to college and take classes about booze. If “History of a Margarita 101” ended with a margarita, we would have gotten straight A’s. But going back to school seems time consuming, and we know you have obligations these days. Instead of going back to school, how about we bring margarita cocktail history school back to you?
Lesson One: Margarita Cocktail History
But first, what is a margarita, besides delicious? A classic margarita is a tequila cocktail made with 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 drink that we couldn’t begin to list them all here. Because we like to shake things up, we’re going to give you the test and study guide at the same time. Feel free to copy your neighbor’s notes.
Question: The factual margarita cocktail history indicates the drink origins as:
A. 1938 – A cure for allergies and finicky tastes
B. 1948 – A brainchild of vacationing socialites and friends
C. 1940s – A tribute to horse races and Rita Hayworth
D. 1930s – Morphed from “Daisies”
E. None (or All) of the above
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. Ms. King, besides being sensitive to many spirits, was particular about her likes and dislikes. 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.
It could be “A”.
B. Socialite turned Master Mixologist
Margaret “Margarita” Sames, a Dallas socialite, was entertaining a few friends at her home in Acapulco, Mexico. 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!
It’s probably not “B”. Our apologies, Ms. Sames. Jose Cuervo was advertising margaritas as early as 1945, and your story starts in 1948, thus debunking this history of margarita.
C. And Away They Go!
The storied horse-racing venue, Agua Caliente in Tijuana, Mexico, is the starting gate of the next possible answer to this test. 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.
Chances are, the answer isn’t “C”.
D. Is for Daisy
Writing the test and answer key for the Margarita History test has proven to be just as difficult as researching the History of Punch. So many bartenders taking credit and so little fact to back up any of it. The second-to-last answer is that the Margarita evolved from a pre-Prohibition drink called the Daisy. Through evolution of taste, or a bartender grabbing the wrong bottle, tequila replaced rum and the modern authentic Margarita emerged.
“D” is definitely plausible.
E. Margarita History Began with None or All of the Above
It’s been awhile since we’ve had to actually sit down and take a test. It seems to us that our dads had a rule of thumb for multiple choice questions: always go with “none” or “all” of the above. It has about a 52% probability of being the right answer, and 52% is good enough for us.
“E” is the answer, because it is really whatever YOU believe the origin to be. 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!
We grade on the curve, and frankly, if you read all the way through the post and learned a little something, we consider that an “A+”. Give yourself a gold star for the day and make sure to reward yourself for your effort. We think an Apple Cider Margarita would be the perfect prize for a job well done. While you’re at it, mix one up for your teacher. Being teacher’s pet isn’t such a bad thing, really!
If an Apple Cider Margarita doesn’t sound appealing to you, we’ve got a whole bushel of other recipes to try. 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. You might want to study ahead of the tequila curve? Check out the future of margaritas and mix up a Mexican Razor Blade, an El Vato Swizzle, or a Word to Your Cardamom.
We promise, no pop quizzes!