A brief history of: the 'Margarita'

Find out first how it came to be, before wasting away in it!

A brief history of: the 'Margarita'Servicios SanDiegoRed
Servicios SanDiegoRed

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Margaritas, and its main ingredient, tequila, have gone through several highs and lows in regards to its consumption popularity, above all tequila, that has always been a... misunderstood spirit in the world of cocktails, even to this day. The Margarita has been with us for more than half a century now, with countless variations of the original drink.

Tequila was made popular during the 40s after World War II had begun and whiskey was difficult to import from Europe, so the North American market set its eyes on Mexico in search of an alternative.

Imports of this other golden liquor from south of the border and into the United States rose significantly during the war but went down after it ended. It wasn't until two decades later that tequila captured the hearts (and livers) or young rock groups that its popularity shot up again.

The Margarita became a popular cocktail during the 60s thanks to rock bands like the Rolling Stones and the Eagles who sang about tequila. The Eagles and their hit single "Tequila Sunrise" are credited with beginning the Margarita craze among their fans and turning it into a collage campus favorite. Unfortunately, many of them never tasted the true beauty of a Margarita, making drinks that were no more than alcoholic shaved ice with some lemon in it.

After the Stones and the Eagles, came Jimmy Buffett, who wrote his career defining "Margaritaville" and Bobby Bare with "Pour Me Another Tequila, Sheila", while Shelly West composed "Jose Cuervo".

Promoting and singing about a drink is important, but more importantly is simply the public's acceptance of it. The Margarita continues to be one of America's, and the rest of the world's, favorite tequila based drinks.

OK. But where does it come from?

As with the Martini and even the Cosmopolitan, the origin of the Margarita is attributed to different people. The most popular version of its origin (and the most convenient for us here in Baja!) takes place in the '30s at "Rancho La Gloria", a restaurant near Rosarito, in Baja California, Mexico. The owner, Danny Herrera, created the drink specifically for a woman called Marjorie King, allergic to all other liquors with the exception of tequila. However, she refused to drink it straight, even with salt and lemon as was custom, so she found a way to create a unique cocktail with it.

Herrera's experiment consisted of mixing tequila, Cointreau (orange peel liquor) and lemon juice. He added shaved ice, rimmed the glass with lemon juice and salt, and voila. After Ms. King gave it her approval, he baptized it in her honor as "Margarita", the Spanish name for Marjorie.

Another version says that there was this famous socialite called Margarita Sames, who made the same mix for one of her parties. The hotel tycoon Conrad "Nicky" Hilton was one of the invitees at that party and tasted it, taking the drink to his hotel in Acapulco. Other stories say that the cocktail originated in 1936 at the Hotel Crespo in Puebla or at the "Tail O' The Cock" restaurant in Los Angeles, California, right after World War II.

Now, if what you want is to learn how to prepare a traditional Margarita, we can help you.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. of tequila
  • 1 oz. of Cointreau
  • 1 oz. of lemon juice
  • Ice
  • A lemon wedge
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

Instructions:

  • Pour the salt unto a small plate
  • With lemon juice, wet the glass's edge and then tip it unto the salted plate, so as to line the edge of the glass with salt.
  • Fill the glass with ice.
  • Inside a mixer, pour the tequila, lemon juice and Cointreau.
  • Shake well.
  • Pour the contents into the glass and add a wedge of lemon to it.
  • Enjoy.

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