“Margarita: it’s more than a girl’s name.” According to The Complete Book of Spirits, a man named Vern Under advertised Jose Cuervo with that catch phrase in 1945. Why is that significant? Well, there are at least three or four established stories that claim the invention of the margarita, and the date of that quote questions one of the most popular.
In 1948, Margarita Sames was experimenting with tequila during a vacation in Acapulco. It’s probably safe to say she didn’t have Google or Twitter to know about the Jose Cuervo ad. She was just having fun when she stumbled into a recipe that everyone in her group enjoyed. Being a popular person with many connections, she was able to spread the word about this new cocktail quickly, even without Facebook. Now Margarita being her name and the name of the cocktail is highly coincidental, I know, but I guess it is possible she could have independently invented the drink. She is at least responsible for helping to spread its fame.
Another contending inventor, Bartender Danny Herrera, in 1938, was said to create a cocktail for actress Marjorie King at his Tijuana bar. The drink was to be a tequila drink as Marjorie was supposedly allergic to all other alcohol. And he concocted the first margarita, named after Marjorie’s translated name.
Those two stories sound the most believable, though there are others. The popularity of the drink has exploded in the past 60 years, making the margarita the #1 cocktail in the US today. Certainly Jimmy Buffett’s 1977 classic song Margaritaville has had an impact on reaching that designation. The song is as popular today as it was three decades ago. And Jimmy continues to live his motto: “If life gives you limes, make margaritas.”
The Classic Margarita is made with 2 ounces blanco (or resposado) tequila, 1 ounce triple sec (or Cointreau) and 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice. There are also bartenders that prefer a 3:2:1 ratio (amongst others) of the three ingredients. Mix the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Serve in a cocktail glass with its rim moistened with a lime wedge and dipped in salt. Using quality tequila, Cointreau, and freshly squeezing your lime juice will offer the best cocktail.
There are many variations of the margarita, too many to count. We found a few nice alternative recipes here, with Giuseppe Gonzalez’s “Joey’s Margarita” the one we’re going to check out next. The addition of an egg white and the herbal French liqueur Chartreuse are said to make this a sophisticated “Grown-up’s Margarita.”
How about you? How will you be celebrating National Margarita Day on February 22nd? Classic, a variation, something really exotic? Share your favorite recipe and be sure to let everyone know what makes it special!