Margarita Cocktails, Recipes, The History, and Origins
The margarita cocktail is undoubtedly the most popular tequila-based cocktail in the United States and most of the world. The classic margarita recipe was incredibly simple and consisted of only three ingredients but today there are endless variations that have been created to make it more enjoyable and interesting. What makes the drink so refreshing is the combination of lime and orange with a dash of salt to enhance the sweet and sour flavors, and to suppress the bitterness of the tequila. You can tweak the original recipe by adding your personal flair with different types of fruit and adding additional alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages to make it taste wonderful.
History of the Margarita
There are hundreds of stories regarding the origin of the Margarita cocktail, most claiming that the drink was named after a woman with the name Margarita. One of the earliest versions is that the margarita was invented by Carlos ‘Danny’ Herrera in 1938 at his Rancho La Gloria Restaurant in Mexico for the former Ziegfeld dancer, Marjorie King, who was apparently allergic to all spirits except tequila. But Herrera is not the only person who has tried to take credit for one of the most popular cocktails in the world.
Another contender to the fame of inventing the drink is Danny Negrete who apparently created the cocktail at the Garci Crespo Hotel for his sister-in-law, named Margarita, as a wedding gift.
Dallas socialite Margarita Sames has also laid claim to the title by virtue of her name. She insists that she created the cocktail recipe in 1948 for a group of friends while vacationing in Acapulco. The cocktail was placed on the bar menu of the Hilton Hotel by her friend Tommy Hilton, one of The Hiltons.
However, by 1945 an advertising campaign by the tequila brand Jose Cuervo was running stating “Margarita …” it’s more than a girl’s name”, making it seem highly unlikely for Margarita Sames to claim credit for the creation of the cocktail, although the same name did help to build a credible case at the outset.
Contenders aside, it may be that the margarita was not named after a woman after all, but just a variation on another cocktail popular during the Prohibition years called the Daisy. Margarita, in fact, means daisy in Spanish. The difference between the Daisy and the margarita is that the Daisy was made with brandy while the margarita is made with tequila. It’s truly remarkable what a difference a simple swap in spirits has done for the cocktail as not many people remember the Daisy, while the tequila-based margarita has gone on to become famous in epic proportions.
Origin of the Margarita
The origins of the margarita remain a mystery and although the stories behind its invention are pretty colorful, very few actually take place in Mexico. While the margarita is hailed as a quintessential Mexican cocktail, just like Cerveza, the origins of the drink are not definitively Mexican. While tequila, which gives the margarita its Mexican flair, is a Mexican spirit it is doubtful that the drink was invented by a Mexican or on Mexican soil. This is based on the fact that Mexico does not have a cocktail culture and to this day Mexican locals do not consume margaritas as a rule.
How To Make a Classic Margarita
The classic margarita is simple to make, tastes great, and you can’t go wrong by sticking to the basics. The basic recipe is sweet and sour with great tequila and a dash of salt. The best way to improve on it is to use top quality brands in the ingredients. ‘Rolls Royce’ margarita recipes use only the best brands like Grand Marnier for orange liqueur or Gran Gala, Cointreau, or Curacao. Patron Citronge is a good choice in place of Triple Sec. Patron Tequila is an excellent brand, or Altos, which is affordable but still very delicious.
Freshly squeezed lime juice is important and if you like the taste of lime you can add a little more. Lemon juice can be used as an alternative or a mix of the two. Bottled lime and lemon juice will do but can never taste as good as the fresh version. Technically you can leave off the salt as some believe it was only added to disguise the taste of cheap tequila. However, for some, salt is what makes a margarita, so leave it in if you like the taste. A pinch of salt enhances the flavor of the ingredients without adding a noticeably salty flavor.
Recipe for the Classic Margarita
1 ½ oz. tequila
½ oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. Lime or Lemon Juice
Place all ingredients in a shaker with cracked ice and shake together.
Rim an ice cold glass with salt by rubbing lime juice around the rim and dipping into a plate of salt.
Pour the cocktail mix through a strainer into a tall glass.
Serve with a straw.
Variations to the Classic Margarita Recipe
Margarita with Beer
It may come as a surprise that beer is an ingredient often used in margarita recipes to eliminate the fluorescent green color and give a different taste. The recipe consists of a combination of tequila and beer mixed with frozen traditional limeade. Fill up a pitcher and pass it around for everyone’s enjoyment.
6 oz. Tequila
1 Can Frozen Limeade (12 oz.)
1 Can 7-Up
12 oz. mellow beer (Corona or your preference)
Add all ingredients together in a pitcher.
Stir to mix until the limeade has melted.
Add ice to fill the pitcher to the top.
Serve in glasses rimmed with salt and garnished with lime slices.
For a refreshing change try strawberry margaritas with pink lemonade.
250 ml. Tequila
10 oz. pack of frozen strawberries
6 oz. can of pink lemonade concentrate, frozen
¼ cup Triple Sec
Blend all ingredients together in a blender.
Pour into a pitcher and fill up with ice cubes.
Serve in salt-rimmed glasses garnished with a wedge of lemon or lime.
Kiwi Fruit Margarita
1/3 cup Tequila Gold
1/3 cup Triple Sec
2 large peeled kiwis
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
½ cup super-fine sugar
2 cups crushed ice cubes
Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Stain into a pitcher and serve in salt-rimmed glasses with a straw.
Margarita on the Rocks
A refreshing twist on the original recipe that tastes good and looks great.
½ cup Tequila Silver
¼ cup sweetened, concentrated lime juice like Rose’s Lime Juice
¼ cup Triple Sec
¼ cup Lemon-Lime Soda
Mix the tequila, Triple Sec, Lemon-Lime soda and lime juice into a shaker with ice. Keep your hand tightly on the top to prevent the cap of the shaker from flying off due to the gas from the soda and shake vigorously together. Prepare salt-rimmed margarita glasses by rubbing the rims with lime juice and dipping into a plate of salt. Serve with a straw and a wedge of lime juice on the rim of the glass.
Fresh lime and pomegranate juice is a great combination for a margarita cocktail. Watch your consumption as they are so delicious and easy to drink that you may over indulge, and they can be quite addictive.
1 cup Tequila
1 cup Triple Sec
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
4 cups ice cubes
Mix the confectioner’s sugar with the tequila and Triple Sec in a pitcher and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the lime juice and the pomegranate juice, add the ice and stir to mix.
Serve in salt-rimmed glasses that have been placed in the freezer for a couple of minutes.
This version of the margarita is flavored with raspberry liqueur and tastes as delicious as it looks.
2 fluid oz. premium quality Tequila
5 fluid oz. Sweet and Sour Cocktail Mix
1 fluid oz. Chambord Raspberry Liqueur
1 fluid oz. Cointreau
2 cups ice cubes
1 lime cut into wedges
Pour the tequila, sweet and sour mix, Cointreau and Chambord Raspberry Liqueur into a shaker with ice cubes. Shake until the shaker becomes frosty on the outside. Prepare the margarita glasses by rubbing the rims with lime juice, dipping them into salt, and garnishing with a lime wedge. Strain the contents of the shaker and pour carefully into the glasses over a few ice cubes.
These are just a few of the hundreds of margarita recipes that have been concocted and shared by enthusiastic margarita fans over the years. Margaritas are a bar staple, whether they are served on the rocks, fruit flavored, with beer, or other ingedients. The three main ingredients of tequila, Triple Sec or Cointreau, and lime juice are standard in any bar and is enough to make an astoundingly satisfying margarita. Margaritas can be made with cheap tequila that goes down well at a dive bar, or they can get quite fancy with ingredients like agave nectar and smoky mezcals. No matter how you like to take your margarita, the outcome is always a perfect cocktail that is enjoyed the world over.