Classic Margarita - History and Recipe

For my next foray into the science of cocktails, I decided to check out a classic - the Margarita. While overall the ingredients were similar from one to the next, there were some differences.  Lime juice versus lemon juice, agave syrup versus Cointreau, Mezcal versus Tequila versus White Tequila.  I decided on a direction that sounded interesting to me using white tequila, Cointreau and fresh squeezed lime juice. 

Before I began, however, I decided it would be fun to know the history of the drink.  While who originally invented it is disputed - as always - the Margarita has been around a truly long time. It was invented sometime between 1935 and 1948 depending which origin story you embrace.  Here are the top six - 

  • Santos Cruz, head bartender at the historic Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas, created the Margarita for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee in 1948...He modeled it after the popular Sidecar for Miss Lee, who liked tequila.
  • Enrique Bastate Gutierrez created the Margarita in the early 1940s as an homage to actress Rita Hayworth, whose birth name was Margarita Carmen Dolores Cansino, born in Tijuana, Mexico.
  • Carlos “Danny” Herrera, bartender at the Rancho La Gloria bar, on the old road between Tijuana and Rosarito Beach, in 1947-1948, came up with the Margarita for an actress and showgirl Marjorie King, whose stage name was Rita De La Rosa
  • Francisco “Pancho” Morales invented the Margarita on July 4, 1942, at a bar in Juárez, Mexico, named Tommy’s Place.
  • Danny Negrete presented the margarita as a wedding present to Margarita, his future sister-in-law, at the Hotel Garci Crispo in Puebla, Mexico, the day before his brother David's marriage in 1936.
  • Margaret (Margarita) Sames created the drink at her Acapulco home in 1948 during a Christmas party. 

The perfect time to give this a try was when my friend Christopher came to visit. He has a fabulous palette and is good at giving hints to how I might change a recipe up to make it even better.  Having a daily cocktail before supper I make from scratch has become a fun thing we do together on his visits. And my husband joins us so I get another opinion to add to the mix. 

The final drink proved the perfect libation for a hot summer day that we all enjoyed. In fact we each had two! Sometimes the classics are the best. 

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Ingredients - 

2 oz.                 White Tequila
1 oz.                 Orange liquor such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1 oz.                 Fresh squeezed lime juice
Optional - Coarse sea salt or chili salt for the rim of your glass

Instructions - 

Combine all ingredients in a shaker half filled with ice. Shake vigorously for several minutes. Straine into glasses filled with ice (prepped with salt or chili salt on the rim if you prefer). Enjoy!