The Margarita Mystery

The claim to fame about the beloved Margarita may be up in the air forever. There are about as many stories and people claiming responsibility as lovers of the famous drink. Okay, maybe not that many… but there are a lot.

Per the International Bartender Association (IBA) Official List of Cocktails, the standard Margarita consists of a 7:4:3 ratio. That is 50% tequila, 29% triple sec, and 21% lime juice. The Margarita is traditionally served in a Margarita glass with sugar or salt on the rim. It can be blended, on the rocks, or straight up.

The Legend of the Margarita

  • 1920 to 1933: The popular American Daisy becomes the Margarita. The American Daisy has the same contents of a Margarita but with brandy instead of tequila. The change happened because it was easier to get tequila closer to the Mexican border.
  • 1936: The Tequila Daisy was mentioned in the Syracuse Herald. Margarita is Spanish for daisy.
  • 1936: Iowa newspaper editor James Graham finds a cocktail in Tijuana described to have the contents of a Margarita.
  • 1937: Café Royal Cocktail Cookbook contains a recipe for the Picador with the same ingredients.
  • 1938: Carlos “Danny” Herrera begins serving Margaritas at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria, near the Tijuana border in Mexico. The recipe was created for a customer who was allergic to most spirits, but not tequila.
  • 1938: Jose Cuervo claims the Margarita was invented in honor of Mexican showgirl Rita de la Rosa.
  • 1941: Bartender Don Carlos Orozco, at the Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada Mexico, serves Margarita Henkel, the daughter of a German Ambassador, a drink he had been experimenting with. She loved it so much he named it after her.
  • 1942: Francisco “Pancho” Morales was claimed to have mixed the first Margarita in Juarez, Mexico at Tommy’s Place Bar. He later left to become a US citizen and work as a milkman for 25 years.
  • 1945: Jose Cuervo runs advertising campaigns for the Margarita: “Margarita: It’s more than a girls name.”
  • 1947: Albert Hernandez, a bartender who had worked for “Danny” Herrera is acknowledged for bringing the Margarita to San Diego at the La Plaza restaurant in La Jolla.
  • 1948: Dallas socialite Margarita Sames, claims to have invented the drink while entertaining guests at her Acapulco vacation home.
  • 1948: Santos Cruz, head bartender at the legendary Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas, names the drink after a singer Peggy Lee. Whose name translates to Margarita in Spanish.
  • 1953: The first known publication of the Margarita occurs in the 1953 issue of Esquire.
  • 1961: Robert James “Rusty” Thomson runs out of rum while making frozen daiquiris and concocts the Margarita after experimenting.

Whichever story you believe, we can all agree they’re pretty tasty! If you want to make one tonight, here are a couple of Blue Ribbon margarita recipes.

House Margarita

“If you don’t like a strong taste of tequila in your margarita, then this recipe is for you. It’s a mild tasting margarita.” – The Kitchen Crew

Sue’s Italian Margaritas

“This refreshing margarita has citrus undertones and is the perfect mix of sweet and sour. It’s actually a little on the sweet side”- The Kitchen Crew

Top Shelf Margaritas

“This refreshing margarita recipe truly lives up to its name. Premium liquor really makes a difference in this case. It’s sweet with just the right amount of tartness mixed in.” The Kitchen Crew

The Ultimate Margarita

“This is a classic, smooth margarita. But watch out … this is the kind of drink that will sneak up on you before you know it.” – The Kitchen Crew