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!




8 Comments
Elizabeth_Neal
Elizabeth Neal - Feb 22, 2018
I love all the historical accounts. They all are part of this drinks history. I like the American Daisy/Margarita angle.
Californian
Bonnie ^O^ - Feb 22, 2018
Here is a great recipe we love!
THE ULTIMATE MARGARITA
BJHPC
Bonnie Callies - Feb 21, 2018
I never met a Margarita I didn't like, especially after a long hot day on the golf course, no matter how it was made!
Emlespom
Emily Pomrenke - Feb 21, 2018
The best Margarita I've ever had was at Ma Crosby's in Acuna (I know it was in a George Strait song, but not kidding) and it was awesome with their fajita nachos! They're out of business now, darn it! So my favorite now is The Navigation Margarita from Ninfa's on Navigation in Houston. They published the recipe in Texas Highways Magazine. Herevit is--ENJOY:
3 Tablespoons silver Tequila
1 1/2 Tablespoons guava nectar
1 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cointreau
Pour over ice or blend with a few cubes for a frozen one and salted rim or not!
alyceconrad
Alyce Conrad - Feb 21, 2018
Come on -- how does anyone measure 29% and 21%?
I use a classic 3-2-1 Margarita recipe, which is outstanding :
1-1/2 oz Tequila
1 oz orange liqueur (I like Cointreau best)
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

Shake with ice, garnish with thin lime slice and salt-rimmed glass (optional)
Angela_Moore
Angela Moore - Feb 21, 2018
I just need a good Margarita receipe.
Wenthia
Wendy Houtz - Feb 20, 2017
Gotta LOVE Margaritas
DuchessDi
Diane Kay Kafka - Feb 19, 2017
Where did you find this info!