“1 part Cointreau
2 parts tequila
1 part fresh lime juice
Put all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice. Shake until well chilled and strain into a salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.”
That’s the original recipe according to Cointreau.com.
The International Bartender’s Association has the mix at 2 parts triple sec, 5 parts tequila, 1.5 parts fresh lime juice.
But whatever the proportions used, the classic Margarita is a refreshing blend of sweet (from the orange liqueur), sour (from the lime), and bitter (from the tequila.) And salt.
Why the salt? Salt cuts the bitterness of the tequila and enhances the sweet of the liqueur. Salt brightens that citrusy lime flavor and stimulates the production of saliva making the cocktail even more mouthwatering.
Where did it come from?
The odds are good that the Margarita is a tequila version of a Daisy cocktail. According to “barstool historian” David Wondrich, the first published reference to a Daisy appeared in 1862. The basic Daisy is a mix of “base spirit” such as gin, rum, brandy, whiskey, vodka, tequila with lemon juice and some sort of liquid sweetener.
The first published reference to a Margarita was in 1936 when an Iowa newspaperman reported on the Tequila Daisy that he had while on vacation in Tijuana. It appears in the 1937 edition of the “Cafe Royal Cocktail Book Coronation Edition” (which is available for download here: https://euvs-vintage-cocktail-books.cld.bz/1937-Cafe-Royal-Cocktail-Book-Coronation-Edition/ . ) I checked out the ebook and found it listed in the index. Back in the day you had to write The United Kingdom Bartender’s Guild if you wanted the recipe.
There are several stories from the 1930’s to 1940’s that it was invented by various Mexican bartenders and the odd Texas socialite for (and by) various ladies named “Margarita.” In 1938 Carlos (Danny) Herrera added the lime juice and salt for Ziegfeld showgirl Marjorie King-who would only touch tequila when drinking.
The frozen Margarita
Either shaken with ice and strained into a glass or just served “on the rocks,” a Margarita should be chilled. Frozen Margaritas became popular along with daquiris and other frozen drinks in the 1950’s when bartenders started using blenders in their bar tending. The year 1971 brought the invention of the world’s first frozen Margarita Machine credited to Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez.
An explosion of flavors!
An online search for recipes will find a variety of Margaritas made from all kinds of fruits and even vegetables. Shaken, stirred, frozen, even non-alcoholic versions (with pickle juice, no less) can be found to suit anyone’s taste.
So celebrate National Margarita Day with your favorite version of this popular tasty cocktail.