Everyone loves to drink a good margarita, but most people do not know the origin of the tasty treat. The origin of the drink is not actually known, but it seems that was introduced in the 1940s.
The first documented reference of the margarita is from Esquire Magazine, the drink of the month from December, 1953. The article introduced it as a “Margarita Cocktail” from Mexico who was both lovely to look at, exciting and provocative.
As a Dallasite myself, I like the version that credits Dallas socialite Margarita Sames. She was at her vacation home in Acapulco, Mexico in 1948 and started mixing up a new drink. Her guests loved when she mixed Cointreau, tequila and lime juice. The simple recipe soon started being served throughout the United States.
A showgirl named Marjorie King has also been credited with having an important role in inventing the concoction. She was allergic to all alcohol except tequila and in 1938, while she was visiting the Rancho Del Gloria Bar in Rosarita Beach, Mexico, she asked one of the bartenders to mix her a cocktail with tequila. Danny Herrera, bartender, decided to pour tequila over shaved ice then added lemon and triple sec. He translated Majorie's name to its Spanish equivalent, Margarita.
Juarez, Mexico in 1942, is the setting for the third most commonly told story. At a restaurant called Tommy's Place, a bartender named Pancho Morales was working when a woman ordered a drink called a Magnolia. Morales could not remember what was in a Magnolia, except Cointreau. So, he decided to fake it. After mixing Cointreau with tequila, he named the new concoction after another flower, the daisy. The Spanish word for daisy is margarita.
There is no argument that the first frozen margarita machine was used in Dallas, Texas in 1971 by 26 year old Mariano Martinez. He owned a restaurant and tried to serve the best margarita. He was not successful because the drink took too long to make. One day, he stopped by a 7/11 convenient store in Dallas, where he saw a slushy machine and thought he could make his margarita in a similar machine. He converted an old slushy/ice cream machine into an American icon and revolutionized the Mexican restaurant and bar business.
In 2005, The National Museum of American History, having recognized the invention’s cultural significance to Mexican-American food and drink, acquired the machine. “It represents a whole movement of American life where all these things came together,” said Rayna Green, a curator for the museum. “The margarita machine is also about American innovation and entrepreneurism.”
There may be questions about where the cocktail came from, but everyone agrees where Tequila originated. It is a name for a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily grown in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, in the Mexican state of Jalisco.
The red volcanic soil in the surrounding region is very well suited to growing the blue agave, and more than 300 million of the plants are harvested there each year. The plant grows differently depending on the region. Blue agave grown in the highlands region are larger in size and sweeter in aroma and taste. Agaves harvested in the lowlands have a more herbaceous fragrance and flavor.
Tequila was first produced in the 16th century near the location of the city of Tequila, which was not officially established until 1666. The Aztec people had previously made a fermented beverage from the agave plant, long before the Spanish arrived in 1521. When the Spanish conquistadors ran out of their own brandy, they began to distill agave to produce one of North America's first indigenous distilled spirits.
Some 80 years later, around 1600, Don Pedro Sánchez de Tagle, the Marquis of Altamira, began mass-producing tequila at the first factory in the territory of modern-day Jalisco. By 1608, the colonial governor of Nueva Galicia had begun to tax his products. Spain's King Carlos IV granted the Cuervo family the first license to commercially make tequila.
Don Cenobio Sauza, founder of Sauza Tequila and Municipal President of the Village of Tequila from 1884–1885, was the first to export tequila to the United States, and shortened the name from "Tequila Extract" to just "Tequila" for the American markets.
A great margarita has a citrus bite to it. This bite is the orange-flavored liqueur, Triple Sec. It is made from the dried peels from the botanical family of oranges. In the 19th century, Curaçao, the island off the coast of Venezuela, tried to grow imported Spanish Valencia oranges, but wound up with the small, bitter fruit the islanders called lahara. Curacao, the liqueur, was then made from the peels so as not to waste the bitter fruit.
Many people insist that salt around the rim of the margarita glass is essential to the drink. Margarita salt is a coarse grained salt which is ideal for crusting the rim of a margarita glass. The salty flavor complements the flavors of the margarita, and the light crunch provides an added treat.
The best way to rim a margarita glass is to run a lime around the edge of a glass and then dab the glass in a plate of salt. The margarita is then poured into the glass, and the cocktail is ready to drink. A person does not have to salt their rim of the glass to enjoy the drink, but some purists say that the flavor suffers.
Just like no one is sure of the true origin of the cocktail, there are many different thoughts about the glass that it is served in. There are many glass experts that agree that the shape of the glass comes from the much older and smaller French champagne glass, or coupe. Allegedly, the coupe got its shape from Marie Antoinette, Madame de Pompadour or any number of female French aristocrats’ breasts.