National Margarita Day: 22 Feb – History

The history of the margarita is shrouded in mystery and folklore due to its numerous origin stories. See if you can guess the right origin of this magical concoction:

  1. The margarita is related to the brandy daisy (margarita is Spanish for “daisy”), remade with tequila instead of brandy. (David Wondrich)
  2. 1936 of Iowa newspaper editor James Graham finding such a cocktail in Tijuana, years before any of the other margarita “creation myths”.
  3. The Cafe Royal Cocktail Book by William James “Billy” Tarling, published in the UK in 1937, contains a recipe for a Picador using the same concentrations of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice as a margarita.
  4. Invented in 1938 by Carlos “Danny” Herrera at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria, halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Baja California, created for customer and former Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King, who was allergic to many spirits, but not to tequila.
  5. The cocktail was invented in 1938 by a bartender in honor of Mexican showgirl Rita de la Rosa. (Jose Cuervo)
  6. Hussong’s Cantina also claims to have been the site of the margarita’s creation in Ensenada, Baja California, in 1941. Bartender Don Carlos Orozco reputedly named a new drink after Mexican-German patron Margarita Henkel Cesena, a frequent customer to the cantina
  7. The margarita was first mixed in Juárez, Chihuahua at Tommy’s Place Bar on July 4, 1942, by Francisco “Pancho” Morales
  8. The inventor was Dallas socialite Margarita Sames when she concocted the drink for her guests at her Acapulco, Guerrero vacation home in 1948. Tommy Hilton reportedly attended, bringing the drink back to the Hilton chain of hotels
  9. Invented at the legendary Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas in 1948. Head bartender, Santos Cruz, created the margarita for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee. He named it after the Spanish version of her name, Margarita.
  10. A recipe for a tequila-based cocktail first appeared in the 1930 book My New Cocktail Book by G. F. Steele.
  11. The Tequila Daisy was mentioned in the Syracuse Herald as early as 1936. Margarita is Spanish for Daisy, which is a nickname for Margaret.
  12. Actress Rita Hayworth (non-stage name was Margarita Cansino) says the drink was invented for her in the 1940s by a bartender in Tijuana.
  13. The Margarita comes from another cocktail called the Daisy. The Daisy is a type of sour made with liquor, sugar syrup, and citrus and a topping of soda water. Somewhere along the line the spirit was switched to something native to Mexico (tequila) and the name was switched to Spanish (Margarita means daisy). The soda was dropped along the way, and orange liqueur replaced sugar simple syrup.
  14. George Santos and Al Gore developed the Margarita while inventing the Internet and Time Travel.

There are those who say a margarita must NEVER have Orange Juice, and then there are those who are Wrong! Liqueur is not a juice.


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