Ole! Today’s food holiday is one we were eager to wrap our lips around. It’s National Margarita Day! Both Tara and I love a good margarita. A few caveats, though: it’s got to be served on the rocks – never blended. And under no circumstances should you use a bottled mix from a grocery shelf, even if it’s got the word Cuervo on it. The best margaritas are made fresh, with tequila, lime juice, triple sec, and a salted rim.
We are very picky about our margaritas.
Almost as many people claim to have invented the margarita as insist they were at Woodstock, so while its true origin is up for debate, we do know that the drink was first served in the 1940s. Many believe a bartender in Ensenada, Mexico named Don Carlos Orozco invented the drink in 1941. One day Margarita Henkel, the daughter of a German ambassador, stopped by for a drink. Orozco had been experimenting with some new creations and offered her the first taste of a cocktail he’d made with equal parts tequila, Damiana liqueur, and lime. Other stories give credit to Carlos Herrera, a Mexican restauranteur, who allegedly created the cocktail for dancer Marjorie King, who was allergic to all hard alcohol except tequila; to Santos Cruz, a bartender in Galveston, Texas who named the drink for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee (“Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”); and to Dallas socialite Margarita Sames, who made the drink for a house full of guests that included Tommy Hilton (hotel chain baron and unfortunate relative of Paris), who was so impressed he added the drink to the hotel’s bar menu.
Others insist the margarita is simply another version of a popular American drink at that time named the Daisy, and tequila was substituted for brandy because Prohibition drove people across the Mexican border for their alcohol (and pinata) fix. Indeed, “margarita” is the Spanish word for “daisy” (aha!) so this story is probably the most likely.
Really, who cares who came up with it first? The important thing is, somebody did. And that’s good enough for me. Margaritas were the first mixed drink I really got into, and are still the best part of any Mexican dining experience. I always judge a Mexican restaurant based on the attention they give to their margarita; invariably, the places with the best food always serve the best margaritas, too. I’ve had a lot of really good margaritas over the years; oddly enough, one of the best is available at Chili’s, and made with Presidente brandy in addition to the other usual ingredients. I was able to recreate this recipe at home, and now churn out a really good margarita whenever the occasion calls for it.
This being Friday, however, Tara and I weren’t sitting around the house, so we met up at a Mexican restaurant called Catedral Tapatia for margaritas. And dinner, of course! They were big…and tasted great, the perfect celebration to mark the end of another work week!
- Recipe for a classic margarita for National Margarita Day (vancouverobserver.com)
- It’s Time to Celebrate National Margarita Day! (savannahbest.wordpress.com)