I live in Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, Cinco De Mayo is a big deal throughout the city. Don’t even try getting into a Mexican restaurant on May 5th. So it is slightly ironic that the Margarita, the drink synonymous with this south-of-the-border holiday, might not even be from Mexico.
One take on the original story has it that Carlos Herrera, owner of Tijuana restaurant, Rancho La Gloria, concocted the cocktail in 1938 to please former Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King, who was allergic to most alcoholic beverages, but not tequila. There are others who lay claim to the creation of this iconic drink.
A Dallas socialite by the name of Margarita Sames insisted that she invented the Margarita in 1948. Her good friend and owner of the Hilton Hotel chain liked it so much, he put it on the bar menu nationwide.
Then again, it’s entirely possible the Margarita is simply a variation of a popular cocktail from the Prohibition era known as “The Daisy.” This rendition was made with nearly the same ingredients, save for brandy instead of tequila. And, interestingly enough, “margarita” in Spanish means – you guessed it – “daisy.”
History lesson done! Hopefully none of this spoils the enjoyment of a perfectly made Cinco de Mayo holiday cocktail. Salud!
The Classic Margarita
- 3 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 oz. top shelf tequila
- 1 oz. Grand Marnier liqueur
- Simple syrup (or agave) to taste
- Lime round to garnish
- Salt rim of glass (optional)
1) Make your 1/2 cup of simple syrup, which is simply one part sugar to one part water. Stir well until it dissolves.
2) Pour the tequila, lime juice, Grand Marnier and a healthy splash of simple syrup (or agave) into a shaker filled with ice.
3) Shake for 20 seconds. (By the way, this is done partly to make the drink frosty cold, but it also adds the perfect amount of water to dilute the beverage.)
4.) Strain into a glass filled with ice and rimmed with salt (optional). Garnish with a lime round. (Makes two drinks.)
David Pitlik is a corporate writer by day, a comedy writer from a previous life, and a lover of great food, wonderful drink and sparkling banter with good friends.