Here on California’s Central Coast, Cinco de Mayo is a pretty big deal. Try getting a table at a Mexican restaurant on May 5 and you’ll see what we mean. The wait is usually upwards of an hour, even early in the day. Do all of these happy revelers know what Cinco de Mayo commemorates? (Mexican victory over the French in 1862.) Probably not. More likely, they just like slurping margaritas.
And who can blame them? The margarita cocktail is the single most popular tequila-based drink in the US – probably the world. It is tart, sweet, and salty all at once, with a delightfully simple ingredient list. Forget those margarita mixes at the supermarket and the margarita machine; Here is the classic margarita recipe, care of Epicurious.com. (P.S. We at Parker Sanpei prefer our margaritas on the rocks in an old fashioned glass…)
Yield: Makes 1 drink
- 2 ounces tequila made from 100 percent agave, preferably reposado or blanco
- 1 ounce Cointreau
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- Salt for garnish
Combine tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Moisten rim of Margarita or other cocktail glass with lime juice or water. Holding glass upside down, dip rim into salt. Shake and strain drink into glass and serve.
The history of the margarita is, like so many beloved potables, a bit fuzzy. According to researchers at Smithsonian Magazine, there are three possible explanations for how the margarita came to be.
One of the most prevalent stories is that Carlos “Danny” Herrera developed the drink at his Tijuana-area restaurant, Rancho La Gloria, around 1938. As the legend goes, Herrera dreamed up the cocktail for one of his customers, an aspiring actress named Marjorie King who was allergic to all hard alcohol other than tequila. To make the liquor more palatable to his fussy client, he combined the elements of a traditional tequila shot—a lick of salt and a wedge of lime—and turned them into a refreshing drink.
Another top contender for the inventor title is Margarita Sames, a wealthy Dallas socialite who claimed she whipped up the drink for friends at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948. Among her well-connected guests was Tommy Hilton, who eventually added the drink to the bar menu at his hotel chain.
According to The Complete Book of Spirits by Anthony Dias Blue, though, the first importer of Jose Cuervo in the United States advertised with the tagline, “Margarita: it’s more than a girl’s name,” in 1945, three years before Sames claimed to have invented the drink.
We figure the history is unimportant so long as the margarita is fresh. And while we love a time-tested cocktail, we also appreciate a new twist on an old classic. Here’s a fun spin from Kathy Casey.
Black and Blue Cadillac Margarita Cocktail
Care of Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen™
The Margarita is a delicious cocktail and one of the most consumed mixed drinks on the planet. Taking it up a notch with this classic with a colorful blue coral rimmed glass gives it eye appeal. Launch it into the stratosphere with ice from Glace Luxury Ice and a Grand Marnier Foam using an iSi Cream Whipper and you have something truly special.
- 1 1/2 oz Milagro Añejo Tequila
- 3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
- 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
- Blue Coral Salt rim
Shake with ice. Strain into a old fashioned glass. Garnish with Grand Marnier Foam and a pinch of black lava salt.