- by Cindy
by: Cristian Sorto
Today, one of the most commonly ordered drinks at a bar is the famous margarita. The margarita claims about 18% of all sales of mixed drinks and is followed by the martini. Its obvious that the margarita is well loved, but who created the famous drink?
Many have claimed to have invented the drink but the most famous story claims that Carlos “Danny” Herrera, in 1938, invented the drink at his “Rancho La Gloria” restaurant in Tijuana for an up-and-coming actress, Marjorie King, who was allergic to hard alcohols except tequila. In order to please his client’s particular taste palette, Danny simple combined the ingredients for a traditional tequila shot into a drink. Now known as the classic margarita, it consisting of Blanco tequila, lime juice, and triple sec and is still popular today.
Another popular claim to its origin is a well-endowed Dallas socialite named Margarita Sames. She claims to have created the drink for her friend at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948. Legend has it that one of the friends in attendance was Tommy Hilton who eventually added the drink to bar menu at his chain of hotels. This story would explain the popularity of the drink, but unfortunately the myth is debunked by Anthony Dias Blue. He was the first in the United States to import Jose Cuervo and used the line “Margarita: its more than a girl’s name” in his 1945 published book.
While the origin of the drink is up for debate, its popularity is not. By 1953, Esquire Magazine had published an issue with the margarita as its drink of the month. But its popularity truly soared in the early 70s due to the Waring blender and the Mariano’s Mexican Cuisine restaurant. Mariano Martinez began serving frozen margaritas at his restaurant and eventually had to arm his bartenders with blenders to keep up with demand. Due to the popularity of his new frozen drink, he was then inspired by the Slurpee machine at the local 7-11. He recruited a friend to create a similar machine to dispense the frozen margarita. This was the very first margarita machine as other restaurants quickly mimicked their creation. The frozen classic margarita was more popular than the original and is still popular today. Mariano’s first margarita machine was engraved in history in 2005 when it was donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Today there are endless fun variations of the original margarita such as the coconut lime margarita or the firecracker berry margarita float which may take longer to prepare, but are also more fun and flavorful. The restaurant chain Chili’s can take some credit for popularizing new variations of the margarita. In 1994, the Presidente Margarita was introduced to the menu and now there are more than 10 margarita variations at a given time on a Chili’s menu. Chili’s was able to bring more affordable and fun margaritas across the United States. Recently there has been an increase in the amount of premium tequila in the United Sates which has led to a spike in sales of margaritas. This rise in popularity of the last 15 years has been more focused on appreciating the taste of tequila combined with other ingredients instead of focusing on the sweet syrups used by some restaurants. The amount of tequila consumed by Americans increases by about 6% every year and has become a preference in cocktails that were traditionally centered around vodka, gin, or scotch.
While some may argue that margaritas are made great by the tequila or that the fun flavors make it better, with so many variations there is a margarita out there that’s a perfect match no matter what the preference is.
The Classic Margarita: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016358-margarita
Frozen Classic Margarita: https://www.isabeleats.com/frozen-margarita-recipe/
Coconut Lime Margarita: https://www.today.com/recipes/coconut-lime-margarita-t90856
Firecracker Berry Margarita Float: https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/firecracker-berry-margarita-floats/