The Margarita Cocktail

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The Margarita cocktail is a drink of Mexican origins made from ingredients like tequila, orange liqueur and lime or lemon juice. It is usually served in a Margarita glass, which is similar to the cocktail glass except it has wider and rounder shapes. In the United States, the Margarita has become the most popular and common tequila-based cocktail, and women especially love it because it comes in a variety of colorful recipes. Like with most cocktails, the inventor and the exact location of its inception are unclear, and there are at least four accounts detailing different inventors and different locations.

The Margarita Cocktail

One story claims the Margarita cocktail was invented by a bartender by the name of Don Carlos Orozco in 1941, who first offered his new drink to a woman named Margarita Henkel – the daughter of a German ambassador –, and named the drink after her. However, Don Carlos reportedly used Damiana Liqueur instead of the usual Cointreau, so it can’t be said that he invented the same Margarita we all know today. Another account actually places the invention of the Margarita in Texas, in 1948, at the Balinese Room. Here, the Mexican head bartender Santos Cruz invented the drink for the famous singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee.

To make matters more complicated, there is another plausible explanation for the invention of the Margarita cocktail, and that is the Prohibition, which made brandy and other spirits scarce. Thus, Americans who were used to drinking the Daisy cocktail simply replaced the brandy with tequila and the Margarita was born. The IBA ingredients for an official Margarita cocktail are seven parts tequila, four parts Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur and three parts lime juice. The rims of the Margarita glass have to be rubbed with a wedge of lime, and then garnished with salt.

All the other ingredients are mixed in a shaker with ice, then poured into the glass without smudging the salt on the rims. The glass can also be garnished with a slice of lime and little umbrellas and straws. Because it is such a popular drink, there are many variations of the Margarita, where the Cointreau is replaced with triple sec, Grand Marnier or blue curaçao, which results in a blue margarita. The cocktail can even be made fruitier and less alcoholic by eliminating the liqueur and adding pureed fruits like melon or kiwi, but then the drink is called Melon Margarita or Kiwi Margarita.

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