Welcome back to Speakeasy, where we take a deep dive into a classic drink and give you the history and origins of a drink, the spirits involved, and how to ask for a drink like a pro. Last time we took a sip of the classic Manhattan, today, we’re all about the margarita.
The History of the Margarita
Oh, the margarita. So beloved. So misunderstood. So … confusing. There are a handful of margarita histories out there, none of which exactly make sense to us. Why? Because timetables are fuzzy and because Mexico has never really had a strong cocktail culture. But here we go
Option one: Restaurateur Carlos “Danny” Herrera created the cocktail for an actress (maybe showgirl) named Marjorie King. It seems King was allergic to every spirit except tequila (suspect) and Herrera being the good host he was, mixed up her up a cocktail she could stomach. He then named it after her, sort of.
Option two: In 1948 Texas socialite Margaret Sames created the cocktail for one of her swinging parties at her Acapulco vacation home. In attendance was a Hilton heir who took it back to the Hilton Hotel chain and put it on the menu. This one is even more unlikely because by this point Jose Cuervo has been running ads for a margarita cocktail for three years. So.
Option three: the margarita is actually a drink called the daisy that was most popular in the 1930s. That cocktail was a mix of gin or bourbon, curacao, and citrus. During this time a cocktail named the Tequila Daisy was circulating and perhaps the margarita and the daisy morphed into what we have today.
Regardless, the first mention of the “margarita” appears in an issue of Esquire in the 1950s: tequila, triple sec, and the juice of half a lime or lemon.