“Margarita: It’s more than a girl’s name”–Jose Cuervo slogan – 1945
Countless bartenders, socialites and hotel owners have laid claim to the invention of the cocktail known as the Margarita, including the commercial manufacturer Jose Cuervo, who in the mid-forties maintained it was named for a Mexican showgirl named Rita de la Rosa.That, we suspect, was nothing more than an ad campaign. After all, any of us who have watched Mad Men, know a lot about the so-called “truth in advertising.” Another myth is that of Peggy (a diminutive for Margaret) Lee, who was said to have had the drink named after her by a Mexican bartender in Galveston, Texas in 1948. An undisputed fact seems to be that the invention of the drink known as the Margarita was claimed by everyone from a Chinese restaurant in Baja,and bartenders in Texas and California (both original Mexican territory) sometime in the 1940’s.
A more likely explanation comes from the lack of brandy, during Prohibition in the USA to make a drink called the Daisy.In southern states and along the eastern coastline, when forays were made over borders, seeking any form of alcohol, tequila became popular north of the Rio Grande. The Daisy also segued into the Cosmopolitan, which when grenadine is added, makes for a very pretty cocktail, served in a martini glass.
The strongest claim to the invention of this delicious warm weather drink is probably Francisco (Pancho) Morales, in El Paso-Juarez at Tommy’s Place on the 4th of July, 1942. Ironically, Pancho became a milkman after becoming a US citizenship there after and the rest of his working days were spent delivering milk for nearly three decades.
There is much discussion over the appropriate liqueur used in flavoring: Grand Marnier (Grand Curacao), Cointreau (Controy) or Triple Sec. They are all Curacao, a base made from bitter orange peels,and differ only in price and somewhat in quality, which is also debatable.Our word of advice on this goes no further than to say “make your Margarita from scratch.” Using a store-bought mix is deplorable.
Esquire magazine was the first known publisher of an actual recipe for the Margarita. An ounce of tequila, a dash of Triple Sec and the juice of half a lime or lemon, served over crushed ice with a salted rim. Thanks, we’ll have a double.
Que es cómo es.
Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!
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