Some Margarita History...

As a cocktail history nerd, one thing I always find the most interesting is the when, where, and by who of cocktail creation. You'd think that many of these recipes would have straightforward answers to the above but, for many cocktails, we know where they originated and when, but maybe not exactly by who. Or we may know by who and when, but not where, in which bar or city. For many classics, such as the Negroni, the Manhattan, and the Tequila Daisy (which I will get to in a bit),  some of the details can get a little hairy but, through literary analysis, most famously by the James Beard Award-Winning cocktail historian, David Wondrich, we are able to have a less blurry understanding of where the hell some of these famous drinks have come from.

For the Margarita, I will spare you all of the stories of it being named after a woman named "Margaret" (of which there are several instances where this is the case) since I like to think the story is a bit more interesting than that and I will jump right into the story that I personally enjoy the most - and the one that seems the most logical.

As with all cocktails, one ingredient swapped out for another can make a world of a difference. Let's take the Gin and Tonic for example. You take the tonic out of the Gin and Tonic and you're left with Gin and Lime. Substitute that tonic for simple syrup, and you've got yourself a Gimlet. One simple swap, one drastically different cocktail. The same thing occurred throughout time for the Margarita as well. Many iterations of Tequila-based sours and daisies have come close, but only a few hit the mark as to what defines a Margarita (i.e. Tequila, Lime, Orange Liqueur - and sometimes an additional sweetener - but usually just the three formerly mentioned).

Americans, post-prohibition, had taken to trying different variations on the classic "Daisy" of the 1870s which was made with Gum Syrup, Orange Cordial, Half a Lemon, and a Base Spirit, then topped with Seltzer. With Tequila's popularity rising, it was inevitable that bartenders would begin experimenting with Tequila as a base spirit for this classic, leading to the birth of the Tequila daisy (traditionally made with Brandy). As with most cocktails throughout time, they evolve and improve and thus, eventually, to try and differentiate the Tequila Daisy from the classic Sidecar (the Margarita's distant cousin), bartenders began adding salt which traditionally went with Tequila and, since Margarita means daisy in Spanish, it is assumed that at some point a bartender (a few have been named) began calling the drink a Margarita. Of course, there is always the chance that more than one individual could be credited with creating this modern classic but I like to think that this is the most logical scenario - to each their own!

Margarita Variations

Now that you had your dose of Margarita knowledge, here are a few recipes you need to try this National Margarita Day! Featured below are two Bon Vivantito original recipes along with a featured recipe from the award-winning, Gastronomista

1. The Voodoo Margarita

(above) Voodoo Margarita

(above) Voodoo Margarita

Inspired by Voodoo Doughnut's Margarita Doughnuts - in collaboration with Jose Cuervo.

1 1/2 oz Jose Cuervo Especial
3/4 oz Lime
1/2 oz Applewood-Smoked Agave Syrup (traditional Agave Syrup works here as well)
Topped with Bitter Lemon Tonic & Splash of Mezcal
Garnish: Lemon twists and zest / Sugar-salt rim

Mixing Instructions: mix all ingredients (other than tonic) in shaker with ice. Shake, double strain over rocks in glass, add tonic & garnish. Sip and enjoy.

2. Just A Lil' Bit

1 1/2 oz Especial Tequila
1 oz Lime
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
1/2 oz Montenegro
1/4 oz Mezcal
1/4 oz Blue Curaçao
Garnish: Lime Twist

Mixing Instructions: Shake | Strain | Garnish & Sip

3.  Gastronomista's Spicy Mezcal Pineapple Margarita 

(above) Spicy Mezcal Pineapple Margarita  Photo by : Gastronomista

(above) Spicy Mezcal Pineapple Margarita
Photo by: Gastronomista

2 1/2 oz Espadín Mezcal
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Chili Liqueur
1/2 oz Lime
2/3 oz Agave
1/3 oz Water
2 dashes Fire and Damnation Bitters
Garnish: Dehydrated Chili & Lime Wheel

Mixing Instructions: Shake | Strain | Garnish & Sip

For more cocktails by Gastronomista, follow her on Instagram (@Gastronomista_).


The article above is a sponsored article in partnership with Jose Cuervo Tequila.