For those of you who can’t get enough trivia, here are several accounts of where and when the Margarita was invented. Sit back with a Margarita in hand and enjoy the tales.
There is no solid proof who “invented” the Margarita. The most accepted of all stories is that the Margarita was invented in October 1941, at Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico, by bartender Don Carlos Orozco. It was one slow afternoon when Don Carlos was experimenting with mixing new drinks when a prestigious visitor arrived: Margarita Henkel, the daughter of a German ambassador, and her husband Roy Parodi. Don Carlos offered the drink to Margarita, and named it after her for being the first person to taste it.
Another common account was that the Margarita, was invented a few years earlier at the Rancho La Gloria Hotel; halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Mexico, by Carlos “Danny” Herrera. He created this drink for a former Ziegfeld dancer named Marjorie King. This story was told over and over again and heard by bartender Albert Hernandez at the La Plaza restaurant in La Jolla, CA. Hernandez was acknowledged for popularizing the Margarita in San Diego after 1947. Hernandez claimed the owner of La Plaza, Morris Locke, knew Herrera and visited Mexico often.
And yet another common origin tale begins the cocktail’s history at the legendary Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas where, in 1948, head bartender Santos Cruz created the Margarita for singer Peggy Lee. He supposedly named it after the Spanish version of her name, Margarita, and it’s been a hit ever since.
One last story to sum it up, the Margarita is merely a popular American drink, the Daisy, remade with tequila instead of brandy, which became popular during Prohibition as people drifted over the border for alcohol. There is an account from 1936 of Iowa newspaper editor James Graham finding such a cocktail in Tijuana, years before any of the other Margarita “creation myths”. Margarita is Spanish for Daisy. It is likely that Orozco, Herrara, Hernandez and Cruz merely perfected the “Tequila Daisy”.
The cocktail has remained popular for generations and is one of the many cocktails selected by the International Bartenders Association for use in the annual World Cocktail Competition in bartending.
The margarita cocktail was the “Drink of the Month” in Esquire magazine, December 1953
1 ounce tequila
Dash of Triple Sec
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
Pour over crushed ice, stir. Rub the rim of a stem glass with rind of lemon or lime, spin in salt—pour, and sip.