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Drink to the History of Margaritas!

Margaritas

Today is ¡Cinco de Mayo! and an extremely popular way to celebrate this Mexican-American holiday is with a bowl full of tortilla chips, a side of salsa, and a pitcher or four of margaritas. This delicious cocktail—containing tequila, Triple Sec, and lime juice—is generally served in a glass, either frozen or on the rocks, garnished with a salted rim.

The sole inventor(s) of the margarita remains unknown due to the fact that numerous people have claimed to be its creator. One of the most popular tales tells the story of Carlos “Danny” Herrera, who allegedly fashioned the beverage in 1938 to suit his customer Marjorie King, an aspiring young actress who was allergic to all hard liquors except tequila.

While Herrera’s story circulated throughout Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, California, Dallas native Margaret “Margarita” Sames claimed to have invented the drink in 1948, during one of her parties at her vacation home in Acapulco, Mexico. Sames tried (unsuccessfully)to make a name for herself  as Jose Cuervo’s 1945 slogan was, “Margarita: it’s more than a girl’s name,” after the Mexican showgirl Rita de la Rosa.

Meanwhile, many believe that the margarita originated in the 1800’s, deriving from an alcoholic beverage called the Brandy Daisy. This cocktail, consisting of brandy, rum, lemon juice, and Curaҫao liqueur, easily as well as accidentally becomes a margarita with the substitution of brandy for tequila. Coincidentally, the English translation of the Spanish word “margarita” is “daisy,” lending plausibility to this account of the margarita’s origin.

Frozen Margarita-Mariano  Bandido OutfitDespite the history of the margarita being quite unreliable, the first frozen margarita machine is successfully documented. In 1971, Texas restaurant owner Mariano Martinez developed a special machine—not unlike one that dispenses soft served ice cream—that  would produce a delicious margarita slush, smooth enough to slide through a straw. Needless to say, his invention and new delectable twist on the drink made his restaurant extraordinarily successful and altogether quite famous. Although his machine was never patented, and several bars and restaurants quickly snatched the idea once it had become popular, Martinez never lost his stride. In 2001, Dallas named Martinez’s margarita the official drink of Dallas, Texas, making a new alcoholic pinpoint on the map, along with New York’s Manhattan and the New Orleans’ Hurricane.

After Martinez closed the restaurant building to move it to a new location, he decided his frozen margarita machine had run its full course and was ready for retirement. Without much ado, he eagerly donated the original machine to the Smithsonian Institution, where it continues to be on display and noted as one of the greatest American inventions in the Smithsonian.

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This entry was posted on May 5, 2014 by in History, Holidays, Wine, Beer, and Cocktails and tagged , , , .
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