While there exists some dispute as to who created the first margarita, its origin can be traced back to Baja California. As with the origin of the pizza, there are as many different stories about who invented the margarita cocktail as there are variations on the recipe. Some accounts are quite vague, others are far fetched and some claim the origin to be right here in Baja California, in a bar at the Riviera del Pacifico Hotel and Casino in Ensenada to be exact.
In 1938 Danny Herrera, a renowned Mexican bartender at the casino was completely in love with Marjorie King, an American actress who hated taking tequila pure but tequila was also the only liquor that her body could tolerate. With the intention to impress her, Herrera used his ingenuity to disguise the tequila. He used a third of tequila, a third Triple Sec and a third of fresh lime juice for Marjorie, who was called Margarita in Mexico. The word spread and soon enough the Margarita became one of the world’s most famous cocktails.
Another tale that traces the origin of the margarita back to Baja sounds more believable then the previous one. Enrique Bastate Gutierrez from Tijuana claims to have created the Margarita as homage to actress Rita Hayworth, whose real name was Margarita Cansino. As a teenager, Margarita Cansino worked as a dancer at the Foreign Club, in Tijuana, where she inspired the bartender’s creativity which resulted in this famous cocktail. This was obviously before Hayworth adopted her screen name, which dates the origin of the margarita back to mid 1930.
Whatever the story is, a good margarita, crushed, on ice or straight up, never tastes better then on a sunny patio around a pool or on the beach. Two parts of reasonable tequila, one part of Controy and one part of fresh squeezed lime and some sea-salt to balance it off are the standard ingredients nowadays.
So there you have it; all about the most popular drink other then beer in Mexico. Next to tequila and Corona, a margarita is the epitome of Mexican drinks that has become incredibly popular on both sides of the border. Cheers!
Thanks to our friends at The Gringo Gazette for this colorful look at the history of the Margarita.