The Strange Origins of the Margarita
Updated: Mar 29
I dare say that the Margarita cocktail is at least for me the perfect cocktail any time of the year in any situation. It one of the first you will all learn & one of the easiest to remember. Any version of the cocktail whether it is the straight up, on the rocks or the slush puppy version I support anyone who makes it with fresh juice & quality blanco Tequila. Looking into the history of the drink though we uncover that no one really has any clue of how or where it came from
Confusing Origins. Find below just 'SOME' of the supposed origins of the infamous Margarita: - Early 1930s: Agua Caliente Racetrack in Tijuana and Bertita’s Bar in Tasca, Mexico both claimed to have created the margarita.
- 1935: A bartender at Las Dos Republicas in Matamoros, Mexico supposedly created the drink for a guest named Marguerite Hemery. She loved the cocktail, and he named the drink after her – the “Marguerita”1936: Danny Negrete was a bartender at the Hotel Garci-Crespo in Puebla, Mexico. The drink was a wedding present to his brother’s fiancé, Margarita. - 1937: John Durlesser was Head barman of the Los Angeles bar, McHenry’s Tail O’ the Cock Restaurant, and claims to have invented the cocktail as a tribute to a girlfriend. - 1938: Carlos “Danny” Herrera supposedly created the cocktail for a showgirl named Majorie King who was allergic to most spirits, but not Tequila. The owner of the “La Plaza” bar in San Diego knew Herrera and visited frequently, and was also known for popularizing the Margarita in San Diego in the 40’s. Albert Hernandex, bartender at the La Plaza, also confirmed this story. - 1940’s: Enrique Bastate Gutierrez worked at The Foreign Club in Tijuana where Margarita Carmen Cansino (Stage name: Rita Hayworth) worked as part of a dance act. Gutierrez claims to have invented the Margarita in the dancer’s honor.
- 1941: Margarita Henkel visited Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico. The bartender there, Don Carlos, had been experimenting with drinks and offered her one of his recent concoctions. It was served in a salt-rimmed glass over ice. Don Carlos named the drink after Margarita, as she was the first to try it. - 1942: Francisco Morales created the Margarita on July 4, 1942 in a bar called Tommy’s Place in the El Paso-Juarex area. Morales was asked to create a Magnolia – a drink he didn’t know. Instead, he whipped up a drink – that the customer loved. It became the Margarita. Morales moved to the US and became a milkman for 25 years. - 1948: Margaret “Margarita” Sames was a rich, young Texas socialite and was hosting a Christmas party at her home in Acapulco. The story goes, Sames was challenged to create a cocktail and the result was the Margarita.1958: The first mention in print of a Margarita cocktail is 1953 issue of Esquire magazine where it states simply that, ‘She’s from Mexico, Señores, and she is lovely to look at, exciting and provocative’.
The most likely: Meanwhile, Danny Negrete is also named as inventor of the drink. Apparently, the cocktail was a wedding gift for his sister-in-law, yep another Margarita, bestowed upon her at the Garci Crespo Hotel. Interestingly enough, Negrete worked at Agua Cliente Race Track, where starlet Margarita Cansino (you might know her as Rita Hayworth) would often perform
.Margarita Cansino, aka Rita HayworthHowever the margarita may not be named after a beautiful woman at all, but instead may just be a variation of another cocktail that was popular during Prohibition: the Daisy. In fact, margarita means “daisy” in Spanish.
The only difference between the Daisy and the margarita is that the former was made with brandy and the latter with tequila. However, it’s remarkable to see what a simple swap of spirits does for a cocktail. How many people today have heard of the Daisy?
The tequila-filled margarita, however, is famous in epic proportions & while it is tequila that gives the margarita its Mexican flair, doubt has been expressed over whether it would be likely for such a cocktail to emerge out of Mexico in the 30’s or 40’s.
Interestingly Margarita Sames, the inventor of the world’s first frozen margarita machine was from Dallas. His name was Mariano Martinez, a restauranteur who, in 1971, created the fuel for spring break parties everywhere. In 2005, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History acquired the original machine.