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In Observance of National Margarita Day

A brief history of the cocktail and recipes

By Adrienne SmithPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
Top Story - February 2021

Every February 22, we come together for National Margarita Day to pay homage to our favorite celebratory cocktail. The margarita is one of the most beloved cocktails in the world, however it’s hard to say definitively who created the margarita. Tales of its origin are as numerous as the variations of the drink itself.

One of the earliest stories claims that the drink was created in 1938, as Mexican restaurant owner Carlos “Danny” Herrera mixed it for famed Ziegfeld showgirl, Marjorie King. Supposedly she was allergic to all spirits except tequila but didn’t enjoy it straight. So Herrera took the classic tequila shot, usually taken with a lime and salt separately, combined, shook and the first margarita was born.

Another tale claims that Dallas socialite Margarita Sames mixed the first drink at a house party while vacationing in Mexico during 1948, and aptly named it after herself. Or perhaps it was named after actress Margarita Casino who you might know better as Rita Hayworth, while working in Tijuana in the 1940s. Regardless of its namesake, by 1945 the well-known tequila brand Jose Cuervo had begun running an ad campaign about the cocktail with the slogan, “Margarita: It’s more than a girl’s name.”

The Margarita may not be named after a beautiful woman at all, it may just be a variation of popular Prohibition era cocktail, the Daisy. In fact, Margarita translates to “daisy” in Spanish. The only difference between the Daisy and the Margarita is that the Daisy is made with brandy. It’s extraordinary what a simple swap of spirits does to a cocktail. Have you ever heard of the Daisy? Probably not, but I’m willing to bet you’ve tried a variation or two or six of the margarita.

The frozen margarita became popular in the 1950s as blenders started to appear in bars. They really took off in in 1971, when Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez introduced the first frozen margarita machine. Frozen Margaritas have had such an impact that his original machine currently resides in the Smithsonian museum.

Today, the standard margarita recipe is blanco tequila mixed with lime juice and orange liqueur, often served on the rocks in a glass with a salted rim. Personally, I love to swap out the blanco for a reposado tequila, which makes a deliciously rich and smooth cocktail.

Another popular variation is the Tommy’s Margarita, which a growing number of bartenders profess is the best version of the drink. Julio Bermejo, owner of the legendary Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco, is the expert behind this modern twist, which replaces the standard orange liqueur with agave nectar.

Regardless of its origin, the Margarita is a delicious and timeless cocktail. Celebrate National Margarita Day this February 22nd with one of the recipes below!

In the following recipes I used Don Julio Blanco, made from 100% blue agave and has crisp, citrusy notes that lend themselves beautifully to these cocktails and Don Julio Reposado which is barrel-aged for a smooth, rich finish.

Don Julio Tommy's Margarita

Tommy’s Margarita


• 1.5 oz. Don Julio Blanco Tequila

• 1 oz. Lime Juice

• 1 oz. Agave Syrup


Add all ingredients in shaker. Shake and strain over fresh cubed ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge, salt rim optional

Watermelon Margarita

Watermelon Margarita


• 1.5 oz. Blanco Tequila (Don Julio)

• 0.5 oz. Lime juice

• 0.25 oz. Agave syrup

• 2 Slices Watermelon


Muddle watermelon and agave syrup add rest of ingredients and shake well. Double strain over fresh ice or serve up. Garnish with a watermelon slice, salt rim optional.

Smokin' Margarita

Smokin’ Margarita


• 2 oz. Reposado Tequila (Don Julio)

• 1 oz. Mezcal (Union)

• ¾ oz. Cointreau

• ½ oz. Agave Syrup

• ¾ oz. Fresh Lime Juice

• 1 Egg White

• Black Lava Salt


Garnish rocks glass with black lava salt. Add all ingredients to mixing tin including egg white, dry shake until well combined, add ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice, garnish and serve.

Berry Margarita

Berry Margarita


• 1.5 oz. Blanco Tequila (Don Julio)

• 1 oz. Lime juice

• 1 oz. Triple sec

• 2 Strawberries

• 4 Raspberries


Muddle the strawberries and raspberries in a cocktail shaker. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice, shake, double strain over fresh ice or serve up. Garnish and serve, salt rim optional.

Passion Fruit Margarita with Tajín / salt rim

Passion Fruit Margarita


• 1.5 oz. Reposado Tequila (Don Julio)

• 1 oz. Lime juice

• 1 oz. Passionfruit syrup

• 1 oz. Passionfruit Puree

• Tajín + salt rim


Prepare and garnish rocks glass with Tajín + salt mixture on the rim. Combine all ingredients in shaker, and fill with ice, shake, double strain over fresh ice or serve up. Garnish and serve, salt rim optional.

**Make any margarita spicy by muddling jalapeño, or infuse your tequila or agave syrup with fresh jalapeño. A Tajin or spicy salt rim enhances spicy and sweet flavors.

** For a perfectly salted rim- fill a saucer with a quarter of an inch or so of kosher or sea salt (not iodized table salt). Next, moisten the rim of the glass with a lime wedge by cutting a shallow notch into the flesh of the fruit, then slipping it over the rim of the glass, as though to garnish it. Then draw the lime along the entire rim, squeezing gently until the rim is moistened. You want to make sure the salt goes on the outside of the glass only. Rather than pressing the top of the entire rim into the saucer try rolling the outer edge of the glass around the salted saucer. Tap off any excess.


About the Creator

Adrienne Smith

story teller

liquid professional

sparkle enthusiast

IG @giveadram

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