Origin Of The Margarita In Dispute

But we have some theories

There are about as many stories about the origin of the margarita cocktail as there are bars that serve them. Some of the most interesting stories to us Gringos here in Baja are, of course, the ones that trace the origin to Baja California.

margarita.JPGOne account says that, in 1948, Danny Herrera, a renowned Mexican bartender at the Riviera del Pacifico Hotel and Casino in Ensenada, was smitten by Marjorie King, a Ziegfield girl and B actress who couldn’t handle Mexican tequila straight up. Herrera mixed one part tequila, one part Triple Sec and a third part fresh lime juice. Marjorie, who liked to be called Margarita when she was in Mexico, loved it.  The cocktail quickly became popular, eventually becoming one of the world’s most famous party drinks.

And version goes like this: Just an hour north, in Tijuana, Enrique Bastate Gutierrez  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 delicious cocktail. This was obviously before Hayworth adopted her screen name, which dates the origin of the margarita back to mid 1930.

Now to put a bit of confusion into the above claims, I recently heard about an entirely different story about this traditionally Mexican cocktail. Bartender Pancho Morales, working at a bar in Juarez named Tommy’s Place, was asked by a U.S. customer to mix a magnolia. (That’s equal parts of bourbon and Cointreau, a dash of sugar syrup and soda water and garnished with a twist of orange peel.) Pancho didn’t remember any of the ingredients other than the Cointreau so he improvised by adding lime juice and tequila and named his new creation after another flower, the margarita.

As with the origin of the margarita cocktail, recipes come in an enormous variation of strength and brand. A good margarita, on ice or straight up, never tastes better then when served on a sunny patio around a pool or on the beach. My favorite southern Baja recipe is two parts of white tequila, one part of Cointreau and one part of fresh squeezed lime and some sea-salt to balance it off.

If you want to tone it down a notch or keep your weight under control, try a margarita light. This concoction saves calories as well as your mental and physical facilities. Take 1 1/2 oz. tequila, 2 oz. diet lemon-lime soda, 3 oz. diet lemonade, a splash of lime juice on 1 cup of ice.

For a dazzling array of other margarita recipes, there is a book called 101 Margaritas by Kim Haasarud. It’s around 10 dollars at Amazon. This is an amazing compilation of margarita recipes with one for every color coordinated occasion and events throughout the year. A margarita is, next to tequila and Corona, the epitome of a Mexican drink, which has become incredibly popular on both sides of the border. Cheers!