Margaritas may very well be one of Mexico’s most infamous contributions to American cuisine (for better or worse, that list also includes tacos and enchiladas) and believe it or not, the tequila cocktail has its very own holiday: National Margarita Day, which is celebrated annually on February 22.
There’s quite a bit of debate surrounding when and where the classic margarita was invented, and several people claim to have created it. Some say that a Mexico City bartender named Willie first blended the cocktail in 1934 and named it for his friend, Marguerite Hemery. Others attribute the cocktail to Texan socialite Margaret ‘Margarita” Sames, who mixed up her invention for a house full of guests –including Hilton Hotel chain owner Nick Hilton – while on Christmas vacation in Alcapulco in 1948. In a interview with the San Antonio News-Express in 1994, Sames said that the rum-based cocktails she had enjoyed while on vacation in Cuba inspired her to create a refreshing pre-lunch apertif using tequila.
“After all, a person can only drink so many beers or so many Bloody Marys, or screwdrivers or whatever,” Ames told the paper. “Tequila is my favorite drink in the world–always has been. And I had tasted Cointreau (an orange-based liqueur imported from France) and liked the taste of it, so I decided to combine the two.”
Whether you like yours frozen, on the rocks and with or without a dusting of salt on the rim, there’s no argument regarding the fact that the margarita is one of the most popular cocktails on drink menus across the country. And while the classic margarita is traditionally made with tequila, lime juice and orange-flavored liqueur, the margarita now exists in dozens – even hundreds – of variations with the addition of spices, fruit juices and other spirits. In celebration of National Margarita Day, here are a few recipes, perfect with which to toast to the holiday on Friday. ¡Salud!
The Partida Margarita
by Tequila Partida
1 ½ ounces Tequila Partida (Blanco or Reposado)
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice (the juice of one whole lime)
¾ ounces Partida Agave Nectar (to taste)
¾ ounces pure water
Preparation: Shake all ingredients with ice in standard bar shaker. Taste. Add additional lime juice if you prefer more tartness; add more agave nectar for more sweetness. Serve in glass on rocks. No garnish, no salt.
Casa Herradura’s Cayenne and Mango Margarita
2 oz of aged tequila, like Herradura Reposado
½ oz agave nectar
½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz mango juice
Cayenne salt for garnish (mix cayenne to salt ratio of 1:4)
Preparation: Gently wipe a lime wedge round the rim of a chilled coupe glass and lightly press into a plate of cayenne salt, take care to shake off any lumps of cayenne. Place add liquid ingredient into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled coupe glass taking care not to disturb the cayenne salt rim.
Spiced Pear Margarita
3/4 oz Fidencio Classico Mezcal
3/4 oz Pear Eau de vie
1.5 oz spiced pear puree
1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Preparation: Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker, shake vigorously with ice and serve in a martini glass with a sliced pear garnish. Makes one cocktail.
For pear puree:
2 whole pears peeled and diced
1 quart of water
2 cinamon sticks
2 star anise fruits
Preparation: Place all ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Blend all ingredients and strain. Cool and use for pear margarita.
Passion Fruit Margarita
3 cups passion fruit juice
Juice of 4 limes
2 ½ cups tequila reposado
½ cup Grand Marnier
Fresh raspberries, for garnish
Preparation: Combine all of the ingredients except the raspberries in a bowl and stir well. Refrigerate until ready to use. Pour into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously to combine. Strain into margarita glasses over ice and garnish with raspberries. Makes 8 drinks.