The margarita is one of the most popular cocktails in America. It makes sense: margaritas are refreshing, balanced and infinitely diverse. Drink it tried and true with tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice with salt on the rim or get creative. Spice it up with a jalapeno infusion or sweeten the drink with seasonal fruit flavors. Hot day! A frozen margarita will definitely hit the spot.
Margaritas are here to have a great time. More than perhaps any other cocktail, they represent the spirit of unfussy joie de vie that acknowledges the potential for fun for every situation. That tiny voice in you that, from time to time, urges you to let your hair down….that voice drinks margaritas.
At Holy Tequila, we’re ready to indulge you with the best and most prolific margaritas on Hilton Head. Let us count the ways:
The most important absolute deal breaker is that the tequila needs to be 100 percent agave. This means that it’s made exclusively from the Blue Weber Agave plant, as it is supposed to be. If you are ever served a tequila or margarita that doesn’t say that on the label (here’s looking at you, Cuervo Gold) then you’re getting 51 percent agave and 49 percent industrial sugar. We’re sure you don’t want that! That’s the kind of tequila that can give you a bad headache and gives the spirit a bad name.
Beyond that, we enter into ‘personal taste’ territory and Holy Tequila has covered all the bases.
If you want all the flavor from the agave and the earth then you should try a blanco (sometimes called silver) which is unaged. If you want to blunt the bright, rawness of the agave then a reposado with its oak aging and vanilla and cinnamon tones might be the choice, anejo even more so.
We have a crafted margarita list that is well thought out. Certain tequilas are more for sipping and others are perfect for a margarita. If there’s too much character in the tequila it can actually distract from what’s great about margaritas, which is their snappy refreshment.
Fresh! That’s it. It seems obvious to us here at Holy Tequila….but I don’t know where you’ve been before.
Salt on the rim is a personal choice. The use of Kosher (or some other large grain) salt versus table salt is not. Table salt is too fine for rimming glasses, and will be much too salty. If you like that sour/salty kick, we will moisten the rim with a lime and then press gently onto a plate of Kosher salt.
You want a vodka based (triple sec) rather than brandy based (curacao) liqueur. But a curacao like Grand Marnier works well if you want a mellow tone. And yes, we have your back on that.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
We all know how popular the margarita is, but what’s the history behind this famous drink? We decided to do a little research.
Nobody knows who invented the margarita. There are dozens of stories. It’s a mystery drink. But it’s very likely that it included a beautiful woman.
One story goes that the drink was first concocted by Mexican restaurant owner Carlos (Danny) Herrera in 1938 for a beautiful Ziegfeld showgirl named Marjorie King. King was allergic to all forms of alcohol except tequila, but didn’t like to drink the spirit straight. Herrera supposedly solved the problem by adding salt and lime and thus created the world’s first margarita.
In October 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. The drink was made with equal parts tequila, Controy (a Mexican orange liqueur now known as Naranga in the US) and lime. 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.
Another claim is that Fransisco Morales created the margarita on July 1, 1942, in a bar called Tommy’s Place in the El Paso area. Morales was asked to create a Magnolia – a drink he didn’t know. Feigning confidence, he whipped up a drink that the customer loved. Mexico’s official news agency, Notimex, recognizes Morales’ claim. Later Morales moved to LA and became a milkman for 25 years.
In 1948 Margaret “Margarita” Sames was a rich, young Texas socialite and was hosting a Christmas party at her vacation home in Acapulco.
The story goes that Sames was challenged to create a cocktail and the result was the margarita. Supposedly, guests at the party included Nick Hilton, founder of the Hilton Hotel chain, as well as Joseph Drown, owner of the Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles, and Sheldon McHenry, the owner of the LA night spot Tail O’ the Cock. Sames credited her guests with helping to popularize the drink.
Or it may have been named for actress Rita Hayworth, who was offered a tequila, lime juice, salt concoction by an admiring bartender during a theatre gig in Tijuana in the 1940s. Heyworth’s real name was Margarita Cansino.
Or was it first served up in Galveston, Texas, to singer Peggy Lee. Her real name was Norma Egstrom. Peggy, however, is a traditional nickname for Margaret hence margarita.
All of the above are just the beginning; there are dozens of other stories about the margarita’s creation. Here are a few more in chronological order.
1930s: Agua Caliente Racetrack in Tijuana and Bertita’s Bar in Tasca, Mexico, both claimed to have created a margarita.
1935: A bartender at Las Dos Republicas in Matamoros, Mexico, supposedly created the drink for a patron named Marguerite Hemery. She loved the cocktail, and named the drink after her.
1936: According to Salvadore Negrete, his father Danny Negrete was a bartender at the Hotel Garci-Crespo in Puebla, Mexico. The drink was a wedding present to his brother’s fiance, Margarita. The drink was equal parts tequila, triple sec, and lime juice served over crushed ice.
1936-1937: John Durlesser was head barman at Tail O’ the Cock Restaurant (sound familiar) and claimed to have invented the cocktail as a tribute to a girlfriend of his who had passed away many years prior in a hunting accident. Durlesser recounted his story in a 1970s interview.
1937: “The Picador Cocktail” was published in London’s Cafe Royal Cocktail Book. The recipe called for tequila, triple sec, and lime juice, but not salt.
SOME OTHER NOTABLE DATES IN MARGARITA HISTORY
1945: Jose Cuervo is advertised in the United States with the tagline, “Margarita: it’s more than a girls name.”
1953: Esquire Magazine highlights the Margarita as the Drink of the Month.
1965: Tommy’s Margarita was invented by Julio Bermejo (no triple sec) who named it after his family’s Mexican restaurant and bar in San Francisco, the self-proclaimed “premier tequila bar on earth.”
1971: Mariano Martiney, owner of Mariano’s Mexican cuisine in Dallas, Texas, invented the world’s first frozen margarita machine. He was inspired by a local 7-11’s Slurpee machine and adapted the machine to work for margaritas.
It became a hit and other versions of the machine quickly emerged. The original margarita machine was donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in 2005.
So where does all this history leave us? We think it’s most likely that the margarita originated as a variation on the tequila daisy cocktail. A tequila daisy is made with tequila, lime, and grenadine. And the flower called a “Daisy” in English is called “Margarita” in Spanish. This mix over shaved ice was popular in the 1930s and 1940s.
Here at Holy Tequila we believe that lots of people probably did invent it. It’s a relatively simple drink (but that simplicity can become a disaster if not done right) that’s not a distant variation from reasonably well-known cocktails at the time. The fact that it was invented long ago and has stood the test of time is a testament to how great of a cocktail it is.
Bottom line: If you’re planning to waste away in Margaritaville anytime soon, you’ve got a lot of great possibilities at Holy Tequila.