The History of Everyone’s Favorite Margarita

Of all the drinks, dishes, and culinary wonders to come from Mexico, the Margarita is without a doubt the most widely loved, known, and heavily reinvented; though the classic Margarita includes tequila, triple sec orange liqueur, fresh lime juice, and a salt crusted rim there are many fruit based versions available across the world now!

Whether you have your Margarita on the rocks (shaken over ice) or blended (made into a frozen slush with crushed ice) you have no doubt wondered just where it came from at some point. Well… the truth is that there are many stories surrounding the advent of this drink; most of them include a beautiful woman or two (sorry for the spoiler!).

Showgirl Status

Dating back to 1938, this story is one of the most long-lived; it goes that Mexican restaurateur Carlos “Danny” Herrera created the drink at his eatery, Rancho la Gloria, for Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King. King frequented the establishment, found between Rosarito and Tijuana, but was allergic to most alcohols. Tequila was one of the few liquors she could drink and so Herrera sought to make a palatable drink from it for her. Thus the Margarita was born!

Political Connections

Another version states that the Margarita was created for Margarita Henkel, daughter of a German Ambassador, by bartender Don Carlos Orozco. Supposedly he loved to tinker with drinks, and when Henkel stopped by for a spell she was the first to try this concoction; thus he named it for her.

Ties to Texas

Some circles believe that it was, in fact, Margarita Sames (a Dallas Socialite with a home in Acapulco) who created this drink to serve to her guests when they strayed at her vacation home. Apparently it was especially loved by Tommy Hilton (of Hilton Hotels) who introduced it to his family business and so spread its acclaim and popularity.

Formerly the “Daisy”?

One of the more plausible explanations is that the Margarita is a twist on the Daisy (Margarita translating from Spanish as “Daisy”). The suggestion is that during prohibition Americans came to Mexico to drink and substituted liquors like Gin, Whisky, and Brandy with local ones like Tequila. Thus the Daisy became the Margarita!

Other Ideas

There are a few other suggestions, too; Jose Cuervo (one of the biggest names in tequila production) claims it was named after Rita de la Rosa, a Mexican Showgirl, by a bartender in 1938! Some say it was named for Rita Hayworth (real name Margarita Casino) when she was working in Tijuana in the 1940s….

Whatever the case, we can all agree that the Margarita is a wonderful drink which deserves much more credit that it really gets! If you want a taste of the real deal you can have it when you stay with the Villa del Palmar in Cancun; their cocktail lounge is one of the best around, and they do offer more than just a margarita or two!

So, which story do you think is the most convincing? Let us know in the comments section below!