National Margarita Day is February 22nd. That means margaritas and tacos will be half price in a bar near you. But instead of bringing you a list of my favorite margaritas (believe me, there are many), I thought I'd share a little about the history of the margarita as we know it.
Invented during the 1930's or 1940's, there are three claims to fame for the actual invention. One of the most popular stories is that Carlos "Danny" Herrera developed the drink in 1938 at his Tijuana-area restaurant, Rancho La Gloria. Herrera allegedly dreamed up the cocktail for one of his customers, an aspiring actress named Marjorie King who was allergic to all hard alcohol other than tequila. He combined the elements of a traditional tequila shot—a lick of salt and a wedge of lime—and turned them into a refreshing drink.
Another story names Margarita Sames, a wealthy Dallas socialite, the inventor. She is said to have made the drink for friends at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948. Tommy Hilton, founder of Hilton Hotels, was among her guests who eventually added the drink to the bar menu at his hotel chain.
Lastly, the first importer of Jose Cuervo in the United States advertised with the tagline, "Margarita: it's more than a girl's name," in 1945, three years before Sames claimed to have invented the drink, according to The Complete Book of Spirits by Anthony Dias Blue. Frozen margaritas were invented later in 1971 when a Dallas restauranteur, Mariano Martinez, converted a soft serve ice cream unit into a frozen margarita machine.
Since then, the margarita has developed into so many different flavors and varieties like Strawberry, Mango Margarita, and one of my favorites, the Pomegranate Margarita. It's one of my favorites and the most popular tequila-based drinks in the United States. So drink up and enjoy National Margarita Day!