I just love cocktails that are deeply rooted in society (is that correct to say?), are known all over the world, but it’s origins are just not entirely clear. Who invented the drink, where does the name come from, how was it originally made? All questions that some cocktail-historians are finding the answer to and to many more questions.
So, where does the Margarita come from? Most people should know it is made of 3 ingredients: tequila, fresh lime and triple sec. You can serve it straight up, on the rocks, blended and with every variety of fruit imaginable to mankind, so what the original Margarita tasted like is something that will be discussed for a bit longer.
The most plausible story is that of Don Carlos. he was a bartender at Hussong’s Cantina, which is located in Ensenada, Mexico. As any bartender he liked playing around with ingredients to create new cocktails. One day, while mixing things together on a slow day, Margarita Henkel walked in. She was the daughter of a German ambassador and she lived nearby with her husband in Rancho Hamilton. In her, Don Carlos found a great victim to test his new mixture on: equal parts tequila, orange liqueur and lime, shaken and served on the rocks in a salt-rimmed glass. He named the drink after the first person to taste this: Margarita.
Another great story is that of Carlos ‘Danny’ Herrera. It was probably a big plus when your name was Carlos in these days for a bartender. He created the cocktail around 1947 at his Rancho La Gloria bar in Rosarito, Mexico. One time, he was visited by an actress called Marjorie King who drank no spirit but tequila. The same goes probably for every Mexican, but for a non-Mexican this was something else. Mr Herrera added then equal parts of lime and Cointreau after which he decided the drink could use a salt rim. He named this drink Margarita, which is the Spanish word for Marjorie.
A Margarita should be made with a good white Tequila, which should made from 100 % Agave. This will cost you quite a bit more, but the difference in taste completely justifies the price. When you have a crowd over, you can get away with using an ordinary Tequila Blanco, but do yourself a favour and buy one bottle of the good stuff. Hide it.
First you start with the garnish: cut a lime in half, take in your hand and rub it over the top 1/2 inch of your glass. Hold the glass upside-down and carefully sprinkle some salt on it. The salt will stick to the wet part, outside of the glass. It is important that the salt does not fall into the glass!!
This drink needs a good shake, so pour 50 ml of a good white Tequila, together with 25 ml of Triple Sec (preferably Cointreau) and 25 ml of fresh lime juice in a shaker. Add loads of ice, shake until ice cold and strain into a cocktail glass or, even better, a Margarita-coupe.
Note: the frozen Margarita will be covered by me in another post.