Some say bartender Carlos “Danny” Herrera invented the Margarita for the beautiful dancer and actress Marjorie King (who was allergic to all spirits except tequila). Others claim that Dallas socialite Margarita Sames invented the drink for Tommy Hilton at her vacation home in Acapulco, and he put the drink on the menu at all his hotels. Still others lay the Margarita at the feet of Santos Cruz at the Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas. That story goes, he created a “special” tequila and lime cocktail for the famous singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee. What we do know for sure is that the first published recipe appeared in 1953 in Esquire magazine and that it is a downright delicious drink.
In subsequent decades it’s become a happy hour staple and even started making appearances at chain restaurants like Chipotle, right next to the chips and guac. While Chipotle makes their version with quality ingredients, it is one of the exceptions. Many of these widely available iterations are made with readymade sweet and sour mix in place of all-natural fresh citrus juice and agave syrup. Fortunately, you don’t have to make that mistake. In our opinion, the Margarita should elevate tequila rather than hiding it under a bunch of sweeteners. Consequently, we like Julio Bermejo’s version (also known as the Tommy’s Margarita), which swaps out triple sec for agave syrup.
Mix it Up
Bored with the classic Margarita? Does that sour pucker of fresh lime make your mouth feel like you’ve eaten an entire box of Sour Patch Kids? Meet the Margarita’s easy going cousin, the Baja Gold. The drink swaps out lime juice for fresh pineapple juice and uses a reposado tequila instead of a blanco tequila for added depth.