With its simple recipe and easy-to-love flavors, the Margarita is a cocktail that imbibers worldwide know and love. A staple at dives, Mexican restaurants, and high-end cocktail bars alike, the Margarita is one of the most versatile and beloved drinks out there.
But if you think you know everything about the popular tequila drink, think again. Between its mysteriously murky past and the countless riffs and inventions it has inspired, there’s always something new to learn about the classic cocktail. Read on for 10 things you should know about the Margarita.
Among tequila drinks, the Marg reigns supreme.
According to Drinks International, the Margarita has ranked as the No. 1 most ordered tequila cocktail in the world since 2015. In 2021, it was the fifth most popular drink worldwide, moving up two spots from the year prior.
America drinks a lot of Margaritas.
In fact, the Margarita has been the nation’s favorite cocktail for five years running. A study from 2008 even found that, on average, America consumes nearly 185,000 Margaritas per hour. No wonder tequila sales are soaring.
Its origins are a mystery.
The story of who created the Margarita has a complicated answer. There are more than a few inventive imbibers who claim to have created the popular sipper, including multiple bartenders, restaurateurs, and socialites. While Carlos “Danny” Herrera, owner of Rancho La Gloria restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, claims to have used the tequila shot as inspiration for the first Margarita in 1939, Margarita Sames, a Texan socialite, claims to have popularized the drink on a trip to Acapulco in 1948. And bartender Danny Negrete is also often credited with creating the Margarita as a wedding gift for his sister. While we may never know who really created the Margarita, many bartenders and historians believe that the drink is unlikely to have been a Mexican invention.
It may be named after a flower.
While it’s possible that the drink was named after a woman named “Margarita,” the drink may also be named after a popular Prohibition cocktail called the Daisy, since Margarita translates to daisy in Spanish. Plus, the Daisy cocktail is quite similar to the Margarita. The only difference is that it calls for brandy rather than tequila.
It’s proof that good things come in threes.
A true Margarita requires just three simple ingredients: tequila, lime juice, and triple sec. No added sweetener necessary.
It inspired an influential invention.
While a classic Margarita is served on the rocks, bartenders have long been blending up their Margs and serving them frozen. But after hearing complaints from his guests about inconsistent frozen cocktails, one restaurant owner got crafty. In 1971, Mariano Martinez tinkered with a soft-serve ice cream machine to create the world’s first frozen Margarita maker. While this machine was revolutionary in its own right, you can also thank Martinez for the frozen Daiquiris, Frosé, and Pinot Freez-io we all know and love today.
Fresh limes are non-negotiable.
When making fresh Margs at home, you may be tempted to use bottled lime juice to avoid the laborious task of juicing by hand. But pros insist that fresh lime juice is the key to a great Margarita. If you’re worried about getting hand cramps from squeezing all those limes, it may be time to invest in a good citrus juicer.
It’s all about ratios.
The difference between a good Marg and a great Marg lies in ingredient ratios. Too much lime, and you’ll throw off the whole concoction. Not enough triple sec, and you’ll end up with a drink that’s far too tart. For a foolproof Marg, VinePair recommends using 1 ¾ parts tequila to 1 part lime juice to ¾ part orange liqueur.
It’s often reinvented.
Imbibers love the Margarita so much, they’ve used the drink as inspiration for countless riffs and variations. From the Tommy’s Margarita, which uses agave rather than triple sec, to the Skinny Margarita, which subs fresh OJ for orange liqueur, there are endless ways to riff on the Marg. While some mixologists add a little (or a lot) of spice, others incorporate avocado into the recipe (trust us). No matter how you mix them, Margs are always delicious.
There’s a right and wrong way to salt your Marg’s rim.
While you might be used to salting the entire rim of your Marg, bartenders advise salting only a segment of your glass to avoid an overly salty mouthful. Pros also suggest only salting the outside of your glass to avoid salt falling into the drink. (Just please don’t rim with sugar; you’re better than that).