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Cocktails

Cocktail Nerdom: It's National Margarita Day!

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Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 12:10 PM
click to enlarge Margarita at Yxta Cocina Mexicana - DAINA BETH SOLOMON
  • Daina Beth Solomon
  • Margarita at Yxta Cocina Mexicana

See also: 5 Best Margaritas In L.A.

We all know that the true national margarita day is Cinco De Mayo, but because every food thing under the sun must have a day of its own (Why? Who the hell knows?), today is the official National Margarita Day. This seems a tad counter-intuitive. If it were margarita day in, say, New Zealand, where it's the height of summer, that might make sense. But in most of the U.S., where there are blizzards raging as we speak, it's basically still national Scotch month.

Luckily for us, we live here in sunny Southern California, where a margarita always goes down well. And instead of celebrating today with the zillion disgusting sounding margarita mix/recipe PR pitches we've received over the past week, I thought we'd instead take a look at the history of the margarita. Or, that is, the dueling histories.

Even the most prevalent story has different versions. In one, a guy named Carlos "Danny" Herrera came up with the drink at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria in Tijuana in the late 1930s. In this version, the drink was made for the actress Marjorie King, who was allergic to all booze except tequila. Herrera translated her first name to the Spanish Margarita to name the drink.

Another similar version says that the bartender was Don Carlos Orozco, the bar was Hussong's Cantina, the location was Ensenada, and the year was 1941. The woman the drink was prepared for in this version was Margarita Henkel, the daughter of the German ambassador.

And then there's the Dallas socialite, Margarita Sames, who claimed to have invented the drink at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948. This claim has been disputed though, with proof: Apparently Jose Cuervo advertised its tequila in the U.S. in 1945, three years before Sames said she invented the drink, with the tagline, "Margarita: it's more than a girl's name."

There are other stories, from Texas, and from people claiming that the drink is simply a Daisy remade with tequila instead of brandy and brought about by imbibers heading over the border during Prohibition -- with the cross-cultural drinking bringing the drink about.

Whatever the origin, we're happy we live somewhere sunny and warm enough to toast to this silly holiday. Cheers.

See also: 5 Best Margaritas In L.A.


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