The Margarita came to popularity in the 1930 and 40s as people who had fled to Mexico to escape Prohibition brought the recipe back with them. As with most classics, there are many claims to its origin, the veracity of each being equally impossible to prove. What seems clear is that it’s a relative of a popular drink from the pre-prohibition era: the Sidecar (which itself has origins in the Daisy and the Brandy Crusta). It makes sense that, with brandy being much harder to find in Mexico than tequila, people would substitute the local tipple. Little did they know they were giving birth to a drink that would soon surpass all of its ancestors combined in popularity.
I’ve left it out of the recipe here, but when I make margaritas at home, I like to add a splash of Mezcal, which is made from a different type of agave. The plant is dried in wood-fired kilns, so it gets some smokiness to it, kind of like the smoke you find in some scotches, though usually not as strong.
When you make margaritas, do yourself a favor and don’t buy sour mix. That stuff’s gross. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice and use curacao as a sweetener – Cointreau is the mostly commonly recommended, but any decent orange liqueur will work. Your taste buds will thank you!
Additionally, I usually rim the glass with chipotle salt instead of just salt. This adds a nice heat that really works well with the citrusy drink. To make it, just mix equal parts chipotle powder and salt!
This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.
The Margarita Cocktail Recipe
- Cocktail shaker
- Cocktail Strainer