Margarita time should be anytime. It’s always five o’clock somewhere, right? Believe it or not there is actually a National Margarita Day, and (you guessed it) it’s today!
There are many legends about the margarita’s history. While Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix’s bottle boasts that a beautiful Mexican showgirl named Rita improvized the drink, another accepted theory is that Willie, a bartender in Mexico City created the drink in 1934 and dedicated to a friend named Marguerite. Other stories claim that the drink was named for Rita Hayworth. No one really knows the truth. The drink was invented sometime in the 30s or 40s, and common themes among all stories are tequila, lime juice, Mexico and a girl whose name was some variation of Margarita.
An authentic margarita is a far cry from the sweet, fruity concoctions popular today. True margaritas have three ingredients: equal parts tequila blanco and Cointreau mixed with fresh lime juice. Margaritas are generally served over ice in a glass rimmed with salt. (Salt apparently cuts down on the “heat” associated with strong spirits.) To make it frozen, just add ice and blend. When you try this recipe, you’ll find it tastes a lot more like a real drink than a fruity cocktail.
Margaritas served in bars and restaurants today usually use sweetened lime juice, sour mix and triple sec (a cheaper version of Cointreau) in addition to your choice of tequila. Together these ingredients create a refreshing cocktail with some sweetness to take away from the lime and tequila bite, but the sugar also adds some extra calories. While they are a variation on the traditional Margarita recipe, on the rocks or frozen, they are still pretty darn tasty.
If you want to get more creative, add fruits to your margaritas. Strawberry is always a crowd-pleaser, but other fresh fruits, like melon, blood orange, pomegranate or passion fruit. In general, when fresh crushed fruit or sweet fruit juices are added to a margarita, the Cointreau (or triple sec) is eliminated. Sometimes lemon juice is substituted for lime to create the sweeter flavor and glasses are often rimmed with sugar instead of salt. Fruit margaritas are usually blended, and I’ve found the key to keeping the ice from separating from the liquor is over blending. Don’t pour it in a glass until it’s frothy and white.
Celebrate National Margarita Day with a simple original, a frozen margarita or a custom fruit-infused cocktail in your home or at a favorite watering hole. When five o’clock rolls around, save a seat for me in Margaritaville!