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"Frieday" Fact: The Birth of the Margarita

November 19, 2010

Seems like every body has as story about why and when the Margarita came to fruition. They go back as far as 1934 before most of us were even a notion in the shade of the Sonoran desert. (I have no doubt that more stories are being concocted daily. Shaken, not stirred.) Here's a few that I grabbed from Wikipedia. Most of the stories center around a bartender, a starlet and the need to woo:
  • Barman "Willie" concocted the drink for a friend of the Melguizo family who employed him. Her name was Marguerite.
  • Daniel Negrete gifted the Margarita as a wedding present to Margarita, his sister-in-law.
  • Danny Herrera, yes a bartender, was en amor with Marjorie King, an American actress who hated taking tequila pure. Herrera mixed her up a softy.
  • Don Carlos Orozco crafted a saltier version Margarita Henkel, the daughter of the German Ambassador to Mexico.
  • Enrique Gutierrez, who lived in Tijuana, made it as his ultimate homage to actress Rita Hayworth, whose real name was Margarita Cansino.
  • (Riffing on the above) Francisco "Pancho" made for Hayworth when she was working at the Foreign Club in TJ.
  • Pancho Morales, bartender, invented the Margarita when he screwed up a Magnolia.
  • Santos Cruz created the drink for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee.
  • Margaret Sames, created the drink at her Acapulco bar, because so many celebs wanted to be "close to her". Yikes!
  • Thankfully, there's a simpler and more probably more viable explanation. According to David Wondrich, in his book "Imbibe", it's probably just a figurative and literal spanish translation of "Daisy". "The Daisy" was a popular sweet 'n sour cocktail in the US during the roaring 20's. When Prohibition hit the Yanks took their cravings south of the border and ordered up Daisies down that-a-way. With no whisky, rum or brandy on the shelf the bartenders substituted Tequila - what else? And you know what? It tasted pretty great. "Margarita" being the literal spanish translation of "Daisy" stuck. Call it a pre NAFTA success story.


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