Tequila and Lime Margarita

THE MARGARITA: A Brief History of The Cocktail

Margaritas are the most popular cocktail in America. But where did they come from and why do we love them so much?

Margaritas, oh my! That ideal balance of sweet and sour that dances with delight on our taste sensations. The styles and varietals make this a very unique and wildly popular cocktail. Read on to learn more about everybody’s favorite drink, the margarita.

A Brief History of the Margarita

While there are many claims to the invention of this delicious drink, many reports say it all started when Carlos “Danny” Herrera created the very first margarita back in 1938 at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria in Tijuana, Mexico.

As the story goes, one of his patrons was an aspiring actress named Marjorie King. Danny believed that she was allergic to all hard liquor except tequila and so he created the margarita cocktail specifically for her.

According to Jose Cuervo, the cocktail was invented in 1938 by a bartender in honor of Mexican showgirl Rita de la Rosa.  

Another common origin tale begins the cocktail’s history at the legendary Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas, where, in 1948, head bartender Santos Cruz created the margarita for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee. He supposedly named it after the Spanish version of her name, Margarita.

Another top contender for the inventor title is Margarita Sames, a wealthy Dallas socialite who claimed she whipped up the drink for friends at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948, according to The Smithsonian. Among her well-connected guests was Tommy Hilton, who eventually added the drink to the bar menu at his hotel chain.

The margarita has gained popularity all around the world and may perhaps serve as Texas’ official cocktail. No matter how you prefer your ritas—shaken, stirred, frozen, or on the rocks—be sure to sip on one this month and express your gratitude to those who came up with this delectable alcoholic beverage.

More on the Margarita

Margarita is the Spanish word for “daisy”. Tequila, triple sec, and either lime or lemon juice make up a margarita. It can be served without ice (straight up), shaken with ice (on the rocks), or blended with ice (frozen margarita).

The Jimmy Buffett song “Margaritaville” from 1977 furthered the popularity of the margarita cocktail, which was featured as Esquire magazine’s “Drink of the Month” for December 1953. It was cited as the most well-liked mixed drink in America in 2004.

The original margarita recipe is 1 part white tequila, 1⁄2 part Cointreau, and 1⁄2 part fresh squeezed lime juice. However, mixologists have came up with numerous varietals of the concoction over the years using flavored tequila liqueurs. There’s a margarita drink for all tastebuds!

National Margarita Day 

The popularity of the margarita has grown exponentially over the years and it’s now celebrated with a whole day dedicated to it, National Margarita Day. It falls on February 22nd and is a perfect excuse to indulge in your favorite margarita. 

Todd McCalla is the creator of this special day. According to Todd, the goal of National Margarita Day is to “spread his love for margaritas around the world.”  


Life’s too short not to enjoy a margarita every now and then! Do you offer this cocktail at your restaurant or bar? Southwest Restaurant Equipment has margarita and other cocktail glasses to serve up your favorite adult beverages. Don’t forget to check out our bar supplies as well like this Admiral Craft GR-100 margarita glass rimmer or this Grindmaster-Cecilware MP frozen drink machine!

Admiral Craft GR-100 margarita glass rimmer
Grindmaster-Cecilware MP frozen drink machine, non-carbonated, cylinder type
By Leslie Radford
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