Where are you, Margarita?

Looking for the origins of the famous cocktail

May 2017

Georgina Luck

Much has been said and little has been concluded about the origins of the Margarita, the intoxicating (in the literal and figurative sense of the word) cocktail made from tequila, lime juice and triple sec (preferably Cointreau) and served in a salt-rimmed glass.

Some say it dates back to 1938, when Carlos “Danny” Herrera mixed it at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria in Tijuana for Marjorie King, a young actress allergic to any liquor that wasn’t tequila.

Others attribute it to Margarita Sames, a rich Dallas heiress who invented while vacationing in Acapulco. Or to Don Carlos Orozco, a barman who created the drink in his Ensenada bar, Cantina Hussongs, for Margarita Henkel, the German ambassador’s daughter.

There are also stories worthy of film. Seventy five years ago, a Tijuana waiter was fascinated with the beauty of a young dancer whose name was Margarita Carmen Cansino, the daughter of a Spanish dancer and an Irish mother. The waiter created a drink bearing her name in her honor, mixing triple sec, lime juice and tequila. The young girl would become Rita Hayworth, one of the most emblematic actresses of Hollywood’s gilded age.

Regardless of its true origins, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (which commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French troops at the Battle of Puebla in 1862), we asked our travelers for their recommendations on “the best Margarita they have ever had.”

Los Angeles
Skinny Margarita at Candela Taco Bar

“It’s the most amazing skinny Margarita I’ve ever had, made from freshly squeezed limes. The acidity of the lime blends perfectly with the sweetness of the orange for a total experience.”
Mónica Escobar, publicist

831 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles

Mexico City
Mango Margarita at Shrimp Market

“My favorites, especially after a delicious Mexican meal. The best part is the combination of the mango with chamoy (ground chili that rims the glass), which is spicy but yummy. Drinking it slowly is priceless. One thing, the tequila has to be good, and preferably, white.”
Tere Aguilera, journalist

Medellin #194 Esq. José Alvarado, Roma Norte, México DF.

Ensenada, México
Traditional Margarita at Cantina Hussongs

“The atmosphere is priceless. It’s an old cantina with live entertainment and tons of photos of all the people who’ve been there. It may be the oldest cantina in Mexico. It’s never closed since the 1880s. I drink mine on the rocks.”
Sean Valadez, COO ACA Marketing

Avenida Ruiz 113, Zona Centro, Ensenada.

San Antonio, TX
La Dosarita at Quarry Hofbrau

“A fusion of Texan recipes. In a huge glass with salt, you dunk a bottle of your favorite beer into the traditional frozen Margarita--with premium tequila. I drink it with a Dos Equis. There’s nothing better to accompany a traditional Texas barbecue or the best Mexican food North of the border.”
Eileen Kret, consultant

7310 Jones Maltsberger Road, San Antonio

Smoke Margarita at Maza Azul Mexican restaurant

“It has lime juice, mescal, orange liquor and Serrano peepers cut in small slices. Everything is shaken to perfection to create that delicious balance of flavors with a not to spicy touch.”
Nadia Hernández, PR director, CMN

2901 West Diversey Avenue, Chicago


More Food & Drink

Turkey Talk-Line Salvages Thanksgiving Turkeys

A Taste of Israel

The Micro-Restaurant Trend Is Growing

Holiday Cheers