The Margarita is one of the most popular cocktails in North America—for good reason. Combining the tang of lime and the sweetness of orange liqueur with the distinctive strength of tequila, the classic Margarita strikes all of the right keys. What’s less certain, however, is the drink’s origin.
Some say the cocktail was invented in 1948 in Acapulco, Mexico, when a Dallas socialite combined blanco tequila with Cointreau and lime juice for her guests. Others say that the Margarita, which translates to daisy flower in Spanish, was an inevitable twist on the Daisy, a cocktail template involving spirit, citrus, orange liqueur and soda. Make one with tequila, leave out the soda, and you get a Margarita. But regardless of how or when it was invented, the Margarita has earned its way into drinkers’ hearts.
When choosing your tequila, quality is key. Opt for a blanco made from 100% blue agave. If it doesn’t say this on the label, it’s mixto—a tequila composed of up to 49% mystery sugars. And although many people reach for premade sour mix, using fresh lime juice will result in a vastly superior drink. Then there’s the orange liqueur. What is a mandatory ingredient for some is rendered optional by others, who replace the sweetener with agave syrup. Go that route, and you get the Tommy’s Margarita, which was created in the early ’90s at Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco.
When talking Margaritas, it’s easy to get lost in stories about who invented the drink or become mired in debates over salt versus no salt; blended or frozen; triple sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier. In our opinion, this version is the tried-and-true recipe for the best Margarita you can make. Memorize it, and you’ll always impress.
- 2 ounces blanco tequila
- 1/2 ounce orange liqueur
- 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce agave syrup
- Garnish: lime wheel
- Garnish: kosher salt (optional)
Add tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and agave syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
Garnish with a lime wheel and kosher salt (optional).