Thursday, February 26, 2015

Is It Margarita Time?

The most classic of tequila cocktails has to be the Margarita, this robust cocktail can be enjoyed straight up, on the rocks or frozen.   There are also lots of variations so let's look at Margaritas.

The Margarita Cocktail

Summer time is when the Margarita really holds its own. There are not many cocktails that are robust enough to be enjoyed in a frozen form as the Margarita is. A popular cocktail for Mexican parties, pool parties or cocktail parties the Margarita can be easily prepared by the pitcher or by the glass.

With so many flavored liquors on the market the Margarita has been transformed with the different varieties available, we have several recipes on this site just waiting for you to try.

Little is known about the true origin of this Mexican cocktail, but the name Margarita is known the world over. It is such a popular cocktail in the USA that it even has it's own national day to celebrate.

Now why don't you take a walk with me through the history of the Margarita and then we can look at what makes the perfect Margarita. Next we can party on through a number of recipes and useful or useless facts along the way. Are you ready to Party Margarita style?

History of the Margarita

Margarita's Origins

There is so much confusion over the origin of the Margarita that we will probably never know for sure who invented it. There are a number of claims and legends and they date from the middle of the 1930s through to the mid 1940s. As long as we can enjoy the drink, do we really care who invented it???

For those that do, please read on:

Story 1

One day back in 1936 a man by the name of Danny Negrete opened a bar at the Garci Crispo Hotel with his brother, David. The day before Danny's brother David was about to be married, Danny presented his sister-in-law-to-be with a new drink. This concoction was made of equal quantities of tequila, cointreau and lime juice and in honor of the occasion he named it after the bride-to-be. What was her name? Margarita, of course!

Story 2

At a bar called Rancho La Gloria there was a barman by the name of Carlos "Danny" Back in 1938, Herrera had a regular customer by the name of Marjorie King. Now Marjorie was an actress and showgirl who claimed to be allergic to all hard liquor except tequila. Not only was tequila the only liquor she could drink, but she also hated drinking it straight.

Being a good barman Danny tried to come up with a delicious drink for her. Eventually he came up with a drink that was 3 parts tequila, two parts cointreau and one part fresh lemon juice. He named his drink the Margarita.

Story 3

As always this story starts with a barman, this barman was called Francisco "Pancho" Morales and he claimed to have invented the Margarita on July 4th 1942. He was working in a bar called Tommy's Place in Juarez in Mexico when a lady requested a Magnolia. Pancho wasn't very good at remembering the contents of different cocktails, but remembered that it had cointreau in it.

Not to be deterred he mixed the cointreau with tequila and lime juice. This creation was quite a hit, although how he came up with the name Margarita is a mystery.

Story 4

This story has a heroine in it instead of a hero as the only woman who claims to have invented the Margarita was Margaret Sames. Margaret claims to have created the Margarita in her Acapulco bar. She mixed one part cointreau, two parts tequila and one part fresh lime juice together. Then she added the garnish, a rim of coarse salt. The idea for rimming her glasses with salt came from knowing that her customers enjoyed a lick of salt before drinking their tequila.

She apparently simply called the cocktail "the drink" until her husband presented her with some glasses that had her name (in Spanish) engraved on them. Margaret in Spanish is, of course, Margarita.

There are numerous other claims including that it was named after Rita Hayworth (actress) and Peggy Lee (singer), but it will probably always remain a mystery.


Margarita Drink Elements

The Balance of the Flavor

What sets the Margarita apart from other cocktails is the balance between the sweet and sour. In the classic Margarita the sweetness comes from the cointreau and the sour comes from the lime juice. It is important to remember to keep this balance when experimenting.

When adding fruit to the equation you must avoid over complicating the recipe by adding too much fruit as it will throw off the sweet/sour balance. One way to avoid this is by adding extra lime juice, another is to use a different liquor to the cointreau. A great example of this is in the Blueberry Margarita where cherry brandy is used instead of cointreau to keep the flavor balance.

Margarita Ingredients

The ingredients of the classic Margarita are tequila, cointreau and lime juice.
101 MargaritasAlthough there are so many different recipes which call for different ingredients.

In this book (opposite) by mixologist Kim Haasarud you will find (as the title suggests) a plethora of Margarita recipes.

As the book quips Margarita's put the happy into happy hour.

If after reading this site you are hungary for more Margarita information then buy the book!


A Mexican Spirit

Not all tequila is created equal and if you want to mix a great Margarita then you need to use good ingredients.

There are actually four main types of tequila which are blanco, gold, reposado and anejo.

Types of Tequila

Blanco Tequila

Blanco or silver tequila is clear in color and has the most distinctive tequila taste and strength.

Gold Tequila

Gold tequila is blanco tequila that has had other flavorings added to it (usually caramel flavors). This leads to a more mellow flavor.

Reposado Tequila

Reposado means rested and reposado tequila is basically blanco tequila which has been aged in white oak casks for between two months and one year. The result is a tequila that has a delicate golden color.

Anejo Tequila

Anejo means aged. Anejo Tequila is blanco tequila that has been aged in white oak casks for over a year. This tequila has a real depth of flavor as it has been rested like a good wine.


Information on This Orange Liqueur

Instead of using a sugar syrup as some cocktails do such as the daiquiri, the Margarita gets it's sweet element from cointreau.

Cointreau is a liqueur made from both sweet and bitter orange zest. By using an alcoholic sweetner to the mix the result adds another depth to the Margarita.

Cointreau is often replaced by other sweet liqueurs when different types of Margarita are made, attention must be paid to keep the sweet/sour balance however.

Lime Juice

For the perfect Margarita only fresh lime juice will do. It may be easier to use a bottled lime juice such as Roses, but these are usually sweeter than the fresh juice. This throws off the sweet and sour balance that is so crucial to making the best Margarita.

Citrons Verts


To get more juice out of your limes roll them on the counter top first before squeezing.

Squeezing the Fresh Lime Juice

As I said earlier using FRESH lime juice is the key and I really recommend getting a lime or citrus juice press to help with this, here's one in the style that I like -

No.1 Lemon Squeezer - Premium Quality Stainless Steel Citrus Juicer - Jumbo Size Professional Press
These citrus juicers come in different sizes, I have the lemon juicer myself and I find it works well with both lemons and limes so don't feel you have to get the smaller size for limes.

Save yourself a bit of money to put towards your other ingredients and just get the lemon citrus squeezer for your cocktail bar.

To Rim or Not To Rim

A Margarita Quandary

Whether or not to rim your margarita glasses is a personal choice. Some people do not believe that a drink is a true margarita unless they get the salty flavor from the rim. For some people however, the salt is too harsh.

A little trick if you do not like really salty flavours is to add a little sugar in with the salt.

It is important to realise that when we talk about salting the rims we are not talking about using table salt. It is very important that a natural salt is used. There are a number of flavored and colored salts on the market that are specifically designed for rimming glasses.

There are so many different flavors of margaritas on the market, that sometimes sugar should be substituted for the salt on some drinks. A chocolate margarita for example is really NOT suited to a salt rim!

The classic way to salt a Margarita is to rub a lime around the rim of the glass and then to dip the glass into a saucer/plate of salt.

Now however you can buy rimmers which are designed to make the job easier.

Winco GR-3 3-Tier Glass Rimmer with Color Box
I must admit I've never actually used a rimmer although I'd like to get one in the future as they do look better than saucers when you're making margaritas en-masse at a party!

How To Drink Your Margarita?

Margarita Bar

Straight Up

A margarita straight up is when you put all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake well. You then strain the Margarita into the glass and serve.

On the Rocks

An on the rocks Margarita is when you make the margarita as above. However you put ice cubes into the glass before straining the drink over the top.


A frozen Margarita is a great drink to have on a hot summers day. To make a frozen margartia you will need a blender and ice, further instructions can be found further down, along with some recipes.

Margarita Recipes


3 parts tequila blanco 
1 part fresh lime juice
1 part Cointreau

Rim your margarita glass with coarse salt. Place all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Next strain the contents into the glass taking care not to dislodge the salt rim. Garnish with a lime wheel if desired.

Margarita Royale

3 parts tequila blanco 
1 part lime juice 
1 part creme de cassis

This drink does not need to have a salt rim, but using the "Apple Martini Cocktail Sugar" can give you a delicious complimentary taste sensation. Shake all of the ingredients together with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into the margarita glass to serve.

Top Shelf Margarita

3 parts tequila anejo 
1 part lime juice 
1 part Grand Marnier

Rim your margarita glass with coarse salt. Place all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Next strain the contents into the glass taking care not to dislodge the salt rim. Garnish with a lime wheel if desired.

Frozen Margaritas

On a hot summers day you can't go past a frozen drink. The problem with alot of frozen cocktails is that they end up tasting too watery. The tequila in Margaritas, however, is robust enough to make the transistion to a frozen drink easily.

To make a thirst-quenching Margarita you first need to put all of the ingredients into a blender, next add enough ice to cover the blends and blend. Turn the blender off and add more ice then blend. Keep doing this until you get the required consistency.

The alternative is to invest in the Margaritaville DM1000 which will help you to achieve the best consistency every time.

Margaritaville DM1000 Frozen Concoction MakerThis machine actually shaves the ice instead of chopping it which gives it a lovely “restaurant quality” consistency that is sometimes missing from frozen Margaritas made at home.

It is a really easy to operate machine, simply fill the ice chamber with ice, pour the drink mixture into the pitcher and set the machine to how many servings you want and away you go. Perfect Margaritas everytime.

You can even use these to make frozen Daiquiris or alcohol-free "slushies" to help cool you down during a hot summer.

One point to make is that it is a big machine so measure up before buying. Another thing to keep in mind is that it is heavy, so a top shelf position would be a bad idea.

If you want to serve frozen drinks to your friends however, then the Margaritaville DM1000 is a must have.

Frozen Margarita Recipes

Frozen Strawberry Margarita

3 parts tequila blanco 
1 part lime juice 
1 part creme de fraise 
3 parts strawberries 

Pour the ingredients into the Margaritaville DM1000, fill the ice chamber and turn on the machine.

Alternatively add the ingredients, along with ½ cup of ice to a blender and blend until the required consistency.

Kiwi Margarita

2 oz tequila 
2 oz pineapple juice 
1 oz triple sec 
½ oz lime juice
½ oz simple syrup 
1 kiwi fruit, peeled and quartered 
Garnish: half kiwi slice 
Optional garnish: coarse sugar

Combine the ingredients in a blender with ½ cup ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and garnish with a half kiwi slice. If desired, coat the rim of the glass with sugar.

More Margarita Recipes

I love drinking coronas on a warm summers day, so when I heard of a beer margarita.....well, I just had to share it with you.

Beer Margartia

6 oz blanco tequila
12 oz corona (can use another beer, but why would you?)
6 oz frozen limeade concentrate ice cubes (about 6)
lime flavored salt

Rim the glass with the lime flavored salt. Pour all of the other ingredients into the blender and blend well. Pour into the prepared glass and enjoy!

More Fruity Margarita Recipes

Watermelon Raspberry Margarita

1½ oz watermelon puree
¾ oz raspberry puree
2 oz blanco tequila
¾ oz cointreau 
1 oz fresh lime juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a Margarita glass to serve.

Blueberry Margarita

3 parts gold tequila
1 part lime juice 
½ part cherry brandy
1 ½ parts blueberries

Combine all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and then strain into a Margarita glass to serve.

Apple Margarita

3 parts tequila blanco
1 part lime juice
1 part sour apple liqueur

Combine all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a Margarita glass to serve.

Apricot & Passionfruit Margarita

3 parts gold tequila
1 part lime juice
½ part apricot brandy
1 part passionfruit pulp

Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a Margarita glass to serve

Learn how to make the perfect Margarita & other Margarita recipes.

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