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Celebrating the Margarita on International Margarita Day

Monday 22 February is International Margarita Day, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to have some fun with this classic cocktail in your venue and here are some facts about the Margarita.

The story of this cocktail of tequila, triple sec and lime juice is a mysterious one and no-one really knows who invented it.

In 1938, Mexican restaurant owner Carlos (Danny) Herrera made a cocktail for Ziegfield showgirl Marjorie King. Apparently she was allergic to all forms of alcohol except tequila but didn’t like to drink it straight. So, Danny solved the tricky problem by adding salt and lime.

Texas socialite Margaret (aka Margarita) could have been the brainchild, mixing one up at a party in Acapulco in 1948; or, it could have even been named for actress Rita Hayworth, whose real name was Margarita Cansino, during a theatre gig in Tijuana in the 1940s; or it may be attributed to singer Peggy Lee, as Peggy was a traditional nickname for Margaret, hence “margarita”. 

There are others who believe the Margarita evolved from a cocktail known as the “daisy”. Cocktail historians say the Daisy was a mix of alcohol, citrus juice and grenadine, served over shaved ice and was popular during the 1930s and ‘40s. Patrons drank gin daisies, whiskey daisies and tequila daisies – with the original recipe calling for tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and a splash of soda. The Mexican-influenced Daisy became known by its Spanish name, Margarita, which means Daisy.

Texan restauranteur, Mariano Martinez, started serving frozen margaritas in 1971 and the new drink was apparently so popular bartenders struggled to keep up with demand. So Martinez and a friend converted a soft-serve ice-cream machine into a large-scale Margarita maker. The machine now resides for all to see in the Smithsonian National Museum.

The cocktail is hugely popular in America – with 185,000 drinks served every hour.

If you’re looking to make some margin on Monday, consider the world’s most expensive Margarita, known as the Silk Stocking Margarita and made by New York City’s Selena Rosa restaurant in 2018. It cost $2,500 and was made with a bottle of Clase Azul Ultra Anejo Tequila.

The world’s largest Margarita was made in Las Vegas. The Flamingo Hotel’s Margaritaville Casino in Las Vegas holds the honour of making the largest Margarita in the world. The enormous drink was 32, 176 litres and “served” in a 5.18-metre-tall tank. It took 60 people 300 hours to create. The drink, called the “Lucky Rita” was created to celebrate the opening of the casino in 2011. The mixture included 8078.069 litre of tequila, 8638.31 litres of Margaritaville Margarita mix, 2763.35 litres triple sec, and 12870.4 litres gallons of Lemon-x Margarita mix.

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