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History of the classic Margarita

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1929-1948 | A place lost to the sands of time

There are more variations, inventions, and legends connected with this cocktail's origins than any other – never mind all the possible Margaritas who inspired bartenders to create this eternal drink.

From the perspective of technique, the Margarita is the perfection of 1862's Brandy Crust cocktail, whose algorithm is followed by many other famous latter-day mixes: White Lady, Kamikaze, Side Car...the list goes on. In the Margarita's case, improvement came in the form of lime, and the traditional sugared rim gave way to salt.

But even here, the Margarita did not appear immediately: the first mix of tequila, lime, and a salty crust was introduced in 1937 in IBA president William J. Tarling's Café Royal Cocktail Book, and had an awfully masculine name: the Picador. Only in 1952 did the cocktail appear in an issue of Esquire under the name Margarita. The special glass for the cocktail as we know it today appeared later than the drink itself: initially, the Margarita was poured into a "champagne coupe". The Coupette Glass owes its form not to a feminine profile, but to the dish in which guacamole is traditionally served.

As far as cocktail trends are concerned, the Margarita has always been able to adapt with the passage of time. In the 1990s, a "frozen" version of the cocktail enjoyed wild popularity, prepared in a blender with crushed ice. Today, in the age of cocktail purism, the Tommy's Margarita is enjoying a surge of popularity, with agave nectar instead of orange liqueur. This version was first presented by Julio Bermejo, co-owner of San Francisco's famous Tommy's – hence the name. In the end, it's worth noting that the Margarita is the only cocktail which has its own official holiday. No matter what, fans insist that on 22 February, we should raise our margarita glasses high.

See the recipe

 

Historian: Vladimir Zhuravlev

Illustration: Mine

Journalists: Sara Davis, Samantha Johnson

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