A Brief and Speculative History of the Margarita

The Margarita is one of the most popular Mexican beverages to consume alongside tacos, salsa, guacamole and the like. But while so many enjoy this citrusy beverage of tart-or-sweet (and sometimes both) goodness, few folks actually know its story. So, we’d like to fix that and clear things up…

To start, we should mention that the folks who do claim to know the history of the margarita, actually don’t. That’s because no one does. So this is really just a speculative history, if we’re being up front about it.

Most sources cite an American socialite named Margarita Sames with the creation of the margarita. This stands up with the cultural aspect of things, because Mexico doesn’t really have a cocktail culture and the U.S. does. Margarita was from Dallas, but she had a swanky vacation home in Acapulco where she would throw crazy parties for her friends. As rumor has it, she’d get behind the bar and invent her own drinks for her friends to sample and vote on. The story of the margarita is that at the 1948 Christmas party, Margarita mixed up the first-ever margarita (but wait… there’s nothing new under the sun, is there?) with three parts tequila and one part lime juice. He friends loved it and it became a thing.

But who’s to say Margarita Sames really did invent it? It’s a rather simple recipe, and socialites through the years do seem to have overconfidence in their own originality – next up, Kim Kardashian will claim the invention of the screwdriver or something.

Tommy’s Place in Juarez, Mexico, was also said to have been the originating bar for the margarita. In 1942, a bartender named Pancho Morales made the margarita for a female customer who had requested a ‘Magnolia’. He couldn’t remember the ingredients, so he mixed up some tequila and Cointreau can called it a ‘Daisy’ (the Spanish translation being ‘Margarita’, of course).

The history of the margarita has also been said to go back to 1938, with a showgirl named Marjorie King. According to the story, she was allergic to all alcohol (whaaa—?) except tequila. So, when she was visiting the Rancho Del Gloria bar in Rosarita Beach, Mexico, she asked for a cocktail with tequila. Her bartender, a guy named Danny Herrera, mixed up a margarita and named it that for the Spanish translation of ‘Marjorie’. The dude’s obituary even says that he invented the cocktail – legit.

Still earlier, one Danny Negrete is said to have crafted the margarita for his sister-in-law, Margarita, as a wedding present in 1936. He supposedly invented the drink while working at the Garci Crespo Hotel near the Agua Caliente Race Track.

And before that, others say the original margarita was created in a Tijuana bar in 1930, but it wasn’t given a name at the time.

So the story just gets more and more vague. And while we may never know the actual, real history of the margarita, we can all agree that it’s a fabulous cocktail, right?

The margarita at Pecado Bueno has a story of its own: It’s a simple cocktail true to the original: 1/3 fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1/3 100% agave tequila and 1/3 triple sec. We make our margaritas the way our owner James Schmidt was taught by Angelica in San Diego back in 1983. They’re also just $3.35!


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