Margarita 101: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With a History Lesson on the Infamous Cocktail

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Last month, Patrón, one of the world’s highest-quality ultra-premium tequila, hosted a two-part special pre-Cinco de Mayo celebration. At the haute soirée, guests not only were able to sample five cocktails competing for the illustrious title of “Margarita of the Year,” but also learned the history of one of the world’s most distinguished cocktail.

Perched in the East Village, event-goers were treated to the first unofficial margarita known to man—the Daisy. According to renowned cocktail historian David Wondrich, the Daisy was invented some time in the early 1870s at Fred Eberlin’s bar, around the corner from the New York Stock Exchange. It featured a shot of booze shaken up with some lemon juice and orange cordial, strained into a large cocktail glass and topped off with a little splash of soda. The original version was made with whiskey, but soon all spirits were used and the Daisy became one of the standard drinks.

During the mid-1920s a customer, as the Daisy began to evolve, a customer at the Turf Bar in Tijuana, Mexico ordered a Gin Daisy. Henry Madden, the bartender working at the Turf Bar at the time, mistakenly used tequila rather than gin and—voilà—the Tequila Daisy was born. “The customer was so delighted that he called for another and spread the good news far and wide,” Madden said to a reporter. By the mid-1930s, the drink became a hit in Mexico. Unfortunately, Madden did not share his recipe, so it is unsure the exact ingredients of the Tequila Daisy. Coincidentally enough, margarita in Spanish means “daisy flower.”

As the years went on, the way cocktail connoisseurs consumed a margarita began to change. As stated by Claudia Alarcon, a native of Mexico City, the classic margarita featured one ounce of tequila, a dash of Triple Sec, and the juice of half a lime or lemon. Bar tenders were instructed to rim a stem glass with salt, and then mix the ingredients over ice, stir, then pour into the glass. By the 1950s and 60s margaritas went from being stirred to shaken. By the 70s, fun and decadent variations such as strawberries, other fruits, frozen limeade, etc., of course in addition to the standard tequila-lime-triple sec, were added to the cocktail.

While there are number of stories regarding the debut of the margarita, there is no straightforward answer on who invented the infamous tequila cocktail. However, there are a number of individuals who should be honored for honing the cocktail and making it a staple including Jerry Thomas, Henry Madden, Mariano Martinez, Charlie Connolly and Tom Bullock, to name a few.

Today, the production of tequila has revolutionized the taste of the margarita. Tequila brands like Patrón, Casa Dragones, Maestro Dobel Humito feature richer-textured, more flavor distilled from 100 percent agave. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, below are the aforementioned tequila brands and their best cocktail recipes as well as one tasty margarita available at Tommy Bahama.

Casa Dragones’ The Green Dragon

The Green Dragon

2 oz Casa Dragones Blanco
½ oz agave nectar
¾ oz key lime juice

Seasoned salted rim: The salt is soaked over night with Key lime zest and then dehydrated. They season the salt with cardamon, anise seed, fennel seed and dill seed

Maestro Dobel Silver Orange Margarita

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1 oz Maestro Dobel Silver Tequila
½ oz Agavero Orange Liqueur
4-6 oz orange juice
1 splash lime juice

Combine Maestro Dobel Silver, Agavero, and orange juice in a margarita glass
Stir, top with lime juice, and serve.

Guava Smolder

Guava Smolder

2 oz Maestro Dobel Humito
1 oz Guava Puree
½ oz Canton Ginger Liquor
½ oz Lemon Juice
¼ oz Giffard Pamplemousse Rose
3 dash Peychaurd Bitters
Black Ant Salt

Mix all the ingredients in a shaker glass and shake vigorously. Serve in a rocks glass with Black Ant Salt Rim and garnish with a Lemon wedge.

2016 Margarita of the Year: Rosa Picante Margarita

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2 oz Patrón Silver
½ oz Patrón Citrónge Lime
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
½ oz Ginger Syrup
Barspoon Jalapeño Oil
Dash rosewater
Rose petal sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice to chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe that has been half-rimmed with rose sea salt, and top with a dash of rose water. Garnish with a rose petal, if available.

Tequila Daisy, Tom Bullock Style

Tequila Daisy

2 oz Patrón Silver
½ oz Fresh-squeezed lime juice
½ oz Grenadine
Chilled sparkling water

Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker – except the sparkling water – and shake with ice to chill. Top off with chilled sparkling water and garnish with squeezed-out lime half and a sprig of mint. Add straw.

Mango Habañero Margarita

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1 ¾ parts Milagro Silver tequila
¾ parts orange Curaçao liqueur
1 part The Perfect Purée Mango Purée (diluted with equal parts water)
1 part scratch sour mix
2 slices fresh habañero
4 drops Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub Bitters

Build in a shaker and add ice. Shake well until chilled. Strain over fresh ice. This tasty margarita is available at Tommy Bahama.

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