The Sweet and Salty History of the Margarita

By | May 1, 2019

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Mexico Jalisco Puerto Vallarta Frosted glass of a margarita cocktail served with ice and slice of lime with whole limes at side. Source: (Photo by: Eye Ubiquitous/UIG via Getty Images)

This Cinco de Mayo, you may want to celebrate the day with the traditional Mexican cocktail, the margarita. The cocktail itself may be simple—made with just tequila, lime juice and triple sec and served in a salt-rimmed glass—the history of this favorite drink is much more complicated. Several people have claimed to have concocted the first margarita. Even the namesake of this adult beverage is up for debate. Let’s look at the sweet and salty history of the margarita. 

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Margaritas Are Mexican…Or Are They?

All the stories tell us that margaritas are a drink that was developed in Mexico in the 1930s or 1940s. It makes sense. After all, its main ingredient—tequila—is a Mexican spirit. And the cocktail has a Spanish name. But some experts doubt this claim. They note that margaritas are not a drink regularly consumed by the locals in Mexico and is actually more popular at the clubs and resorts that cater to foreign tourists. Additionally, Mexico does not have a vibrant cocktail culture. But what do the stories tell us?