This Wednesday (Feb. 22), National Margarita Day will be in full swing, and the classic cocktail has a few epic tales of lore regarding its mysterious origin. For this National Margarita Day roundup, we’ll feature the usual tequila and mezcal spirit bases along with some twists and turns for those looking for something different to celebrate this year.
Before we get into the roundup, we’ll try to neatly explain the drink’s origin. According to the International Bartenders Association’s (IBA) official list of cocktails, the Margarita is made with 100 percent agave tequila, triple sec, and fresh lime juice. If that is the metric by which the cocktail is normally judged, diving deeper into the history gets murkier.
Cocktail historian David Wondrich is a variation of the classic Brandy Daisy cocktail that features brandy, lemon juice, and yellow chartreuse. While there isn’t a universal agreement on its origin, it can be largely agreed that the Margarita was certainly crafted in the early 20th Century and the fanciful yarns that are connected to the drink are just as elaborate as one can imagine.
National Margarita Day was founded by Todd McCalla of Nashville, Tenn., not exactly what one would think is the epicenter of the sunny and bright cocktail. A 2017 profile done on McCalla by Mic.com gives endearing insight into why he chose February 22 as the day. Simply put, McCalla wanted to celebrate the drink because it breaks up the doldrums of the winter season. That observation is sound because margaritas are almost universally a warm-weather cocktail.
Now that we have those particulars out of the way, let’s get into some recipes, shall we?
Classic Cuervo Margarita
by Jose Cuervo
2 oz. Jose Cuervo® Tradicional® Plata*
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. orange liqueur
Agave syrup to taste
Lime for garnish
Salt for rim
In a cocktail shaker, add ice, Jose Cuervo® Tradicional® Plata, fresh lime juice, orange liqueur, and agave syrup to taste. Shake well! Run lime wedge around the rim of glass then dip the glass into salt. Add ice to the glass and strain in contents of the shaker. Garnish the glass with a lime wedge and enjoy!
2 parts Avión Reserva 44
1 parts Amalfi Lemon Juice
1/2 parts Italicus
3/4 parts Saffron Syrup
Vanilla Pod to Garnish
How to mix: Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice, shake to chill, double strain into a chilled coupette glass. Garnish with a pod of vanilla.
Courtesy of Luis Lopez, Milagro Tequila West Coast Brand Ambassador
2 parts Milagro Silver
1 part Fresh lime juice
¾ part Agave nectar
¼ part Tabasco hot sauce (3-4 dashes of hot sauce)
3 slices of cucumber
Method: First muddle 2 cucumber slices in shaker before adding any other ingredients. Then add the rest of ingredients with fresh ice and give it a shake for 5-10 seconds next strain and pour into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with the remaining cucumber wheel and enjoy.
Mezcal UNIÓN Avocado Margarita
1.5 oz Mezcal UNIÓN Uno
0.75 oz Lime Juice
0.75 oz Avocado Puree
0.25 oz Agave
Combine all ingredients into a shaker tin. Add ice and shake and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
Glassware: Coupe/Nick & Nora
Garnish: Garnish cilantro flower
Sammy’s Velvet Kickstand
2 ounces of Santo Blanco Tequila
1⁄2 ounce of Triple Sec (or any high-quality orange liqueur)
1 ounce of fresh lime juice
1⁄2 ounce of Damiana Liqueur
Rim: fresh lime and Sammy’s Sea Salt
Preparation: Run a fresh lime wedge around the rim of a chilled margarita or martini glass, then roll the moistened rim in Sammy’s Sea Salt and set the glass aside. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the Santo Blanco Tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice and Damiana Liqueur. Shake well and strain into the prepared glass and serve.
Ice Queen (courtesy of Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge at Moxy Times Square‘s beverage director Nikki McCutcheon)
1oz Lime juice
.75oz Agave syrup
1oz Licor 43/Heinz hot honey mixture
Directions: Rim half of the glass with a salt-gold luster. Next, pour 1oz Licor 43/ Heinz Hot Honey Mix into the glass. Lastly, fill the remainder of the glass with ice and a mixture of tequila, lime juice, and agave syrup.
Mr. Pink (courtesy of Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge at Moxy Times Square’s beverage director Nikki McCutcheon)
1.5oz Dos Hombres Mezcal
1oz Pama Liqueur
.5oz Lime Juice
Directions: Add all of the ingredients to your favorite cocktail shaker with some ice. Shake until perfection. Then, strain + pour into your margarita cocktail glass and garnish with a lime wheel.
By Gustavo Rojas @yourbartendergustavo
1.5 oz. Mezcal Amaras Cupreata
1 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. triple sec
1/2 oz. agave nectar
Tajin for garnish
Cucumber ribbons for garnish
In a mixing glass filled with ice, shake the Mezcal, lime juice, triple sec and agave nectar.
Coat the rim of your glass with tajin (use lemon or lime juice so that the tajin adheres)
Strain the cocktail into the glass and garnish with cucumber ribbons, or spears if preferred
2oz Cantera Negra Silver
.5oz agave syrup
Shake and strain over ice in double rocks glass
Add 2 dashes of orange bitters giving a nice orange essence without any added sugar
Fresh Citrus Margarita
1 1/2oz Mezcal Amarás Espadín
1oz Rosemary syrup
1/2 oz Lemon juice
1/2 oz Orange liqueur
Grapefruit ice cream
Garnish: Rosemary sprig
Add rosemary syrup, lemon juice, and Mezcal Amarás Espadín to your shaker. Place ice and shake it well.
Add a scoop of grapefruit ice cream in a margarita glass, pour the mixture, and decorate with a sprig of rosemary.
The Original Margarita
1 oz Cointreau
2 oz Blanco Tequila
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice<
Shake and strain into a salt-rimmed rocks glass
Garnish with a lime wheel
REMIXES OF THE CLASSIC
Kahlua Coffee Margarita
1 Part Kahlua
1 Part Olmeca Altos Tequila
.5 Part Cold Brew Coffee
.5 Lime Juice
1 Lime Wheel
How to mix: Fill a shaker with ice and add in all of the ingredients. Shake until cold then strain into an ice filled glass with a salt rim.* Garnish with a lime wheel and enjoy!
*rub a lime wedge around ¾ of the glass rim, pour some sea salt on a saucer, then dip the glass on the saucer so the crystals stick to the rim.
Absolut Lime Vodkarita
1 1/2 Parts Absolut Lime
2/3 Part Lime Juice
1/2 Part Agave Nectar
How to Mix: Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice cubes and a salt rim.
Woodbridge Sunshine Pinot Grigio Margarita (Makes 2 cocktails)
3/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (about two oranges)
3 oz. Woodbridge Pinot Grigio
2.5 oz. tequila reposado
2 oz. club soda
.5 oz. lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
2 tbsp. agave
1 tbsp. Tajín, for rim (optional)
1 orange slice, for garnish (optional)
Fill cocktail shaker with ice
Add the orange juice, Woodbridge Pinot Grigio, tequila, lemon juice, and agave
Shake for about 20 seconds
Strain into prepped glasses
Rim glasses with Tajin seasoning if desired as you would salt a traditional Margaria glass rim
Top with club soda
Garnish with a sliced orange, if desired
GET A LITTLE LAZY WITH IT
Fresh Agave Margarita
by Fresh Victor
3oz Fresh Victor Mexican Lime & Agave
1.5-2oz blanco or reposado tequila, or mezcal
Lime Wedge (optional garnish)
Salt (optional rim)
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker full of ice, shake well, and strain over fresh ice in a short glass or up into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge (Salted rim optional – use fine grain salt and only apply salt to the outside rim, avoiding salt inside the glass as this will keep your drink from becoming too salty)
In a glass full of ice, add all ingredients, plus 2-3 ounces of water (for dilution), stir gently, garnish and serve.
4oz of Fresh Victor Mexican Lime & Agave
1oz water or sparkling water
Batch & Bottle Margarita:
Batch & Bottle Milagro Margarita. Learn more here.
Learn more about SouthNorte here.
Learn more about Mary’s Mixers here.
Photo: PBNJ Productions / Getty
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