Area Excursions

Back to Area Excursions

The Mysterious History of the Margarita

February 22nd is National Margarita Day! At Moonrise Hotel’s Eclipse Restaurant, we serve up an out of this world Margarita. When you’ve had one, you might ask yourself, “Who invented this stellar drink?”. The bad news is that the Margarita has a mysterious history, but the good news is that we investigated and solved the mystery for you!

The Basics: Simple facts everyone agrees on

A traditional Margarita contains the famous Mexican Spirit, tequila. Since it includes tequila, there is little doubt that the drink is Mexican in origin, but who invented it and why? A hint is that Margarita is the Spanish word for Daisy. In the early 20th century, there was a popular Brandy drink in the United States called the Daisy. Knowing that fact, we are one step closer to discovering this drink’s real history.

Theory 1: Invented by Robert Thomson

One possibility is that the Margarita was invented by a Houston, Texas partier in 1961. Robert Thomson supposedly mixed equal parts Tequila, Damiana Liqueur, lime, and crushed ice in a salt-rimmed glass. It was a huge hit at his parties, but unfortunately for him, there are even earlier records of the Margarita.

Theory 2: Invented by Carlos Herrera

A much earlier story is that it was invented in 1938 by Carlos Herrera at his restaurant in Rancho La Gloria, which is near Tijuana. It was mixed for a dancer who was allergic to many spirits, but not tequila. This was one of the very earliest known recordings of the drink, but it is still not the first.

Theory 3: Inventor Unknown but the Reason is Known

The most recent theory and most likely one is that the Margarita was invented and became popular during American Prohibition, which started in 1920. Since tequila was a familiar spirit in Mexico, it makes sense that a Mexican version of the Daisy would take off as American’s crossed the border. To back up this theory, the earliest known print mention of a Margarita is from a 1936 Iowa newspaper. Editor James Graham mentioned finding such a cocktail in Tijuana, years before any of the other Margarita theories.

The Sky is the Limit

Now that we know why and when it was invented, the best part of a modern Margarita isn’t necessarily it’s past but its bright future. There are so many varieties available at the Eclipse Restaurant. We have a classic recipe that includes your choice of tequila, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, and dry curacao, with a choice of salt or sugar rim. If you prefer a different flavor, we have house-made raspberry and strawberry syrup to be used instead of lime.

Stop on by Moonrise Hotel‘s Eclipse Restaurant on National Margarita day to celebrate this drink and its glowing history.