There are many claims and theories regarding the origins of the Margarita cocktail, but best mixology guess is the tequila-based drink was developed during the late 1930’s – 1940’s in Mexico.  The first known publication of a Margarita recipe appeared as a featured “Drink of the Month” in the December 1953 issue of Esquire magazine:  “2 ounces tequila, dash of triple sec, and juice of 1/2 lime or lemon.  Pour over crushed ice, stir.  Rub the rim of a stem glass with rind of lemon or lime, spin in salt — pour, and sip.”

Since that time, the Margarita became an easy, fun and popular summertime drink with about a thousand versions and flavor combinations, some good and a few really awful.

Forty years ago, one of the best Margaritas was served at a restaurant/bar located in the small community of Sonoita, Arizona (located 50 miles south of Tucson).  After a chance meeting with one of the bartenders (and a lot of pleading), a purported ‘secret recipe’ was reluctantly provided that when tested, made a good Margarita, but did not result in a perfect match to the memory of the primo Sonoita Margarita.  That’s to be expected, however, as there are many variables in mixing up a cocktail and few details in the recipe, and the slightest change in an ingredient can make a big difference in taste.  It also would not be a huge surprise to discover something is missing from the bartender’s disclosure or faulty memory is a factor.

1 shot – Tequila
1 shot – Triple sec
1/2 shot – sweet
2 shots – sour
1 splash – lime juice



The International Bartenders Association (IBA) standard recipe calls for an ingredient ratio of 7:4:3 (50% tequila, 29% Cointreau, 21% fresh lime juice), but adjustments to the standard are what make mixing and drinking Margaritas fun.  Here’s a recipe to get you started on creating your own “best” Margarita, along with a few tips.  First Tip: Looks easy, but takes a lot of experimenting to get it right (See Sonoita Margarita recipe passage above).

2 oz   Tequila (The key to a good Margarita is good tequila. Experts recommend 100% agave, e.g. silver)
1 oz   Triple sec (orange-flavored liqueur, e.g., Cointreu, Grand Marnier)
1 oz   Lime juice (fresh) It’s common to use Persian limes in US;  Key limes are typically used in Mexico.

Salt (course)
Lime (sliced into wedges)

Cocktail/Margarita glass
Cocktail shaker

Chill the glass, then carefully rub the outer rim with a lime slice and dip lightly in the salt
Pour tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and ice in cocktail shaker
Shake and strain into glass (over ice or serve straight up)


There's no cocktail that matches the cool, crisp taste of the classic martini.


If you’re in the mood for another round, rediscover the perfect Martini .



Hobby brewing. It's fun and easy to brew brew at home.


While you’re at it, why not try home brewing in the kitchen!





The Man Who Invented the Margarita, by Brad Cooper, Texas Monthly (October, 1974)
Margarita Archives, Texas Monthly (the history, truth and best Margaritas)
Fun things to do in Sonoita, Arizona (wine tours & harvest festival; birding; quarter horse show)
Wikipedia:  Margarita

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Feature photo is a screen shot taken from “The Margarita” video

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Posted by Zola Zeester

Zola is a vagabond playmaker, the On2In2™ recreation guru and primary source of inspiration for this article. Currently resides at Zeester Media HQ.

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