The History of the World’s Most Popular Cocktail, the Margarita

Thanks for checking out Cocktail Week with us over the last several days. If you’ve ever wondered what the most popular cocktail around the world is, wonder no more.

It’s tart. It’s Mexican in origin. When made well, it’s hard to top. It’s the Margarita, of course.

Before we get into the history, we must admit that this classic has been bastardized greatly over the years, with many bars and restaurants pouring sickly sweet sour mix or lime concentrate into bottom-shelf tequila. This is not a real Margarita. It’s gross. Please make sure to request fresh lime juice, or make it yourself.


The Margarita is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for decades. Its origins, however, are a bit of a mystery. There are several stories about how the Margarita came to be, but it’s hard to say which one is the true one.


One of the most popular stories about the origin of the Margarita comes from Tijuana, Mexico, where it is said that the drink was first mixed in the 1930s or 1940s by a bartender named Francisco “Pancho” Morales. According to this story, Morales was experimenting with different cocktail recipes when he came up with the Margarita. He mixed together tequila, lime juice, and a touch of orange liqueur, and served it in a salt-rimmed glass, creating a classic recipe that is still popular today.



Another story claims that the Margarita was first mixed in Acapulco in 1948 by a socialite named Margarita Sames. Sames was hosting a party for her friends, and she mixed together tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau to create a new cocktail. Her guests loved it, and the drink soon became a staple at parties and resorts in Mexico.



Carlos “Danny” Herrera

A third story claims that the Margarita was first mixed in the 1940s at a bar in Juarez, Mexico, by a bartender named Carlos “Danny” Herrera. According to this story, Herrera created the drink for a customer who was allergic to most spirits except tequila. He mixed together tequila, lime juice, and a touch of orange liqueur to create a drink that the customer could enjoy.


Despite the uncertainty around the origins of the Margarita, one thing is clear: the drink has been popular for decades, and it shows no signs of slowing down. It has become a staple in most bars and restaurants, and is a must-have in any cocktail menu. With its refreshing combination of tequila, lime, and orange liqueur, it’s no wonder that the Margarita has become the most popular cocktail in the world.


The Margarita has also been adapted to different variations like frozen, blended, and even with different fruit flavors like Strawberry or Mango, giving it a new level of popularity. It’s a versatile drink that can be enjoyed in many ways, and its history is as colorful as the drink itself.

Newfound interest in mezcal has also brought a new love to a classic drink. The smokiness of mezcal brings added depth and complexity to a margarita, and is a modern go-to at any good drinking establishment.


Ultimately, the history of the Margarita may be shrouded in mystery, but one thing is for certain: it’s a delicious and enduring cocktail that has stood the test of time.


Here’s a recipe for the most essential, basic, and still delicious margaritas.


Classic Margarita:


  • 2 oz tequila, preferably a good one
  • 1 oz lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1/2 oz triple sec or Cointreau
  • Salt for rim (optional)
  • Ice


  1. Rim a chilled glass with salt by rubbing a lime wedge around the rim, then dipping the rim into a plate of salt.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  3. Add tequila, lime juice, and triple sec to the shaker.
  4. Shake well and strain into the chilled glass, or serve on ice.
  5. Garnish with a lime wheel, if desired.

Do you prefer yours on ice, or up?