Nowhere in the story of Cinco de Mayo, the day that commemorates Mexico’s 1862 victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla, does the tequila-based margarita play a factor. But in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage -- parades and street festivals are held in cities and towns across the country – in which the margarita is a menu staple.
In its classic form, a margarita is a blend of tequila, lime juice and Cointreau or triple sec, served in a glass with a salted rim. Compared to cocktail icons like the Old Fashioned and the Dark 'n' Stormy that date back to the 1800s, the margarita didn’t become a regular bar offering until into the 1930s and '40s, according to the Smithsonian. And there is much debate among drink historians about who authored the recipe.
The most well-known story about the margarita’s origins has it that Carlos "Danny" Herrera, a Tijuana, Mexico, restaurateur, created the cocktail in 1938 for a customer who could only tolerate tequila, according to History.com. To make the hard liquor more palatable, he added salt and a wedge of lime — the traditional accompaniments of a tequila today — and came up with the drink.
But others have pegged the margarita recipe to the first U.S. importer of Jose Cuervo brand tequila. The brand was advertised in 1945 with the tagline, "Margarita: It's more than a girl's name."
Recipe and instructions from the Food Network:
You’ll need ice cubes, several fresh limes, coarse salt, sugar, tequila, and Cointreau liqueur or triple sec. Rub the rim of 4 cocktail glasses with lime. Dip each glass in coarse salt to coat the rim. Fill the glasses three-quarters with ice. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 cup tequila, 2/3 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice, 1/3 cup of Cointreau or triple sec and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Add ice to the shaker. Shake the contents well, until the outside of the shaker has formed an icy film. Pour the mixture equally into the glasses. Garnish each glass with a wedge of lime.