KEY POINTS

  • National Margarita Day is celebrated on Feb. 22 each year
  • The cocktail is usually served with salt because it suppresses bitterness and enhances the sweet and sour flavors
  • One taste test reveals flaky sea salt is the best type of salt to serve with a margarita

It's always 5 o'clock somewhere! The margarita, a cocktail enjoyed all around the world, is celebrated every year on Feb. 22. Although the origins of the drink are still up for debate to this day, there is no doubt that wherever there's a margarita, good times are sure to follow.

When ordering a margarita, it would almost always be served in a glass rimmed with salt. This is because salt enhances the overall flavor of the cocktail and intensifies the sweet and sour flavors of a margarita — aside from upping the drink's aesthetic.

Adding a small amount of salt to the margarita suppresses the slight bitterness of the Cointreau or triple sec, according to MentalFloss. It also enhances the taste of the lime juice and softens the tequila’s bite.

This is why pairing cocktails that have citrusy flavors such as lime, lemon, grapefruit and pomelo with salt-rimmed glasses is recommended, per Culinary Hill.

Salt is known to have the ability to boost certain basic tastes, like sweetness, by suppressing others, such as bitterness.

Research shows that the suppression of bitter flavors is due to the sodium ion in the sodium chloride molecule (NaCl). However, the reverse is not true — adding bitter compounds to salty ones does not change the level of saltiness.

Taste buds aren't the only things salt directly affects. According to MentalFloss, salt is also able to intensify one's perception of aromas, making the flavors of some cocktails seem more powerful than they are. Tiny amounts of salt are also said to increase the flow of saliva, which makes the drink feel richer and thicker.

The Cookful conducted a test to find out which type of salt is the best to rim one's glass with when drinking a margarita. Test results showed that the least satisfying results were achieved with table salt due to its clumpiness and overwhelmingly salty taste.

Flaky sea salt was the type that garnered the best results among the three, but because this is considered pretty expensive, the overall winner of The Cookful's taste test was kosher salt as it "looked and tasted almost as good as sea salt for a fraction of the price."

In honor of National Margarita Day, take out that cocktail glass that's been sitting in your cabinet for a while and enjoy some margarita, whether alone or with loved ones, tonight. Keep in mind to drink responsibly though — too much tequila is known "t'kill'ya."

Tequila Herradura Spicy Margarita Tequila Herradura has an easy recipe for a spicy margarita. Photo: Tequila Herradura