Oh Hell Yes: Today is National Margarita Day!

Cointreau Margarita Day

Ole!  You heard us right, today is National Margarita Day. How in the world February 22, (ie winter) was picked for this honor we can only imagine, but here we are.

We spoke to Cointreau’s in house mixologist and founder of Ford Mixology Lab’s Kyle Ford to hear the background of this historic cocktail, what it pairs well with and where the name came from. He also kindly sent us some recipes – so go ahead and get your shake on to perfect it by summer.

Tell us the brief backstory on Margaritas?

While there are many claims to the invention of the Margarita, the prevailing credit goes to Margaret “Margarita” Sames, a wealthy Dallas socialite who often vacationed in Acapulco, Mexico and was known for hosting and entertaining.

Alongside her husband, Bill, the couple hosted friends at their Cliffside Acapulco hacienda.  The year was 1948.  Sames wanted to make up a new, refreshing libation that her friends could enjoy poolside.  Tequila was her favorite spirit and having tasted and enjoyed Cointreau, she decided to mix the two together. Her mixology attempts were not an immediate success but after a few tries Sames found the perfect combination of tequila, Cointreau and fresh lime juice.

She garnished the rim with salt, and, it is said, the cocktail kept the party going for two weeks. Over the years Bill and Margarita Sames served the drink, or “Margarita’s drink” as they called it, to their guests including, hotelier Nick Hilton, Hotel Bel-Air owner Joseph Drown, movie stars Lana Turner and John Wayne among other celebrities.

Bill gifted his wife with a glassware set etched with “Margarita” and that is when the drink received its final name. Margarita Sames used to say, “A Margarita without Cointreau is not worth its salt!”

How in the world is Margarita day in the middle of winter?

I’m not sure who came up with this one, but I do know that the Margarita is the number one selling cocktail in the U.S., so it seems fitting that there is a day on the calendar dedicated to the drink. The margarita was created in 1948 and has certainly stood the test of time, so it deserves to be celebrated. In my opinion, the cocktail is so simple and deliciously balanced, that you don’t need a special holiday to drink the Margarita, it can be enjoyed all year long!

What is a good snack/food pairing with Margaritas? 

When pairing foods with a margarita, one could reference “opposites attract” and “matching and contrasting” methodology.  For example, lime juice in the classic margarita would pair well with a shrimp ceviche made with lime juice.  A spicy margarita would go well with something spicy such as a fajita, or something cooling such as beef kabobs with a mint aioli.

Vegetables that pair well with a margarita are asparagus or tomatoes, as well as other vegetables with a higher acidity.  Because of the citrus juice in a classic margarita, spicy foods are typically wonderful options to pair with this cocktail, as well as foods that incorporate a citrus accent, such as a marinade or dressing.  Snacks with a Southwestern or Mexican flavor are a natural fit, as are simple cheese dips, guacamole or spicy bean dip with corn or flour tortillas.

Aside from the obvious Mexican snacks, proteins like chicken, steak and shrimp are great entrée options to serve with margaritas, especially when they’re on the spicy side!  Margaritas are very easy to make at home. You can shake them up to start off any dinner party or enjoy them alongside a meal.

How to Make a Margarita at Home:
1. Fill a shaker with 1 cup ice, then add 2 oz. tequila, 1 oz. Cointreau and 1 oz. lime juice.

2. Secure the lid and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.

3. Fill a margarita glass with ice, then strain the drink into the glass, garnishing with a lime slice and salt.

4. Enjoy your Margarita!

The Original Margarita

2 oz. Blanco tequila

1 oz. Cointreau

1 oz. Lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Shake and strain into a Margarita glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and salt.

Luxe Margarita

1 oz Cointreau

1 oz. Blanco Tequila

1/2 oz. Lime juice

Champagne (Float)

3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Shake Cointreau, tequila, and lime juice with ice and strain into a chilled flute.  Top with Champagne and bitters. Garnish with a red rose petal.

Lemon Basil Margarita

1 1/2 oz. Blanco Tequila

1 oz. Cointreau

1/2 oz. Lemon Juice

1/2 oz. Lime Juice

3 basil Leaves

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Shake and strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with basil and lemon wheel.

Spicy Margarita

2 oz. Blanco tequila

1 oz. Cointreau

3/4 oz. lime juice

2 slices Jalapeno

Pinch of cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice.  Shake and strain into an iced rocks glass. Garnish with Cilantro and Jalapeno Spiral.