Summer is here, and regardless of where you find yourself, I hope you’ll be spoiled with lazy sunlight and warmth. In order to celebrate the season, let’s turn a spotlight on one of the most vibrant and historic summer cocktails – the margarita.
Over a dozen theories exist on this classic’s origins, ranging from the Great Depression stories and Tijuana ranch owner tales, to the cocktail being named after Margarita Carmen Cansino – who is later to make history by becoming Princess Aly Khan – and whom you may know as the great Rita Hayworth.
The only thing that remains undisputed among all the theories, however, is the fact that the margarita undoubtedly comes from Mexico. Indeed, how could it not, as this is one of the first ever tequila-based cocktails?
However, although Mexico boasts the invention of this classic, it does not retain a cocktail culture, nor is the drink popular with locals.
It is therefore probable that it was invented and rose to prominence on Mexican soil due to the US cocktail boom of the 30s and 40s, which spilled over the border due to the multitude of tourists fleeing the States in search of libation during prohibition.
The raw-bone recipe of this oldie couldn’t be simpler: two parts tequila of your choice to one part Cointreau, and one part fresh lemon or lime juice. Mix all in an iced shaker and serve in a salt-rimmed glass.
Of course, as with all classics, the original recipe then started inspiring a multitude of variations throughout the following decades.
Some inventive ones include pineapple and harissa paste, smoked peach and honey, and apricot brandy and coriander.
As with all cocktails, it’s apparent that the possibilities of making this classic your own are endless.
Nonetheless, as you might be aware of, one of the versions stuck around as more than a mere inventive fad. The strawberry margarita solidified its spot beside the lemon one as the more female counter-part to the original, more masculine concoction.
Where the original is salty and bitter, the strawberry margarita is sugary and fruity, often served over crushed ice. To make it, follow the same recipe as for the original, but add four tablespoons of fresh strawberry puree, some sugar or honey, and then serve in a sugar-rimmed coupe glass.
Whichever version you prefer, both are exceptionally refreshing, and have quickly become a summer favourite for barbecue and garden parties, as well as being the front-runners of holiday cocktail favourites.
If you’re around Stirling, head over to The Corn Exchange on the next sunny day, who have introduced a new summer cocktails menu just last week, featuring numerous margaritas. The raspberry version is a personal favourite, as the sweetness of the berries works particularly well with the zesty lime.
Give it a go, or experiment with creating your own, as there is essentially no right or wrong way of making a margarita. The only judge is your own palate.