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Pomegranate and Blood Orange Margarita

Today is National Margarita Day 2019 and it could not fall on a better day, being that it is Friday!

 

National Margarita Day is a day celebrated on February 22nd every year and is a day used to honor the cocktail that is usually made of a combination of tequila, triple sec and various fruit juices (such as lemon or lime). While the drink – and to a lesser extent the holiday dedicated to it – is widely known not only in the United States but around the world, no one really knows the origins of either one.

The fact of the matter is that no one really knows when the margarita was invented – or National Margarita Day for that matter, but the drink is believed to have been invented sometime around World War II. One of the most common origin stories associated with this drink is that it was invented by Rancho La Gloria restaurant owner Carlos Herrera in 1938.

However, a recipe for a tequila-based cocktail first appeared in the 1930 book My New Cocktail Book by G.F. Steele.

Hotel-Garci-Crespo-Mexico-en-Fotos-copy-511x300And then there’s Bartender Danny Negrete, who legend has it, created a signature wedding cocktail  in 1934 at the Garci Crespo Hotel in Puebla which was one of the most luxurious hotels at that time, and christened it “Margarita” in honor of his future sister-in-law. Or maybe Negrete was really inspired by a stunning young dancer named Margaret Cansino who performed at the glamorous Agua Caliente Racetrack in Tijuana where he also worked. That 16-year-old beauty later  became the legendary Rita Hayworth.

                       Rita Hayworth at 16 (left) and at the height of her career in the 1940s.

 

Without noting a specific recipe or inventor, a drink called the Tequila Daisy was mentioned in the Syracuse Herald as early as 1936. Margarita is Spanish for Daisy, which is a nickname for Margaret.

According to cocktail historian David Wondrich, the popular Mexican drink was remade with tequila instead of brandy, which became a sensation during Prohibition as people drifted over the border for alcohol. There is an account from 1936 of Iowa newspaper editor James Graham finding such a cocktail in Tijuana, years before any of the other margarita “creation myths”.

 

 

MEXICO-EN-FOTOS-RANCHO-LA-GLORIA-RESTAURANT-AND-BAR-458x300The 1937 Cafe RoyalMargarita 4 Danny Herrera Cocktail Book contains a recipe for a Picador using the same concentrations of tequila, triple sec and lime juice as a margarita. One of the earliest stories is of the margarita being invented in 1938 by Carlos “Danny” Herrera at his restaurant Rancho La gloria, halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Baja California, created for customer and former Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King, who was allergic to many spirits, but not to tequila. This story was related by Herrera and also by bartender Albert Hernandez, acknowledged for popularizing a margarita in San Diego after 1947, at the La Plaza restaurant in La Jolla. By then it was known as the ‘Margarita.’ San Diego newspaper editor Neil Morgan was a friend and made sure Hernandez’ story appeared locally.

Danny Herrera

 

 

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Albert and Helen Hernandez at La Plaza in 1947. Chef Washington at left.

 

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However, there are many people who claim that it was invented by Don Carlos Orozco in October of 1941. As the story goes, Mr. Orozco was working as a bartender at Hussong’s Cantina – a restaurant in Mexico – when the daughter of the German ambassador named Margarita Henkel walked into the restaurant and asked for a special drink. He then whipped her a drink that was equal parts tequila, an orange liqueur and lime. This concoction was then placed in a salt rimmed glass and served to her. Since this lady’s name was Margarita, that is the name that he decided to give the drink.

 

There are also claims that the margarita was first mixed in Juárez, Chihuahua at Tommy’s Place Bar on July 4, 1942 by Francisco “Pancho” Morales. Morales later left bartending in Mexico to become a US citizen, where he worked as a milkman for 25 years. Mexico’s official news agency Notimex and many experts have said Morales has the strongest claim to having invented the margarita.

 

Others say the inventor was Dallas socialite Margarita Sames, when she concocted theMargarita2.jpg drink for her guests at her Acapulco, Guerrero vacation home in 1948. Tommy Hilton reportedly attended, bringing the drink back to the Hilton chain of hotels. However, Jose Cuervo was already running ad campaigns for the margarita three years earlier, in 1945, with the slogan, “Margarita: It’s more than a girl’s name.” According to Jose Cuervo, the cocktail was invented in 1938 by a bartender in honor of Mexican showgirl Rita de la Rosa.

 

Jose Cuervo Tequila bottle (1930s)

 

Another common origin tale begins the cocktail’s history at the legendary Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas where, in 1948, head bartender Santos Cruz created the margarita for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee. He supposedly named it after the Spanish version of her name, Margarita.

While all of these origin stories may or may not account for when this drink was created, it is known that the first published recipe of this drink occurred in the December 1953 issue of Esquire. This recipe called for an ounce of tequila with dashes of triple sec and the juice of half a lime or lemon.

 

Margarita6 Trader VicThe person credited for really popularizing the Margarita was Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron, who owned California’s Señor Pico chain of restaurants. In the 1960s he went to Mexico to do research on a cocktail containing tequila, but discovered that Mexicans drink tequila straight. So he collected recipes for tequila cocktails from other restaurants around the States, and settled on the Margarita. By 1973 his restaurants sold more tequila than any other restaurant in the world.

Victor Bergeron

 

 

 

 

frozenAlthough many consider the  frozen Margarita an abomination,  it should be mentioned that the world’s first frozen margarita machine was invented on May 11, 1971 by a Dallas restaurateur named Mariano Martinez. He modified a soft-serve ice cream machine into the first frozen margarita machine to create a consistent, mass produced beverage. He got his inspiration from a frozen slushee machine he saw at a convenience store. Frozen Margaritas and Piña Coladas were all the rage back then, but they had to be made in a blender, which was time consuming, loud, and didn’t make for a very consistent product. His invention popularized the bar and the frozen Margarita at his Dallas TexMex restaurant, El Charro, and the category of frozen drink machines has gotten ever more popular through the years. His original machine now resides in the Smithsonian Institute.

 

Margaritaville-West_German7_SingleCover

At this point in time, the margarita began to spread across North America, but it wouldn’t really gain mass popularity until  a musician named Jimmy Buffett released a song called Margaritaville on February 14, 1977, from the album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes. This song was written about a drink Buffett discovered at Lung’s Cocina del Sur restaurant on Anderson Lane in Austin, Texas, and the first huge surge of tourists who descended on Key West, Florida around that time. He wrote most of the song that night at a friend’s house in Austin, and finished it while spending time in Key West. In the United States “Margaritaville” reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and went to number one on the Easy Listening chart, also peaking at #13 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Billboard ranked it number 14 on its 1977 Pop Singles year-end chart. It remains Buffett’s highest charting solo single.

Named for the cocktail margarita, with lyrics reflecting a laid-back lifestyle in a tropical climate, “Margaritaville” has come to define Buffett’s music and career. The relative importance of the song to Buffett’s career is referred to obliquely in a parenthetical plural in the title of a Buffett greatest hits compilation album, Songs You Know By Heart: Jimmy Buffett’s Greatest Hit(s). The name has been used in the title of other Buffett compilation albums such as Meet Me In Margaritaville: The Ultimate Collection and is also the name of several commercial products licensed by Buffett. The song also lent its name to the 2017  Broadway musical Escape to Margaritaville, in which it is featured alongside other Buffett songs. Continued popular culture references to and covers of it throughout the years attest to the song’s continuing popularity. The song was mentioned in Blake Shelton’s 2004 single “Some Beach”.

“Margaritaville” has been inducted into the 2016 Grammy Hall of Fame for its cultural and historic significance.

With all that being said, it’s still not clear when National Margarita Day was invented. Like the drink it is named after, it’s origins have been buried in history. Whichever story is true, one thing is certain…Americans have an ongoing love affair with the margarita. According to a 2016 biannual survey of cocktail consumers conducted by Nielsen CGA, tequila was everyone’s go-to base spirit, and the margarita was their favorite cocktail.

The best way to celebrate National Margarita Day is by choosing your favorite recipe and whipping one up, or by going to your favorite bar and ordering one of these icy cold concoctions. See our recipe for a version of this famous cocktail, given that blood oranges are in season.

This is not your ordinary margarita. Combine fresh pomegranate and blood orange juice to create this unique concoction that’s as tasty as it is beautiful — perfect for “wowing” guests at your next party or get-together!

 

Makes Two 12 oz drinks

Ingredients:

8 oz Fresh Pomegranate juice
4 oz Fresh Blood Orange juice
8 oz Tequila of your choice
2 oz Cointreau
1 oz Key Lime juice
1 oz Simple syrup

Directions:
Combine ingredients in shaker and shake well. Serve over ice in salt rimmed glasses and with a twist of orange.

 

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Rosemary Grapefruit Spritzers

 honey-rosemary-grapefruit-sodas-homemade-syrup-fork-knife-swoon-07
Photo Credit:Laura Bolton, Fork Knife Swoon,  2018.

 

Tart and fizzy honey rosemary grapefruit sodas combine a sweet and herbaceous rosemary simple syrup with fresh grapefruit juice and pure honey for a flavorful, naturally-sweetened homemade spritzer you will want to sip on all Winter long and well into the Summer months.

Recipe Adapted from
Laura Bolton
Fork Knife Swoon
August 2018

Ingredients:
For simple syrup (makes about 1-1/2 cups):
1 cup water
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice

Directions:
To make the simple syrup:
Heat the water, sugar, honey, and grapefruit juice in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.

Add the grapefruit zest and rosemary, and let gently simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and steep for up to an hour.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass jar, and chill before serving. Can be made in advance, and stored in the refrigerator for about a week.

To serve, fill a highball glass with ice. Add the rosemary simple syrup and fresh grapefruit juice. Stir to combine. Top with soda/sparkling water.

Garnish with grapefruit slices and/or a sprig of rosemary. Serve and enjoy!

Bartender Notes:
The rosemary grapefruit syrup can be made in advance and keeps for about a week, which is ideal for doling out single servings, but can also be easily multiplied if feeding a crowd.

To make it alcoholic:
Add 1 shot of gin before topping with soda.

To make a rosemary Paloma Cocktail:
Add 1 shot of tequila and a big squeeze of lime to the rosemary simple and grapefruit juice.

To make it vegan:
Swap pure maple syrup or organic cane sugar for the honey.


Frieda’s Meyer Lemon Lemonade

meyer lemonade

When life gives you lemons, hopefully  they will be Meyer Lemons. This variety of the citrus fruit has a soft, thin golden-yellow rinds and is sweeter, milder and less-acidic than regular lemon with a light herbal notes.

Did you know that a Meyer Lemon actually a hybrid? Believed to be a cross between a lemon and orange, F.N. Meyer first imported this hearty citrus the USA from China in 1908.

I have been so inspired by this delicious fruit, that I plan on planting a few of Meyer Lemon Trees in my backyard this spring.

Even though it is winter, enjoy a healthy dose of Vitamin C, form a nice tall glass of Meyer Lemon Lemonade.


From
Freida’s Specialty Produce, Inc.

Ingredients:
For the Simple Syrup:
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup water
1 cup mint or basil leaves or 1/4 cup fresh ginger slices (optional)

1 cup freshly squeezed Frieda’s Meyer lemon juice
3 to 4 cups cold water
Slices of Frieda’s Meyer lemon or Pink lemon, for garnish

Directions:
Make a simple syrup: In small saucepan, bring sugar and 2/3 cup of water to boil and simmer until sugar is fully dissolved. For herb-infused syrup, add your choice of herb( i.e. mint, basil or even a spice such as ginger) before boiling. Strain herbs from syrup, if used, and allow to cool.

Combine syrup with Meyer lemon juice and cold water in large pitcher and stir until well mixed. Serve over ice with garnish lemons if desired.


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