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Celebrating National Margarita Day



Terry Brennan

National Margarita Day?! Yep. Who knew? It’s February 22 every year, so gather your ingredients and get ready to stir things up! While not an official holiday, of course, it seems a group of drink-loving fans (perhaps sponsored by a tequila brand?) have designated this day in honor of the much-loved drink.

As an editor on Drinks and Real Food magazines, I receive many press releases about special “days” that folks have created in honor of various products—fruits (pears have a whole month, actually—December), veggies, condiments, and now the Margarita.

There is much debate about the origins of the classic Margarita, although it seems to have appeared on the scene by the late 1930s or 1940s. Frozen Margaritas were created later in the 1970s, when an inventive bartender converted a soft serve ice cream unit into a frozen Margarita machine, according to the folks behind Margarita Day. Whether you prefer a classic on the rocks or frozen, it’s the most common tequila-based cocktail in the United States today—hence National Margarita Day, which was started to celebrate the Margarita, plain and simple. As their website states: “Friendship, good times and memories of somewhere warmer are all great reasons to enjoy a Margarita.” Sure, why not? I’ll drink to that!

Although sometimes made with aged versions of tequila, a blanco, or silver, can give it a fresh taste of agave. If you want to sweeten this a bit, add 1 oz. simple syrup. (To make simple syrup: it is 2 parts sugar, 1 part water. Gradually pour sugar into a pan of hot water, simmer until dissolved, stirring frequently. Once the sugar is dissolved completely, remove the pan from the heat. Don’t allow the syrup to boil or it will be too thick. Allow to cool, then bottle. If kept in the refrigerator it should last for a few months.) There are, of course, the ready-made mixers that serve for the sweetened lime juice, if you wish.

Following is a basic recipe, which you can adjust to taste. My husband likes to sometimes mix in a splash of Midori melon liqueur (or an equal amount, in this case 1 ounce) for a delicious twist. There are endless options to this cocktail that raises a glass to the combination of tequila and citrus—and National Margarita Day! Cheers!
 

Margarita

1 1/2 ounces tequila
1 oz. orange-flavored liqueur (Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
1 oz. lime juice
Lime slice
Coarse salt

Moisten the rim of a cocktail glass with the lime slice. Press the rim into the salt. In a shaker, combine the first three ingredients with ice. Mix and strain into the glass. Garnish with the lime slice.

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