Origins of the Margarita
The following are perhaps the most commonly repeated tales of the creator of the margarita cocktail:
1.Sammy Cruz, 1948
According to the promotional flyer for the legendary Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas, head bartender Santos Cruz created the Margarita for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee in 1948.
2. The Balinese Room was opened in 1941 and was Texas’s finest nightclub with A/C, casino gambling, superb food and drinks, and stellar entertainment until the Texas Rangers finally shut it down in 1957.
3. Barman “Willie” from Mexico City, 1934 in the employ of the Melguizo Family Marguerite Hemery lived in the Rio Grande Valley since the 1930s and went to a restaurant in Matamoros called Los Dos Republicas. She was friends with the owner and, as the story goes, his bartender composed a special drink for her.
Danny Negrete, 1936
4. According to Salvador Negrete, the son of Daniel Negrete, the family story goes that Daniel opened a bar at the Garci Crispo hotel with his brother, David. The day before David’s marriage, Daniel presented the margarita as a wedding present to Margarita, his sister-in-law. It was a combination of one-third Triple Sec, one-third tequila and one-third squeezed Mexican lime juice. The drink was not blended and was served with hand-crushed ice.
5. Enrique Bastate Gutierrez, early 1940s
Gutierrez, who lived in Tijuana, Mexico, boasted to have created the Margarita as a homage to actress Rita Hayworth, whose real name was Margarita Cansino. Other versions of the story claim the Margarita was indeed named after the actress, but in the 1930s, before she adopted her screen name. As a teenager, Margarita Cansino worked as a dancer at the Foreign Club, in Tijuana, where she supposedly inspired a bartender.