The Origin Of The Margarita Is More Complicated Than You'd Think

If you've ever wondered who created almost any modern cocktail, most of the time the story is far more complicated than a simple, straightforward tale. The margarita is no different. While there have been numerous accounts given by myriad people who claim to have created or inspired the drink, only one story predates the others.

According to VinePair, the earliest claim someone made to have invented the margarita was in 1938 by Carlos "Danny" Herrera. He owned the restaurant Rancho La Gloria in Tijuana, Mexico. He claimed to have created the drink for a dancer, Marjorie King, who couldn't drink any liquor apart from tequila. Since she didn't enjoy tequila neat, Herrera threw together the ingredients used for a tequila shot — salt and lime juice — to create an early version of the margarita. Others who claimed the invention dated later by as much as 10 years. But the truth is that the margarita existed before 1938, too.

It may have been invented by an Irish man

As VinePair explains, the margarita was most likely not created by a Mexican because there wasn't really a cocktail culture in the country at that time. In all likelihood, the drink was probably invented by an Irish man named Madden in 1936 (via Difford's Guide). That's when the first mention of a Tequila Daisy, a riff on a brandy-based drink that dates to Victorian times, came about in a newspaper story.

While traveling in Mexico during the United States' Prohibition Era, the newspaper editor sought out a bar to get a drink. That's where he met the bartender, Mr. Madden, who explained that he accidentally picked up the wrong bottle when making a Daisy for a customer one day. However, Madden lucked out: the customer loved the tequila version of the drink so much that he told all his friends and the word soon spread about the new cocktail.

According to Liquor, the only difference between a Daisy and a margarita (or a "Tequila Daisy," as it was once known) is the use of tequila instead of brandy. It's not the super-sugary alcoholic slush that some people enjoy today but, in all likelihood, it could have been the start of the drink we now call the margarita.