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MARGARITA: THE ORIGIN OF THE DRINK

Where does the idea of drinking tequila with orange juice, lemon juice and salt come from? E n June 1928 in Tijuana opened the first stage of Agua Caliente racetrack, a project that included a 500 – room hotel, casino, spa and cafe. To the bar of the casino came an elegant young man of 1.65 meters, almost adolescent, just unpacked from the Federal District named David Daniel Negrete Covarrubias.

His stay lasted seven years was open recreation center of Hollywood stars, politicians and gangsters of the time-according to the book “La Cosa Nostra in Mexico” of Juan Alberto Cedillo place was frequented by Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel, built by Fernando L. Rodríguez, brother of the then governor of the state of Baja California, and who four years later would become president of the Republic, Abelardo L. Rodríguez.

The veto to the casinos imposed by Lázaro Cárdenas in January of 1935 would force young Negrete to return to the city of Mexico, although not for a long time. His brother Jesus convinced him to seek work in a lavish hotel-spa that had recently worked, was inaugurated in April 1934: the Grand Hotel Garci-Crespo city of Tehuacan, Puebla .

A project that was also involved as a partner Abelardo L. Rodriguez of José Garci Crespo in the bottling of mineral water that years later would become Agua Peñafiel.

There I would meet Margarita Orozco, the capricious woman who would change her life with a request.

Heiress of coffee plantations and cocoa plantations located in Veracruz, Margarita used to spend seasons in the hotel that, seen in the distance, resembles another famous hotel that would give title to a rock song, California Hotel, but we are diverting the subject.

Margarita arrived at Garci-Crespo as part of a group of couples enjoying their spacious gardens and swimming pools, the restaurant and casino that was also built, as well as Manuel Ávila Camacho, who for that time served as Secretary of War And Marina but was already preparing to happen to Cardenas.

There are not many more clues about Margarita than those left by Daniel in a brief interview he made in 1982 in Ensenada, when he told of the afternoon when one of the most famous cocktails in the world was born:

“Margarita liked to sit at the bar talking to me while I worked, she once said to me: Daniel, I want you to prepare me a cocktail that contains salt, I have the habit that any cocktail or drink I ask for I like to take it with Salt, and I’m very sorry to be asking for salt every time, especially when I’m with my friends. ”

Daniel took the shaker and placed ice, squeezed lemons to fill an ounce, then took the bottle of tequila and poured oz and half of the then unglamorous liquor, completed with three quarters of an ounce of Cointreau, triple sec. Base of orange peels and stirred to mix.

The first part was made, Daniel had stylized the traditional way of drinking the tequila by mixing it directly with the lemon and softening it with ice and the citric-based liquor – according to the Mexican Academy of Tequila AC, the liquor combines very favorably With citrus mixers for some organoleptic-type reasons, it was not necessary to integrate the salt and present it.

“Immediately I looked at the glass, took a glass of champagne, and put lemon around the neck. I took the salt shaker and sprinkled on the moistened part until it was a beautiful white necklace on the neck of the glass. I took the checker again and waved it, poured the contents into the glass and said, ‘Here’s your new cocktail.’ ”

Margarita took the glass in her hands and brought it to her lips. The salt dissolved with the liquid counteracted in its way the acidity of the lemon and containing altogether the roughest part of the tequila but enhancing its flavor.

-As it is called? She asked.
“What’s he going to call?” “That’s what you call Margarita.” ‘

The myth had been born in the bar of that hotel in Tehuacán.

The original recipe of La Margarita
Like any myth, the story is told in many ways. From Ensenada Salvador Negrete demystifies the afternoon at the bar of the Grand Hotel Garci-Crespo: “In 1936 my uncle Jesus was getting married, and my dad made a drink to my uncle’s wife, her name was Margarita, from there came out The history of that drink. ”

Conversation via telephone with the eldest son of Daniel, who followed in the footsteps of his father to stay in front of “El Gran Chaparral”, a ballroom and restaurant that opened in Ensenada where Daniel returned to settle after passing through Tehuacán, and he tells me:

“Unfortunately – explains with that accent of the north – all the information and documentation we had on La Margarita burned us when the restaurant and ballroom that we had, El Gran Chaparral, burned down in 1983, and although I went back to pick up the place And finally I sold it six years ago, photos, documents and so on were lost. ”

In what there is no doubt for Salvador is that La Margarita was born in Tehuacán a few steps from the springs of mineral waters owned by the Garci-Crespo family.

“At the Hotel Riviera, another of the hotels where Daniel Negrete worked, there is a sign saying that the drink was invented by my dad there, and that’s not true. One day I was invited to the hotel, a gringo had come from these people who travel a lot all over the country and Central America and they do TV shows, and I told them, listen, but that of La Margarita is not true, my dad invented it in Puebla. And they said to me: Already, leave Chava like that. »

An Internet search on the origin of the drink offers at least three other theories, compiled in the page of the Mexican Academy of Tequila AC:

Acapulco, Mexico-1948: Margarita Sames offered a party at his ranch, next to a cliff in Acapulco. His guests included Nicky Hilton, heir of the Hilton Hotels. Looking for something to brighten up the party on that hot day, Margarita started experimenting at the bar and it occurred to her to lighten the character of Tequila, adding triple sec and fresh lemon juice in a shaker with ice and serving it in frosted martini glasses with salt and lemon. Reality or publicity stunt ?. This story was published in 1991 in a magazine of advertising agencies, for the company that represented Cointreau.

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico-1942: During the celebration of July 4th a client asked Pancho Morales, bartender Tommy’s Place, which will prepare a “Magnolia”. Pancho had heard about the drink, knew that he was carrying something of Cointreau and decided to add his favorite Tequila. That day must have been thinking of flowers, confusing the Magnolia with a Margarita!

Rosarito, Mexico-1938: A showgirl named Marjorie King, who frequented the bar Rancho La Gloria and who liked to drink, was allergic to all distilled except the Tequila. Drinking it without mixing was not a funny idea, so he asked the owner, Danny Herrera, if he could come up with another way to serve it. Herrera, improvising, mixed Tequila Blanco with lemon juice, crushed ice and triple sec, frosted the glass with lemon and salt and called it “Margarita” in honor of the showgirl.

In what is also no doubt is that the cocktail helped spread the strong drink throughout the world, “my father took him to Japan, they toured Europe,” tells me Salvador. And yes, there was a time when tequila Sauza boarded a plane to Daniel and sent him to tour the world to promote in the hands of its creator the cocktail that opened the doors to the Mexican drink par excellence.

And the drink, for various reasons, became chic beyond the traditional margarita, and began to appear hundreds of brands everywhere and the cocktail itself evolved.

“You know what killed my dad?” -I confessed on the other side of the Salvador line- he was very angry when he saw a strawberry daisy, or a banana margarita. Now they are making a lot of money with those flavored drinks, but the original is the original one, she told me.

And after the banana, came the mango, the guanabana, the Jamaican, the tamarind with the glass frosty with piquín chili, in frozen versions and no longer just mixed in the shaker.

And just as the cocktail changed, the hotel where he was born also mutated, first changed its name to Hotel Peñafiel, and began to lose luster in the late 70’s after several changes of administration

In 1985, according to media reports , “the hotel had an incident where some of the furniture was burned in 1989 stopped working since changed ownership and was adapted for the Euroamericana University which opened in 1991 established” and that years later would change its name to Inter American University for Development and Education Consortium is part of Anahuac.

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