Food for Thought

Look Better Naked on National Margarita Day — that's just one of many ways to celebrate classic drink

Look Better Naked on National Margarita Day & celebrate classic drink

Bobby Heugel with margarita
Anvil's Bobby Heugel with margarita. Anvil Bar & Refuge/Facebook
Partida tequila margarita limes marg
A day to celebrate a classic drink: National Margarita Day, Feb. 22. Thephantasticmssam.files.wordpress.com
Hugo's, marg, margarita
If you’re not sure what kind of tequila you like, a fun way to learn is cozy up to the bartender at Hugo's. Here's a special margarita from the Montrose restaurant. Photo by Paula Murphy
Austin photo: events_ryan_pee wee big adventure_leukemia and lymphoma society_april 2013_pee wee herman
While you fix yourself a drink, enjoy Pee Wee’s Big Adventure , which includes a classic version of Pee-Wee Herman dancing to “Tequila.”   Courtesy of do512
Bobby Heugel with margarita
Partida tequila margarita limes marg
Hugo's, marg, margarita
Austin photo: events_ryan_pee wee big adventure_leukemia and lymphoma society_april 2013_pee wee herman

Let us all raise a glass of tequila on Sunday for that is National Margarita Day.

A day to celebrate the classic drink of Tex-Mex and Mexican food, a concoction made with tequila and … well lots of other things today but we’ll get to that in a minute. Most early recipes called for just tequila, limejuice and triple sec but now you can get all sorts of “margaritas.”

 Most early recipes called for just tequila, limejuice and triple sec but now you can get all sorts of “margaritas.” 

And speaking of the history, it’s a mystery.

There are several oft told tales of who invented the drink, from a Mexican bartender to a Dallas socialite. But one thing is certain, the version on the rocks has been around since the 1930's while the frozen cocktail most Texans sip with their nachos today was perfected by a Texan in 1971. That was when Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez tinkered with a used soft-serve ice cream machine to create the prototype of the churning frozen margarita machine found in almost every Tex-Mex joint in the world today. 

That original machine can be seen in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History today.

But frozen or over ice, the key ingredient is the tequila. Preferably a quality version of 100-percent blue agave from the state of Jalisco in Mexico. When buying tequila you’ll find that there are three types based primarily on age. Blanco is generally clear as it is bottled early after pressing, reposado is darker and aged for several months to a year and añejo is a dark liquid aged for one to three or more years.

 Tequila and margaritas are as personal as what you prefer on your nachos. Beans or no beans, frozen or rocks? 

Currently the only bottle of tequila in my house is a KAA Tequila Reposado, which I actually don’t drink but the bottle is a Day of the Dead skull that’s really cool. If you’re not sure what kind of tequila you like, a fun way to learn is to head over to Anvil Bar & Refuge or Hugo’s, cozy up to the bartender and pony up for a flight of the brands they recommend.

And don’t take it personally if others don’t share your tastes. Tequila and margaritas are as personal as what you prefer on your nachos. Beans or no beans, frozen or rocks?

Personally, with the exception of Arnaldo Richards’ tableside shaken The Perfect margarita, I’ve pretty much laid off the lime juice-based concoctions as being too acidic for my tastes. Lately I enjoy the pomegranate margarita at Maria Selma Restaurant. After all, pomegranate juice makes it a healthy cocktail. Right? Right?

And here’s a recipe for another “healthy” margarita for the holiday:


Look Better Naked Margarita
Courtesy Partida Tequila
Keep your 2015 diet on track and mix up this health-conscious margarita incorporating acai, egg white, rosemary and organic agave nectar.

1 1/2 oz Partida Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz Samazon Pure Organic Acai
3/4 oz Partida Organic Agave Nectar
1/2 oz egg white
2 sprigs rosemary
1 lime, freshly squeezed
salt & green peppercorn for garnish

Rim a chilled cocktail glass with equal parts salt and fresh cracked green peppercorns. Remove rosemary leaves from stem and muddle in mixing glass until aromatic. Add liquid ingredients and ice, shake vigorously. Strain in to prepared cocktail class and garnish with rosemary sprig.

And, while you fix yourself a drink, enjoy this classic version of Pee-Wee Herman dancing to “Tequila” from the 1985 film Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.