Upon booking my 10 day trip to Mexico City, I literally had dreams of margaritas (with salt of course) and tacos dancing in my head. And naturally, I was expecting the tex-mex version. You know the ones…the giant salt rimmed goblets filled with the magically zesty sour concoction.
I thought there would be margaritas offered EVERYWHERE. I scoured the historic center for hours trying to find a cozy spot for margaritas and tacos with a cathedral view. Literally after hours of wandering around looking for a drink, I came to the conclusion that despite my preconceived notion that Mexicans drink margaritas, it turns out…they don’t. Not only are they not a typical Mexican beverage, you will have some serious issues trying to order one, even in touristy areas.
I was completely baffled by this. So of course this sent me a mission to find out exactly why margaritas are such a strong representation of Mexican culture, when clearly they are not.
Here’s what I found
Mexicans simply are not traditionally cocktail drinkers. You can definitely find margaritas in trendy bars and restaurants around Mexico City, especially if you venture out to Zona Rosa, Condesa, and Roma. But as far as true Mexican culture goes, margaritas are not as wildly popular as the mainstream lets on. If you go to a local bar or cantina, you’ll actually find most locals drinking beer, tequila or mezcal.
In fact, it’s even questionable if the margarita originated from Mexico. There are many stories as to who invented the margarita, but at the end of the day, no one really knows. For some theories check out THIS site.
To top everything off, I realized that most of the time when you order a margarita, it’s being made wrong! Forget the fruity flavors (although strawberry is a personal fav!), and put away the blender. A true margarita is made with only 3 main ingredients: tequila, triple sec, and fresh lime juice. And the lime juice being freshly squeezed is key! It is also served on the rocks, or straight up, if preferred, with salt on the rim. But note there are many different recipes and variations to choose from. The main variable being changed is the triple sec in exchange for agave nectar, Cointreau, or another orange liqueur.
True to form, I had to give it a go (I know life is tough), so I decided to give the recipe below a try.
2 ounces (1/4 cup) tequila
1 ounce (2 tbsp) freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce (2 tbsp) agave nectar
Simple Syrup (agave nectar), to taste
1 lime wedge, for garnish
Course salt, for rimming the glass (optional)
Optional: If you want salt on the rim of the glass, moisten the rim with a lime wedge. Then turn the glass over and dip into a small plate of coarse salt.
Pour the tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice into a cocktail shaker. Add simple syrup, according to your preference of sweetness. Fill the shaker with ice, and shake all ingredients together. Pour over into the salt-rimmed glass, and enjoy!
What can I say, I’m converted! I don’t think I can look at frozen margaritas the same. The traditional margarita is lip smacking good, and honestly a bit of a dangerous combination because you could easily down 2 or 3 without realizing the alcohol content.
If you’re like me, then you might be a bit sad that margaritas are not an authentic signature cocktail in Mexico. But don’t fret, there are other yummy drinks to be had. Coming soon! A post on authentic Mexican alcoholic beverages.
Have you tried a true margarita? What did you think – let me know in the comments below!