By The HOWL Street Team
Like most cocktail lore, there are conflicting theories about the origins of the margarita. One of the most popular stories credits Carlos “Danny” Herrera with developing the drink at his Tijuana-area restaurant, Rancho La Gloria, around 1938. As the legend goes, Herrera dreamed up the cocktail for one of his customers, an aspiring actress named Marjorie King who was allergic to all hard alcohol other than tequila. To make the liquor more palatable to his fussy client, he combined the elements of a traditional tequila shot—a lick of salt and a wedge of lime—and turned them into a refreshing drink. Another top contender for the inventor title is Margarita Sames, a wealthy Dallas socialite who claimed she whipped up the drink for friends at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948. Among her well-connected guests was Tommy Hilton, who eventually added the drink to the bar menu at his hotel chain.
Wherever it began, we love the way a margarita has the power to instantly transport us to summer. So for the love of sunny places, here are some tasty takes on the classic tequila-lime combo, courtesy of some of our favorite local bartenders:
The Classic Margarita
You can’t go wrong with an original. Try a classic ‘rita at El Potro Mexican Grill (124 Merrimack St., Lowell), where the bar is stocked with around 30 different kinds of tequila.
2 oz. blanco tequila
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Shake and strain into a margarita glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and salt.
A HOWL editor’s pick for best ‘rita, this signature drink at 110 Grill in Chelmsford (119 Chelmsford St.) is the perfect combination of spicy and sweet, made with fresh orange peppers, lime and cilantro.
2 oz. Lunazul Reposado Tequila
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. light agave nectar
1 oz. lime juice
2 one-inch orange bell peppers
Muddle the pepper pieces in the bottom of a shaker tin. Fill the shaker with ice just short of full and add tequila, Cointreau, lime, and agave nectar. Shake and dump into a short collins glass and garnish with a sprig of cilantro.
Watermelon Cucumber Margarita
Cool down with this watermelon-and cucumber-infused take on the classic Margarita. Our favorite right now is made with love and a skilled hand at Blue Taleh (15 Kearney Sq.).
8 oz. tequila
4 oz. fresh watermelon juice
4 oz. cucumber juice (from about 1 cucumber peeled, diced and seeded)
1 tsp. salt
4-6 tsp. agave syrup
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup Cointreau
Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and stir. Garnish with fresh cucumber wheels and serve in salt-rimmed highball glasses or Mason jars.
The Pomelo Margarita
Since pomegranates are loaded with antioxidants, we like to think of this delicious concoction from Fuse Bistro (45 Palmer St.) as a friend with benefits.
2 ounces of house infused grapefruit tequila
3/4 oz. of house-made triple sec
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
3/4 oz. of pomegranate juice
Shake ingredients with ice and serve in a rocks glass full of ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.
A favorite at the Back Page lounge (15 Kearney Sq., rear), the addition of St. Germain sweetens the sourness. The perfect celebration of spring in a glass.
1 1/2 oz. 1800 Resposado tequila
1/4 oz. Cointreau
1/2 oz. St. Germain
splash of sour
1 1/2 oz. of fresh squeezed lime juice
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Who says you can’t drink your breakfast? Here’s a ‘rita that’s fresh and light enough to have instead of a Bloody Mary or mimosa with breakfast.
1 1/2 oz. blanco tequila
3/4 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. mango nectar
1 oz. fresh tangerine juice
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz. ginger juice
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a tangerine or lime wedge.