History lesson first, cocktail later. Last week we talked about a classic cocktail, the Old Fashioned. This time around, we’re going to start back in yesteryear, and work our way to whatever year it is now. ...Seriously, what year IS it, anyway?
Jerry Thomas is widely regarded as the “grandfather” of mixology. His book, How to Mix Drinks: The Bon-Vivants Companion, is one of the oldest cocktail books written in the United States. The first run was published in 1862, and in the 1887 reprint, the name was changed, to Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide.
This book contained the very first documentation of a category of drinks known as “daisies.” A daisy cocktail is a long drink consisting of a base spirit, lemon juice, and usually either grenadine, raspberry syrup, sugar, or gum syrup. (Simplified, it’s alcohol, citrus, and some kind of sugar. That’s a short list, isn’t it, Woodhouse?) This mixture was typically served over shaved ice. The most common of these drinks was the Brandy Daisy, but other varieties included Gin Daisies, Whiskey Daisies and Rum Daisies.
Time rolled on, drinks evolved, prohibition fucked things up, and Americans began getting their alcohol from unfamiliar places. Places like the exotic far away land of... Mexico. That’s right, Mexico, where the dreaded tequila flowed freely.
In August of 1936, (three years after the end of prohibition), the first mention of a Tequila Daisy popped up in a Syracuse newspaper (that actually is pretty far from Mexico). The drink probably went something like this (NOT THE FEATURED DRINK):
- 1/2 oz Grenadine
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 1/2 oz Tequila
- Club soda
Shake grenadine, lime juice and tequila with ice cubes. Strain into a goblet one-third filled with shaved ice. Fill glass with chilled soda.
This drink spread like wildfire. Soon everyone was talking about the variation of the daisy, and the cocktail achieved enough currency that a B-24 Liberator crew, flying missions to support the D-Day invasion, nicknamed their bomber “Tequila Daisy”.
After the war ended, the Tequila Daisy, no longer popular across the U.S., seemed to have disappeared; however, in its place was a new drink that was quite similar. It had tequila and lime juice, and like the old Daisies, had Curaçao or triple sec, and the whole thing was poured over shaved ice.
The name of this new drink, (which in Spanish translates to “Daisy”) was none other than the Margarita.
Is this how the Margarita was invented? Slowly, over time, changing names to the Spanish word for ‘daisy’? I don’t know. But it’s good enough for me.
Let’s drink it.
I’m gonna give you the recipe for ‘em on the rocks; if you like it frozen, break out the blender and hop to it.
- 1 oz tequila
- 1 oz Cointreau
- Fresh lime juice to taste
- Kosher salt and lime wedge for garnish.
Cut a lime into quarters, and rub the wedge around the rim of an Old Fashioned glass, then dip the rim in salt. Shake other ingredients with ice and pour into the glass. Garnish with the lime wedge.
Pro-tip: If you’d like your drink a bit sweeter, you could add some simple syrup, but might I suggest using agave nectar instead? It will make Moctezuma happy.
If you want to get fancypants, put that shit in a Margarita Glass, and drink it through a crazy straw. It’ll taste better that way. I promise.
This week actually has food! Exciting, right? I know. That’s what I thought, too. Calm down, though--you’re getting a bit carried away. Seriously.
Nothing goes better with a big-ass margarita, then falafel. Personally, I recommend just ordering some of this from the best take-out place you can find; but if you’re feeling ambitious, give this recipe a try over at Epicurious.