Today is National Margarita Day, a chance to celebrate the beverage that pairs so well with our beloved Tex-Mex cuisine. It's also the perfect time to “distill” some legal trivia pertaining to margaritas and the law.
- The frozen margarita machine was invented in 1971 in Dallas by an innovator and restauranteur named Mariano Martinez. Inspired by the Slurpee machine at his local 7-11, Martinez decided to modify a soft serve ice cream maker, converting it to a slushy margarita machine. It was a hit! And Martinez was finally able to meet the demand for the popular drink at his restaurant, Mariano’s Mexican Cuisine. The margarita, according to this ABC News segment, is now the most popular cocktail in the world with Americans consuming 180,000 margaritas every hour. That’s a lot of tequila!
- Speaking of tequila…Just as true champagne must be produced in France, genuine Tequila (with a capital T) must hail from Mexico where it is manufactured in compliance with the laws and specifications of that country. The Code of Federal Regulations stipulates a “standard of identity” for Tequila, defining it as "an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash derived principally from the Agave Tequiliana Weber." See: 27 CFR Section 5.22(g)
- An authentic margarita must contain four ingredients: salt, lime, triple sec, and, of course, Tequila. However, in order to comply with the law, some establishments adapt this recipe in complete disregard for tradition. In Texas, where "margaritas and daiquiris to go" are a recent trend, Tequila is replaced with wine, much to the horror of margarita purists. On its website, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission addresses the legality of drive-thru margarita stands, explaining that making margaritas with beer or wine is "the only legal way anyone can sell margaritas or daiquiris for take-out or to go. The drinks cannot be made with tequila or rum or any distilled spirit." Suffice it to say that these drive through beverages are more in keeping with the letter than the "spirit" of the law.
However you celebrate National Margarita Day, please do so responsibly! Cheers!