Happy Cinco de Mayo: Here’s why margaritas are not macho

Margaritas, frozen and on the rocks, at Frida in Beverly Hills. The margarita's origins are fuzzy, but there's at least one woman involved (Margarita).
(Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times)

The margarita was made for women. It was even named for one.

No Mexican man “would be caught dead ordering a margarita,” says Jimmy Shaw, chef-owner of L.A.’s Loteria Grill.

In a weekend interview with KCRW, Shaw said tequilas were consumed very differently in the U.S. and Mexico. Tequila in the U.S. means shots and margaritas. In Mexico, he said, there are shots, but primarily “it’s a sipping drink.”

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Not only that, but south of the border, margaritas are “a woman’s drink.”

Shaw said margaritas were created as an option for women who wanted to consume tequila but have it go down a little smoother.

Dallas socialite Margarita Sames told the San Antonio Express that she came up with margaritas at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948.

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Other sources have Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada as the spot where the margarita came to be, in October 1941. Hussong’s likes that version. Bartender Don Carlos Orozco is said to have concocted the optimal combination of tequila, Damiana liqueur and lime served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass for Margarita Henkel, daughter of the German ambassador to Mexico. Or was it cocktail wizard Enrique Bastante Gutierez who created it for Rita Hayworth, a.k.a. Margarita Carmen Cansino?

No matter its origins, the common theme here is: women.

Perhaps all those namby-pamby margarita-drinking American men should man up and sip their tequila the macho way. Sangrita is a tasty option – take a sip of tequila, then a sip of sangrita and so on, as Shaw recommended to KCRW.

Jonathan Gold last month found a “proper” sangrita -- tomato juice amped with fruit juice and chiles -- at Corazon y Miel in Bell.

With today being Cinco de Mayo, perhaps it’s time for men and women alike to branch out beyond the margarita, flex their muscles and sip tequila and sangrita like a macho man.



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