ORIGINAL SPIRITS: THE MARGARITA Tuesday, February 08, 2011

No one really knows exactly how this famous Tequila cocktail found us. Nor can anyone say with certainty who, exactly, authored it. It could’ve been born in Mexico City. Or Ciudad Juarez. Or Galveston, Texas. The claims on it are many, its inventors countless. Like its essential ingredients, Its story changes over time, like a folk tale, passed down among the generations who change it to fit their own tastes and sensibilities. But there is one thing of which we are certain: behind each version of the story is a woman. Sometimes she’s a celebrity, sometimes she’s just someone’s sister. Whoever she was, she inspired some man—and it’s invariably a man—to dream up one the last century’s most enduring cocktails.

The Margarita’s main ingredients are elementary. A salted rim. A lime garnish. Tequila. Pour it over the rocks with juice from some freshly squeezed limes, and serve.

Sometimes it calls for Triple Sec or Cointreau—or even something called Margarita mix. Ours calls for none of those. Instead, the Original Margarita is built up from an ancho chile soda base, made in house by toasting mildly hot ancho chiles and bringing them to their essence with citrus zest, honey, lemongrass and a taste of ginger.

The result is an unusual, savory soda that’s slightly sweet, somewhat tangy and very complex.

Paired with the proper tequila, our ancho chile soda brings to light many different flavor profiles. When mingling with the Añejos, the soda reveals the spirit’s oakier notes, with the Reposados, its honied ones, and when mixed with the Platas, the soda brings out in the tequila a sharper, sweeter taste.

Try it with your favorite tequila, and you’ll understand why this mysterious cocktail born a thousand times over the last century needs no certain mother, because it belongs to us all.