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National Margarita Day calls for tequila

Every year on Feb. 22, we celebrate National Margarita Day. It’s not clear why Feb. 22 was chosen to be the date of celebration, but we can only assume the first celebrators needed a break from February as much as all of us do. How can we pay our respects to such a historical and delicious cocktail? By drinking it, of course.

Whether you choose to order one at a bar or make one at home, this tequila, Triple sec and lime juice cocktail with a salted rim will add a ray of sunshine to your day. The exact history of the cocktail’s origin is a little muddy, with many hopefuls claiming to be the frosty drink’s original creator. What we do know is that the margarita was invented in Mexico around the 1930s or 40s when a bartender mixed tequila,Triple sec and lime juice over lots of ice. 

Many claim that the original margarita was not made with Triple sec, but with a Mexican orange liqueur called “Controy.” It is nearly impossible to find Controy outside of Mexico and the Southwest, so Triple sec or Cointreau will have to do. Margaritas are the most popular tequila-based cocktail in the U.S. today regardless of how they are made. 

Of course, there are many variations to the margarita. On the rocks or frozen is just the beginning, as nowadays people add all sorts of things to margaritas, from mango to jalapeno. Most cocktails that are popular in the U.S. right now are veering away from the syrupy-sweet drinks of the 90s and 2000s and toward more smokey and botanical flavors. A recently popular variation is to swap the tequila for mezcal for a drink that smolders. 

If you don’t want to make your own margarita, there are plenty of places to get them in New Brunswick. Esquina Latina on 25 Liberty St. has many options, including a pineapple chipotle version. Happy drinking!

Classic Margarita Recipe

2 oz. tequila 

1 oz. Cointreau or Triple sec

1 oz. freshly-squeezed lime juice

1 lime wedge, for garnish

Salt, for garnish

Rub the rim of the margarita glass with lime juice, dip into a plate covered in salt. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine tequila, Cointreau or Triple sec and lime juice. Shake and strain into an ice filled glass, top with a lime wedge and serve. 

Note: The classic margarita is not a sweet drink. If you’re looking for something a little sweeter, add a bit of agave nectar or simple syrup.

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