National Margarita Day is just around the corner—February 22, in fact. And what better place to celebrate this “holiday” than in sunny Hawaii, at the beach, with the sun on your face and the sound of waves in your ears?
Make no mistake, Hawaii is the perfect place to kick back, relax and say, “Ahhhh…” as you take a sip of one of America’s most favorite drinks Margarita. It can be frozen or on the rocks; in a salt-rimmed glass or not, or adorned with something else, say, chili powder; traditional or updated with mango, pomegranate, grapefruit or other out-of-this-world additions.
All we know is that after work on Wednesday, February 22, from Lucy’s Taqueria in Hilo, to Los Chaparros and Pablo’s Cantina in Honolulu, people from all over the world will be enjoying a margarita. (And if your name is ‘Margarita’ or ‘Rita’ or if February 22 is your birthday, you may even enjoy your margarita for free!)
The origin story
Ever wondered who made the first margarita? So have we.
The answer is, well, nobody knows for sure.
A little less than a hundred years ago, sometime in the 1930’s or the 1940’s, a bartender in Mexico, inspired by a woman named Margaret, (or Marjorie, or Marguerite), put together tequila, triple sec, and lime—and a star was born.
Tommy Hilton started putting this drink in all his hotels, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The first frozen margarita is another story. In 1971 an enterprising bartender put the ingredients for a margarita, along with crushed ice, into a soft-serve ice cream maker, and reinvented the wheel, so to speak, though more folks still like the original version better.
We are talking a lot of folks—in the US alone, people order more than 185,000 margaritas per hour (Source: Brown-Forman, 2008
We’ve probably passed the 200,000 mark as we speak. And folks seem to dig the salty rim—preferring that to no salt, or any other kind of powdered substance around the rims of their glasses.
Famous Hawaiian Margarita recipes for National Margarita Day
Purists will enjoy the classic three-ingredient drink on February 22, but those who are feeling a little bit more adventurous may want to try to add a little kick to the mix with new ingredients.
And so, if you are entertaining at home on National Margarita Day, I’ve put some margarita recipes here for you to try. Tell me in the comments section which worked best for you. You’re welcome!
The mango margarita is quickly becoming a new classic on its own, with more and more cantinas offering it, and more and more people declaring it as their favorite. Refreshingly delicious, this drink works especially well when paired with spicy food. (Pro tip: serve without the alcohol so that everyone can enjoy it.)
- 1-2 cups cubed ice
- 4 mangoes (or 4 cups frozen mango)
- 2 cups lemonade
- 4 tablespoons lime juice (about 2 limes, medium)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)
- 1/2 cup blue agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon sugar (for the rim)
- 1 tablespoon Tajin spice (for the rim)
- 4 ounces tequila
- 1 and 1/2 ounces Triple Sec
- Wedges of lime
- Cherry grenadine syrup
Blend mango, lemonade, lime juice and lemon juice until mixture is smooth. Add agave syrup a little at a time, till you get to your desired sweetness. Add ice cubes and blend to crush the ice. Add tequila and Triple Sec, and stir.
For rimming the glasses:
Combine one teaspoon coarse sugar with one teaspoon Tajin spice on a flat plate. BUT if spicy is your middle name then cut the sugar out altogether, and just use the spice pure and unmixed. (The spiciness works surprisingly well with mango, who knew?)
Rub a lime wedge around the rim of a margarita glass and then dip the rim into the sugar-Tajin mixture (or just plain Tajin powder.)
Assembly: Pour the blended mixture into the prepared margarita glasses. Put a spoonful of cherry grenadine on top, and serve with lime slices on the side if you wish.
(Note: do not put in the tequila and Triple Sec if you want it to be family friendly. Replace these with freshly squeezed orange juice, about 1 cup per recipe.)
–adjust the amount of ice to your taste
–Tajin spice is available in the Latin American area of your supermarket, or you can order it online. It’s called Salsa en Polvo in Spanish.
Frozen Hawaiian Margarita
In some years, February 22 is warmer than others. This recipe is for those times. Enjoy.
- 1 cup ice
- 1 and 1/2 ounces tequila
- 1/2 ounce Triple Sec
- a dash of sour mix
- 2 ounces strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- 2 ounces pineapple (fresh or frozen)
- strawberries for garnish
Blend ice, tequila, Triple Sec, sour mix, strawberries, and pineapple together until smooth. Garnish with strawberries. Kick back and relax!
Blue Lagoon Margarita
And we mean blue. A fresh twist on the classic.
- 2 cups crushed ice
- 1 and ¼ ounces tequila
- 1/2 ounce Curacao (blue)
- 1 and 1/2 ounces lime juice
- 2 ounces sweet and sour mix (prepared)
- 1 lime wedge
- coarse sugar
- cherry or lime for garnish
Blend ice, blue Curacao, tequila, lime juice, pineapple juice, sweet and sour mix till the mixture attains desired smoothness. Take the lime wedge and rub it along the rim of a margarita glass, and then dip the rim in coarse sugar. Pour the mixture into the margarita glass, and garnish with a cherry or lime, if you wish.
What do you do when Kiwis are in season? Make kiwi margaritas, of course!
- 2 cups ice (in small cubes)
- 1/3 cup Triple Sec
- 1/3 cup Gold Tequila
- 1/2 cup sugar (very fine)
- 2 kiwis (large)
- 1 cup lime juice (preferably fresh)
Blend ice, tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice, and kiwis until the mixture attains desired smoothness. Cheers!
Note: Play around with the amount of lime juice a little bit, as some may find this recipe to be a bit too tart. If needed, cut the lime juice to three-quarters of a cup instead of a full one.
Li Hing Mui Margarita
A Hawaiian classic that one should not miss:
- 4 ounces sugar syrup (recipe below)
- 2 teaspoons Li Hing Mui powder
- 4 ounces lime juice
- 3 and 1/2 ounces tequila
- 3 teaspoons Grand Marnier
- 1/2 cup club soda
- coarse sugar
- lime for garnish
Mix syrup, Li Hing Mui powder, lime juice, tequila, Grand Marnier, and club soda together, and stir well. Rub the rim of a margarita glass with the lime wedge, and then dip the rim into coarse sugar. Put ice in the glass, and pour the margarita in. Serve with lime slices as garnish.
Note: You can buy Li Hing Mui powder in Asian stores or online. Its sweet-salty taste is delicious in margaritas.
Happy National Margarita Day, everyone!!