Industry News

Cointreau and the Birth of the Margarita

Aug. 31, 2020

Getting to the bottom of a cocktail’s history is not nearly as satisfying as getting to the bottom of the cocktail itself, and often the conflicting stories require multiple rounds of research to make sense of it all. Perhaps one of the most well-known drinks today, the Margarita, has a backstory cloudier than a glass full of lime juice, with possible stories involving showgirls, Rita Hayworth, and a seemingly endless line of enterprising restaurateurs. One of the most likely stories, however, comes courtesy of our friends at Cointreau and a Dallas socialite on vacation in Acapulco. Her name was Margarita Sames.

An entertaining drink

The year was 1948, and Ms. Sames was on vacation at her home-away-from-home in Acapulco, Mexico. As the legend goes, Sames was an enthusiastic home bartender and entertainer, and on this particular vacation she was experimenting with her favorite spirits. According to the history from Remy Cointreau, Sames built the drink out of tequila and Cointreau, and immediately fell in love with the combination. In fact, she is quoted later in life as saying that “a Margarita without Cointreau is not worth its salt.” History also credits Sames with some of the drink’s most important elements, such as the slice of lime for visual appeal and the savory, salted rim to activate the cocktail’s complex flavors.

“The Margarita has been part of our core drink strategy for many years,” said Ian McLernon, Remy Cointreau President and CEO, Americas. “The brand has helped the on-premise operators premiumize their cocktail offering with our simple, yet classic recipe.”

History worth repeating

Among the guests who were won over by Sames’ initial round of Margaritas, according to legend, was one Tommy Hilton, who would go on to put the drink on the menu at his hotel chain. That classic cocktail recipe is still a hit with consumers around the world, and one which deserves a place of honor on any cocktail menu.

The Original Margarita


1 oz Cointreau
2 oz blanco tequila
1 oz fresh lime juice


Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice.
Shake and strain into a salt-rimmed glass.
Garnish with a lime wheel.

Serving suggestions:

Garnish with premium salts (Himalayan, Hawaiian, Camargue)
Serve with tropical finger foods such as ceviche, burritos, churros
Add cilantro or jalapeno to the garnish for added heat

Call us today to place your Cointreau order, and make a Margarita that would make Margarita Sames proud.