Wine & Tequila? On Margarita Day, Si!

Not crazy about tequila, you say? That doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate National Margarita Day with the rest of the Jose Cuervo crowd.


This scrumptious drink is called The Devil’s Margarita – A Margarita Recipe topped w/ Wine. If your taste runs more to vino than fermented agave juice, this easy cocktail – a classic lime margarita layered with red wine – gives even wine lovers a way to party like Louis C.K. (Bet you didn’t know he was Mexican!)

(I used an earthy, slightly dark cherry-tasting Tempranillo as my red. The grape thrives in the Guadalupe Valley of Mexico’s Baja. Aha.)

I’m not the first to flavor tequila drinks, of course. Any mixologist will make you a peach margarita, or mango, strawberry, banana, or orange. You can find plenty of wine-based margaritas online, too, most made with white wine, some adding or substituting orange liqueur for the tequila, and almost all served in a salt-rimmed glass (which I decided to omit, having learned long ago that salt and red wine don’t make the greatest pairing, even with tequila in the glass).

Speaking of glasses, the traditional margarita glass is shaped like an upside-down sombrero – apropos, right? But you’ll also find bartenders serving them in martini glasses, Champagne coupes (the old-fashioned shallow glasses) or batched and sold by the pitcher. You can order them slushy-frozen, shaken (but make sure the bartender sings “La Cucaracha” while he shakes) or straight up. I found one recipe for a “wine-arita” that called for freezing red wine in ice cube trays and plunking them into a traditional margarita. I think you could get away with a regular rocks glass for that one.

If you research the margarita’s beginnings, you’re likely to find more versions of its history than variations of the drink itself. One story had it invented in 1941 in Ensenada, Mexico by a bartender who was experimenting with drinks; a woman named Margarita Henkel, daughter of a German ambassador, was the first to taste his tequila drink so he named it after her.

Another source claims the drink was created in Galveston, Texas for the late torch singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee, and still another says it was invented for a Ziegfield dancer who was allergic to most other booze.

There are more. The most accepted history: a Tijuana bartender in the 1930s decided one night to mix tequila in his drinks instead of the brandy he’d been using, and customers loved it. His drink had been called “The Daisy,” and “daisy” in Spanish is “margarita.”

The Devil’s Margarita, thanks to our friends at Yummly:

Mix 1-1/2 oz. white tequila, 3/4 oz. lime juice and 3/4 oz. simple syrup (made of equal parts white sugar and water) in a shaker filled with ice, then pour the mixture into a frosted martini glass. Slowly pour red wine into the glass, cascading it over the back of a spoon.

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Wine Lingo of the Day: demi-sec = translated from French, it means “half-dry,” describing wines that are just slightly sweet.