Cinco de Mayo isn't the only day set aside to indulge in the ritual of enjoying a famous specialty cocktail. National Margarita Day is Feb. 22, quickly followed by Tortilla Chip Day on Feb. 24.
The margarita – a drink made with tequila, Cointreau or triple sec and lime juice – has evolved over the years and is now made in all different flavors, either frozen or on ice, with salt or without, often garnished with a slice of lime and served in a wide-rimmed margarita glass. Whether you prefer a classic margarita on the rocks or frozen, the drink is the most common tequila-based cocktail in the United States today. Popular flavors include strawberry, mango, limeade, watermelon, pomegranate, raspberry and blackberry.
While there are multiple stories about how the margarita originated, cocktail historians agree that the drink has been around since the 1940s. Frozen margaritas were concocted in the 1970s when an inventive bartender converted a soft-serve ice cream unit into a frozen margarita machine. Margaritas were further popularized by Jimmy Buffet's "Margaritaville" song in 1977.
While the timing for a celebration of this traditionally warm-weather drink may seem odd, at least there is no snow in the forecast for Saturday. To celebrate National Margarita Day, invite some friends over and enjoy a pitcher of homemade margaritas. Or try out one of these local places that make their own variations of the cocktail.
Los Toltecos: 43150 Broadlands Center Plaza, Ashburn (5 additional locations, including Sterling). 703-723-4436. lostoltecosrestaurant.com
El Sol Azteca: 42830 Creek View Plaza, #100, Ashburn. 703-724-1603. elsolazteca.com
Los Tios: 201 Harrison St. SE, Leesburg. 571-291-3652. lostiosgrill.com
Ford's Fish Shack: 44260 Ice Rink Plaza, Ashburn. 571-918-4092. 25031 Riding Plaza, Chantilly. 703-542-7520. Fordsfishshack.com
Blue Ridge Grill: 22865 Brambleton Plaza, Ashburn. 703-327-1047. 955 Edwards Ferry Road, Leesburg. 703-669-5505. brgrill.com
White Palace Restaurant: 101 N. 21st St., Purcellville. 540-338-2566. whitepalacepurcellville.com
Classic 3-2-1 Margarita
For one drink:
1 1/2 ounce tequila (100 percent agave)
1 ounce triple sec orange liqueur or Cointreau
½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (about one lime)
Thin lime wedge
Kosher salt to rim glass
Thin lime slice for garnish
1. Pour just enough salt on a small plate to cover it.
2. Rub the lime wedge on the outside rim of a 4-ounce cocktail glass. Dip the outside rim in the salt, rotating to coat. Fill the glass with ice and place it in the freezer to chill.
3. Add tequila, triple sec and lime juice to a cocktail shaker. Fill halfway with ice. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker turns frosty. Strain the margarita into the chilled glass. Garnish with lime slice.
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