CLEVELAND, Ohio -- In case your calendar's holiday list doesn't designate today, Feb. 22, as National Margarita Day, here's your head's up that it's time to celebrate.
The "Best of" team at cleveland.com sought out Greater Cleveland's best margarita spots last year and readers enthusiastically voted for their favorites online.
Why not stop by one of them -- or your favorite watering hole -- today and raise a glass of limey goodness in honor of this national holiday.
Here are the results of the Best Margarita contest:
1. cleveland.com readers chose Uncle Jimmy's Gold Margarita at La Fiesta restaurant, in Richmond Heights, as the Best Margarita in Northeast Ohio. This family-owned joint boasts it is the oldest Mexican restaurant in town and they have clearly used their time in business perfecting this recipe.
2. Johnny Mango's Cucumber Napoleon Margarita finished second in the contest. It is made with Cazadores Reposado and Grand Marnier, attracting many fans around the region. But others can't stop raving about their Jalapeno Cilantro Margarita. Try both at their Ohio City restaurant.
3. Taqueria Junction's Mexi Margarita is made with 1800 Silver Tequila and fresh muddled jalapnos and cilantro. Lick the salt rim off this beauty or try their equally mouthwatering Modern Margarita at their Olmsted Falls restaurant.
4. Momocho's Cucumber Margarita features a chili salt rim. Pictured behind it is their blood orange margarita. Sip away at several of these spicy margaritas at their Ohio City restaurant.
5. The Cleveland Chop's Chop Margarita is made with roasted pineapple-infused tequila, Licor 43 and a house made sour. Try it out for yourself at their downtown Cleveland restaurant.
6. Nuevo Acapulco's Jumbo Cadillac Margarita is made with Jose Cuervo and Grand Marnier. Taste test this beauty for yourself at their North Olmsted restaurant.
7. The Signature Margarita at Luchita's Mexican Restaurant on West 117th Street in Cleveland includes fresh-squeezed lime juice, Patron Silver Tequila and Cointreau.
8. The Pomegranate Margarita is just one of many flavored margarita offerings at Barrio, which has locations in Tremont, Lakewood and the Gateway District in downtown Cleveland. You can also check out their El Diablo, which is made with melon liqueur and a sugar-cayenne rim, or the Jade Olmec with fresh mint.
9. Lopez on Lee's Blood Orange Margarita comes with a spicy rim of citrus, salt and chiles. Check it out for yourself at their Cleveland Heights restaurant.
Want to know more about margaritas? You can find plenty of stories about how this Mexican libation came to be:
- It was invented in 1938 by Carlos "Danny" Herrera at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria -- halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Mexico -- for customer and former Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King, who was allergic to many spirits, but not to tequila.
- A commonly accepted origin story of the margarita is it was invented in October 1941 at Hussong's Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico, by bartender Don Carlos Orozco. One afternoon, Margarita Henkel, the daughter of the then-German ambassador, visited the cantina. Don Carlos, who had been experimenting with drinks, offered her one. Since she was the first to try the drink, Don Carlos decided to name it after her and the "margarita" was born.
- There are also claims that the margarita was first mixed in Juarez, Mexico, at Tommy's Place Bar on July 4, 1942 by Francisco "Pancho" Morales. Morales later left bartending in Mexico to become a U.S. citizen, where he worked as a milkman for 25 years. Mexico's official news agency Notimex and many experts have said Morales has the strongest claim to having invented the margarita.
- Jose Cuervo was running ad campaigns for the margarita in 1945, with the slogan, "Margarita: It's more than a girl's name." According to Jose Cuervo, the cocktail was invented in 1938 by a bartender in honor of Mexican showgirl Rita de la Rosa.
- Others say the inventor was Dallas socialite Margarita Sames, when she concocted the drink for her guests at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948. Tommy Hilton reportedly attended, bringing the drink back to the Hilton chain of hotels.
Regardless of how they got started, margaritas grew in popularity in the United States, so much so, it was named the drink of the month in Esquire Magazine in its December 1953 issue.
How do you prefer your margarita? Straight up, on the rocks or frozen? Fruity or traditional limey goodness?
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