It’s no secret that Mexican and Indian cuisines have many similarities. Both have traditional cooking techniques and native ingredients that are rooted in history. Lots of warm, pungent and earthy spices give every dish a distinct flavor. Both nations have smaller regions and states with their own unique culture and cuisines. Lastly both nations have become famous for their street food scene. It doesn’t matter which part of the country you find yourself in, you will always find tacos in Mexico and Pani Puri in India!
Today, we’re bringing Pani Puri to Mexico to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. This holiday celebrates the Mexican Army's victory against the French at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862. Of course, they didn’t drink a margarita to celebrate until the 1940s-1950s when the margarita was supposedly invented.
There are many fun and colorful stories of how the cocktail was invented and somehow all involve a woman named Margarita.
One story involves a young Ziegfeld showgirl at a restaurant in Tijuana that was allergic to all other spirits, except Tequila, but didn’t enjoy the taste of Tequila. The owner, Carlos (Danny) Herrera, quickly concocted a drink using a shot of Tequila, lime juice and sugar to fit her palate. Her name was Marjorie King. Marjorie equivalent in Spanish is Margarita.
Another story includes a member of the Hilton family that had the drink at a Dallas socialite’s party. After liking it so much, he added the drink to the bar menus of Hilton Hotels and named it after the party’s host, Margarita Sames. By 1945, Jose Cuervo was already running an ad campaign in the US that stated, “Margarita: It’s more than a girl’s name.” Having the drink with the same name at Hilton Hotels probably only made the drink even more popular.
One legend even includes a bartender, Danny Negrete, at the legendary horse-racing venue, Agua Caliente in Tijuana, who may have made a drink for an aspiring actress, Margarita Cansino. She later adopted the stage name, Rita Hayworth. Though if you ask Danny, he claims he created the drink for his sister-in-law’s wedding, whose name also happens to be, you guessed it, Margarita!
The more probable origin of this drink probably stems from a pre-prohibition-era drink called the Daisy. The traditional recipes for the Daisy calls for base spirit of choice, a bit of orange curacao and fresh citrus juice (lime or lemon) and some simple syrup. The first versions of the Daisy was made with Brandy and shows up in history books around 1876. The Spanish word for Daisy is Margarita.
Whatever the origin, the Margarita is certainly a crowd pleaser. This recipe is inspired by Maneet Chauhan’s Pani Rita and Vermillion’s Pani Puri Margarita. Both call for pre-made pani puri water, but I’ve opted to muddle the ingredient directly into the drink with some fresh sour mix and chaat masala.
Makes 1 drink
2-3 slices of Serrano or Jalepeno chillies (depending on spice preference)
4-5 Mint Leaves
5-7 Cilantro Leaves with stems
2 thinly sliced Ginger, roughy 1/4 TSP chopped
1/2 ounce Lemon Juice
1/2 ounce Lime Juice
3/4 ounce Simple Syrup
1/4 TSP Chaat Masala
2 oz Tequila Blanco
1/2 oz Orange Curacao or Triple Sec
In a cocktail shaker, add in mint and cilantro leaves along with chili and ginger slices
Pour in Lemon and Lime juice along with Simple Syrup and Chaat Masala
Muddle gently for about 10-12 seconds
Pour in in Tequila and Triple Sec
Add ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds
Pour over rocks into an Old Fashioned glass
Garnish with Puri and/or sprig of mint
For the rim, I used 1/2 tsp chaat masala and 1/2 tsp sugar. Mix together on a flat plate or bowl. Using a lime or lemon slice, slightly moisten the rim of the glass and press into mixture.