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The Modern Bar Cart Podcast

Apr 1, 2022

This is Part II of an extensive audio essay on the history and mechanics of the Margarita cocktail. In Part I, we examined the origins of sour taste perception and tracked a number of the Margarita's precursors, including grog, the Crusta, and the Daisy.

In this installment, we explore sugar, the Margarita's chief technology, and trace it through a number of formula changes to understand how this cocktail hacks our innate biology and psychology.

To get to the heart of how the Margarita works, we need to start asking questions like:

  • Where does a traditional “sour” stop and a margarita begin?
  • Is the salted rim optional, essential, or something else entirely? And
  • Should we think of this as a cocktail to be served “up,” “on the rocks,” or does it not really matter?

All of this might seem to boil down to a simple question of definitions, but in fact, if you follow the evolution of the Margarita and its ingredients and proportions over time, you begin to realize that the look and feel of a Margarita is a wonderful core sample of the culture and values of any given time and place.