Was the margarita created for a former Ziegfeld dancer in a Baja California restaurant in 1938? Was it first mixed in another Baja joint, Hussong’s Cantina, for the daughter of the German Ambassador to Mexico in 1941? Or did it predate both of these legends, as suggested by the 1936 account of an Iowan newspaperman who sampled something called a ‘Tequila Daisy’ in an Irish-run bar in Tijuana?
We have no way of knowing. What is a little more certain is that the margarita variation known as Tommy’s Margarita was created as recently as 1990, by Julio Bermejo of Tommy’s restaurant in San Francisco, by substituting the orange liqueur of the original margarita recipe with agave syrup.
At Aldo’s, Le Sirenuse’s homage to cocktail culture and simple, fresh, local cuisine, head barman Roberto Pane’s variation on this variation has proven to be a big hit. By infusing the tequila with lavender and using local honey from bees that feed on lemon and orange flower nectar, he smuggles some of the tastes and aromas of the Amalfi Coast into this Californian concoction.
50ml Lavender-infused Tequila
15ml Citrus-flower honey water
25ml lime juice
Smoked black salt for dusting
Begin by infusing your chosen Tequila (Roberto favours Casamigos Blanco) with a handful of dried lavender flowers for around 12 hours. Strain before use.
Dilute the honey in a little warm water to achieve a pouring consisitency, then leave to cool.
Take a cold Nick & Nora martini glass, sprinkle some of the smoked black salt on a clean surface, and turn the glass upside down to coat the rim with salt. If the glass isn’t cold enough, you can get the salt to stick by rubbing a slice of lime around the rim. Alternatively, for aesthetic effect, you could try coating the whole glass in salt (see photo).
Add all the ingredients to the cocktail shaker, throw in some ice cubes, and shake well. Strain into the glass, and serve.
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