Santa Cruz Rum Daisy – Jerry Thomas

Use small bar glass

Three of four dashes of gum syrup

Two or three dashes of maraschino or curacao

The juice of half a small lemon

One wineglass of Santa Cruz rum

FILL glass one third of shaved ice.

Shake thoroughly, strain into a large cocktail glass, and fill up with Apollinaris or Seltzer water

Today is Margarita day, so this seemed like the perfect cocktail with which to celebrate it.

The Margarita doesn’t appear in any of the three books, the first time the recipe appears in print is in 1953, so just after Embury.

The Margarita feels like it has more stories about its creation than almost any other cocktail, most of them involving a woman called Margaret, Margarita or a variation of either, depending on what side of the Mexican border the myth is from. These stories start in 1938 and end in the 60’s. The earliest about a woman called Marjorie who was allergic to every spirit apart from Tequila, and had the drink whipped up for her at a party by Mr Danny Herrera (see pic below).

Like most drinks with a creation myth lost in an alcohol drenched past I think that some of them may have a kernel of truth, I think often people genuinely ‘invent’ drinks that have already been invented, completely unintentionally. I know I’ve done this on at least one occasion, probably more. Operating in a world with a limited number of spirits, liqueurs, syrups and juices its difficult for this not to happen now and then, and in a world pre-internet, and with reduced options I imagine it would be even easier.

My favourite story about the Margarita’s creation starts with the Gin Daisy.

For a period, the Gin Daisy was the most popular drink in the world, the Cosmopolitan, Mojito or Aperol spritz of the day. In the 20’s cruise liners would load of with Gin and Bon Vivants in Portsmouth or Le Havre and set sail for the Caribbean. Everyone would get stuck into the booze on the long boring Atlantic crossing and Gin stocks would be depleted. It might then stop off in Bermuda, get cases of Goslings rum and start making Bermuda Daisies to take some of the weight off the gin stock. Next stop Santa Cruz, and then maybe Curacao for their famous orange liqueur, and suddenly, the Santa Cruz Rum Daisy is all people are drinking on-board. You keep sailing west and end up on the Yucatan, and load up with the local booze, Tequila. Your seltzer stocks are low, so you start leaving this out, the locals use salt a lot when they drink to re-hydrate and voila your drink has morphed from gin and seltzer to tequila and salt.

Oh, and yes, Daisy translates into Margarita in Spanish.

the drink itself is a good one, the proto-margarita is lighter due to the seltzer, and very easy to drink. despite the reduced curacao to today’s Margarita recipes the flavour still comes through. the fruit on top is also very helpful, it holds the ice back from your mouth as you sip, and would also ‘insulate’ the drink a little.