Do you know where the margarita was born?

The drink is named after Margarita Henkel, the daughter of a German ambassador

Do you know where the margarita was born?
Hussong's cantina opened its doors on 1882 in Ensenada, Baja California - Photo: Taken from lilyffort's Instagram page
English 19/05/2018 19:35 Vanessa Arriaga Mexico City Actualizada 11:04
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The margarita’s origins are a bit uncertain since there are numerous bars and bartenders that arrogate to themselves the creation of this famous cocktail drink. However, we will tell you about the most widely recognized bar.

Hussong’s is the most famous cantina of Ensenada, Baja California. It opened its doors in 1892 and its founder was Johann Hussong, a German immigrant. But before telling you who this man was, what he was doing in Mexico, and how he ended up owning a bar, we will tell you about the origins of the famous margarita.


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Una publicación compartida de Jorge Lopez (@egroj) el

On October 1941, in the midst of World War II, the daughter of a German ambassador named Margarita Henkel took a seat at the Hussong’s bar, one of her favorite places that she went to on a regular basis.

The working bartender was Carlos Orozco, who enjoyed making new cocktails and having the young German girl try them out. Among all the combinations he made, there was one for which Henkel developed a fondness. She expressed how she had enjoyed the drink and asked for its name.

Orozco, flattered to have created such a wonderful elixir, named it after the girl in a gesture of appreciation: Margarita.

It is said that Carlos Orozco’s original recipe had: white tequila, damiana liquor (a plant often found in arid regions of America), lemon juice, and ice cubes. Nowadays, there are many variations of the recipe, such as the use of orange juice instead of damiana, and the addition of strawberry or mango juice.

The bar’s history

The opening of the cantina was due mainly to a stroke of good luck. Its founder had arrived in the United States looking for better opportunities given that, around that time, the famous California Gold Rush (1848 to 1855) was at its peak. Thousands of immigrants were arriving at the American continent with hopes of joining in its widespread prosperity.

Upon arrival to the United States, he changed his name to “John”, and in 1889 he moved to Ensenada because it was said that there were also goldmines in Baja California.

Well on the way, the carriage he was traveling in had an accident. Hussong was badly hurt and asked for help at the Meiggs lodge. Some versions say he spent so much time in there that he inherited the establishment; others tell that the owner, J.J. Meiggs, had been accused of murdering his wife, which is why he fled town and sold the premises to John. Another version tells that the owner went to look for his wife in California, leaving the German immigrant in charge of the business, but neither of them returned.

That is how in 1982 the Hussong’s Cantina opened its doors in Ensenada, although it wasn’t in the same building as Meiggs’ lodge. Hussong opened a new establishment right in front of Meiggs’ property, on Ruiz avenue.

John Hussong died in 1926 at the age of 63. His remains can be found at the Modelo Cemetery, next to Louisa’s, his wife.

To this date, the bar continues to exist, offering beer, cocktail drinks, and of course, its famous margaritas, created by Carlos Orozco.

In addition, there is a cantina with the same name in Las Vegas, inspired in the one from Ensenada.



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EL UNIVERSAL in English Gastronomy
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