A margarita is a straightforward cocktail made from tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice, but its origins are anything but simple. Tons of people claim to have invented the drink, most of them being Mexican bartenders. As the cocktail seems to have first been created in the years of prohibition, it is most likely just a variation of the brandy-based Daisy, substituting tequila because it could be readily found over the southern border in times when brandy was scarce.
Margarita time is all about sand, sun, and quenching your thirst on that perfect salt-rimmed goblet of delight. There’s something about sipping a margarita on the beach that just can’t be found in a city apartment or urban bar. As winter approaches and thoughts turn to escaping the cold, we’re introducing you to some of our top choices for islands that make margarita time a thing of beauty.
Margarita Island, Venezuela
Well duh! This daisy of the Caribbean has over fifty tropical beaches, gorgeous mountains and a mangrove-filled national park. It’s actually two islands joined by a lagoon, and you can sip your cocktail at any of the beachfront bars and resorts.
Isla Holbox, Mexico
Have a margarita in the country where the cocktail was first shaken but do it in style! This island is north of Cancun and has a terrifically relaxed vibe. It’s best known for the multitude of whale sharks that come to the island to feed in its plankton-rich waters. You can swim with these gentle creatures which happen to be the biggest fish in the world.
Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba
This island off the northern central coast of Cuba is linked to the mainland by a long causeway that provides easy access to its immaculate white beaches. Try a margarita made with rum for a delicious local twist on a traditional favorite.
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Sure, it’s a long way from Mexico but you’ll still get to practice your Spanish. The island is just under 100 miles off the coast of Africa with a fantastic climate, beautiful beaches and amazing panoramic views from the mountains.
With over 7,000 islands in the Caribbean, it can be hard to pick a favorite but this Dutch retreat ranks among the best. The downtown core of Willemstad was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 for its stunning colonial architecture. Enjoy your margarita anywhere along its historic cobbled streets.
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
A margarita is just as appropriate as a frosty mug of local beer in these islands off the east coast of Australia. They’re located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and offer some of the best nature and wildlife hikes in the country. They say that the sand on Whitehaven Beach is so clean, you can use it to brush your teeth.
Cabbage Key, Florida
This tiny barrier island near Fort Myers has an amazing beach with more than six miles of pristine white sand. Enjoy your margarita with lunch at the historic Cabbage Key Inn and be sure to top it all off with a slice of key lime pie. Perfect.
Just remember, the original margarita recipe called for Cointreau and lime, but don’t let that hold you back. Any orange flavored liqueur will do nicely, and a frozen margarita can contain anything from peaches to mangoes, bananas and berries. Cheers!