(NBC) – If you’re a frozen margarita fan, it’s time to celebrate! This month the iconic drink is turning 50 years old.
If you head to Texas, you can meet the man responsible for blending the very first one.
“For the longest time we had the only frozen margarita machine in Dallas, or the world,” said Mariano Martinez, the inventor of the frozen drink.
No other cocktail has quite the same hold on Texas like the margarita. And why is that?
“I was thinking about why we love it so much. It is so approachable,” Martinez said.
Dallas Morning News Food Writer Sarah Blaskovich shared more on the infatuation behind the state’s beloved beverage.
“There’s something about a frozen margarita. It’s an adult Slurpee, ya know, with some alcohol in (it),” said Blaskovich. “The margarita, of course, is a tequila cocktail made with a spirit that our neighbors in Mexico made. But yea, they’re sweet. They’re sour. They’re salty. They’re good.”
The Texas heat, and mostly year-round patio weather, may have fueled the drink’s popularity.
“It seems like a drink you should drink outdoors and like I said, it’s like an adult Slurpee. It’s hot outside in Texas, you’re sitting outside and you want something super cold,” she said.
Martinez invented the first frozen margarita machine in 1971.
“The idea actually came from customer complaints. We had a very popular restaurant and we couldn’t keep up with the demand of the margaritas. And they were complaining they were inconsistent and they weren’t cold. One day I was in a 7-Eleven store and I saw kids buy a Slurpee. And it’s what gave me the idea I said, ‘hey, I wonder if you could freeze a margarita in a Slurpee type of machine,'” he said.
While the original machine is on loan to the Smithsonian Museum, the story is told of the walls of Mariano’s in Dallas and is carried on in every frozen treat served to this day.
Another reason to celebrate the delicious drink is the frozen margarita played a big role for restaurants during the pandemic as many sold “Ritas To Go” as a way to stay afloat amid the shutdowns.