Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the original gin Margarita

Happy Cinco de Mayo! This Mexican holiday – a celebration of the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory at the Battle of Pueblo in 1862, and frequently mistaken for Mexican Independence Day – is also popular in the US and increasingly being celebrated in the UK. Well, us Brits are happy for any excuse to down some tacos and an ice-cold Margarita.

But you may want to put the tequila down once you learn how this iconic Mexican cocktail evolved. Believe it or not, Margaritas started life as a drink featuring our favourite spirit: Gin!

The Gin Daisy was a classic cocktail popular in pre-prohibition America. When sunny skies and the beautiful landscape drew tourists south of the border, they brought the recipe with them.

Translate ‘daisy’ into Spanish and swap the gin and lemon for local ingredients – tequila and lime, which is more readily available in Mexico – and you have the makings of a classic Margarita.

If you’re looking for a twist to the classic Cinco de Mayo celebration (or just prefer to give tequila a miss) try making a Gin Daisy following the recipe below.

Tip: To keep your Daisies closer to their Mexican cousins, stick with the lime-for-lemon substitution, as below.

The Gin Daisy

60ml Gin
1tsp sugar syrup
1.5tsp orange cordial
20ml freshly pressed lemon or lime juice


In a mixing glass, add spirits and mixers. Fill with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice. Fill with soda water. Garnish with a lime wedge.

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