The Original Frozen Margarita Was Made In A Soft Serve Machine

Where would the world's beach bars, cruise ships, and all-inclusive resorts be without the frozen cocktail? Equal parts intoxicating, refreshing, and delicious, this beloved drink category includes familiar favorites like the pina colada, daiquiri, and, of course, the frozen margarita. While frosty cocktails in general date back to the early 20th century, when blenders first started appearing in bars, the frozen margarita recipe has a relatively more recent origin, linked to Dallas restaurant owner Mariano Martinez.

According to the website of his restaurants, Mariano's Hacienda and La Hacienda Ranch, Martinez had dealt with complaints from diners and bartenders alike that making their signature frozen margaritas using a blender was too inconsistent and time-consuming. But that same year in 1971, a trip to a local convenience store sparked an idea when he saw a 7-Eleven customer serving herself a Slurpee. Inspired, Martinez acquired a soft serve ice cream machine and, after hours of experimenting, achieved his goal: a way to serve pre-mixed frozen margaritas that were easy to keep cold and quick to serve to crowds.

A gamechanger for frozen cocktails

The rest, as they say, is history. Martinez's innovative design went on to become the base for most modern alcoholic slushie dispensing machines. Meanwhile, after more than three decades of service, the original is enjoying its place as an iconic piece of Americana with a spot at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

It's hard to overstate the influence of this slushie technology on the frozen cocktail world. In the years leading up to Martinez's invention that catapulted the frozen margarita into widespread popularity, reports, frozen drinks had acquired a poor reputation among the cocktail community since they were often made with low-quality blender mixes. 

While pre-made margarita flavoring can still be found today, modern slushie cocktail machines make it easy to whip up a quality blended beverage, creating ultra-consistent ice slush and mixing multiple flavors into one-of-a-kind creations. And though you might not have a full-on slushie or soft serve machine in your kitchen or home bar, that shouldn't stop you from enjoying a refreshingly icy drink or two on a hot day, like these frozen cocktails you should make this summer.