The Strange Legend Behind Why Margarita Glasses Have Their Shape

Have you ever been enjoying a refreshing rim-salted margarita on the rocks and found yourself wondering about the different shapes of cocktail glasses? The shape of a margarita glass is very similar to that of a martini, but there are some differences. For example, margarita glasses are typically larger and have a wide, shallow bowl with a broad rim. They are designed to hold a more significant amount of liquid, whereas martini glasses are smaller and have a narrower, cone-shaped bowl with a smaller rim. They are designed to hold a smaller amount of liquid. 

The shape of margarita glasses, like the shapes of most drinkware, serves a purpose. The unique shape and design of margarita glasses help create a memorable drinking experience and enhance the taste and presentation of the drink, but how do these glasses get their respective shapes, to begin with? For a margarita glass, that depends on the legend you believe. 

The origins of the margarita

You may think that the origins of the margarita would point to a clue about how the glass got its shape, but its origins are uncertain, and there are several stories about how the drink came to be. The most widely accepted theory is that the margarita was invented in Mexico in the late 1930s or early 1940s. One story claims that a socialite named Margarita Sames created the drink for her guests at her Acapulco vacation home. 

Another theory suggests that the margarita was invented by Carlos "Danny" Herrera, a bartender at Rancho La Gloria, a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico. According to the story, in 1938, a customer asked Herrera to create a drink that would not taste like the strong tequila he had tried before. Herrera combined tequila, lime juice, and triple sec and served it over ice in a salt-rimmed glass. Much like the theories of where the margarita drink came from, the origins of the margarita glass are also surrounded by mystery.

Marie Antoinette and the margarita glass

One theory is that the glass came into being at a Los Angeles restaurant. The story goes that they ordered new champagne glasses and accidentally received glasses with an unusual shape. Instead of tossing them out, they used them as margarita glasses. One highly-contested origin story is that these glasses were shaped from French champagne glasses or coupes, smaller than today's margarita glasses. They were reportedly designed to resemble Marie Antoinette's left breast because she wanted her court to drink to her health from bosom-shaped glasses.

Of course, the margarita glass shape resembles an upside-down sombrero hat, so maybe that's where it gets its design. Regardless of where they came from, the margarita glass is the perfect shape for serving margaritas, whether they are frozen or on the rocks. The wide rim is ideal for adding salt, sugar, and garnishing fruit, and the stem is easy to hold without getting your hands too cold.