Frozen Margarita Machine Invented in Dallas Turns 50 – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Did you know the frozen margarita machine turns 50 this month?

It marks a milestone for Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez, who is credited with creating the first frozen margarita machine.

As he told NBC 5 over the years, the idea came after customers complained in 1971 about being served watered down margaritas at Mariano’s original location on Greenville Avenue in Dallas.

“We had a very popular restaurant and couldn’t keep up with the demand for the margarita,” said Mariano. “And they complained that they were inconsistent and not cold.”

The idea for the frozen margarita machine came after having a coffee after a hard night at the restaurant.

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Mariano Martinez invented the frozen margarita machine.

“One day I was in a 7-eleven store and saw children buying a Slurpee, and that gave me the idea. I said, “Hey, I was wondering if you could freeze a margarita in a slurpee machine.”

It turns out you could. Mariano bought a soft ice cream maker, tinkered with it, and pulled the lever on May 11, 1971, and Mariano’s signature mushy green frozen margarita came out.

The invention marked a milestone for Mariano, the tequila industry, and bars and restaurants across the country.

His original machine is now on loan to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC

It’s safe to say that the frozen margarita is loved by Texans.

“I’ve been thinking about why we love it so much and why it’s so accessible,” said Sarah Blaskovich, food writer for Dallas Morning News. “A frozen margarita has something to offer. It’s a grown slurpee, you know, with some alcohol. And the margarita, of course, is a tequila cocktail made with a spirit that our neighbors in Mexico made. So I like to think that Texans especially like the margarita and other tequila cocktails because tequila comes from close to home. “

The Texas heat and mostly year-round weather on the patio may have fueled the drink’s popularity.

“It seems like a drink you should be drinking outdoors, and like I said, it’s like a grown up slurpee. It’s hot out in Texas, you sit outside and you want something super cold, ”said Blaskovich. “I love that you can get margaritas in jugs. You can’t get every cocktail in a jug, and you shouldn’t need a whole vat, but it’s super divisible at a time when we love to share it again. “

Margaritas also helped the restaurant industry weather a rocky 2020. Many were selling take-out margaritas to help them stay afloat during the pandemic.

“It’s comfort food, it’s comfort drink,” Blaskovich said. “We needed things that made us happy and I think a lot of people ordered them, but we saw non-Tex-Mexican, non-Mexican restaurants start selling margaritas too. It was just a different thing to take home and a different way for them to make money. ”

“There is a restaurateur who runs upscale Italian restaurants – nothing to do with chips and salsa and margaritas. He opened a standalone restaurant called Ritas and Queso ‘and all they did was deliver margaritas and queso to your doorstep. It was just delivery. I had a baby during the pandemic and one of my friends sent me Ritas and Queso – the experience of opening my front door and unexpectedly finding half a gallon of margaritas and hot queso with fries on my doorstep. There is nothing better in the world, right? “

So celebrate the frozen margarita birthday!

Toast Mariano Martinez and his big idea and thank the drink that helped Texans survive in 2020.

Fifty has never tasted so good.

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