Food & Nutrition

Celebrate the 2019 National Margarita Day the Keto Way

Celebrate the 2019 National Margarita Day the Keto Way

February 22 is National Margarita Day. Every year, people will gather around the cocktail bar on this very day to pay tribute and honor the margarita, which is possibly one of the most famous cocktails of all time. Classic margarita is a concoction of tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau or Triple Sec and is served in the eponymous margarita glass with salt on the rim.

But there is more than one way to make a margarita. You have fruity margaritas, spicy margaritas, frozen margaritas, on the rocks, straight up, and countless others. But most importantly, you also have keto-friendly margarita drinks.

If you're a big fan of margaritas yourself and are looking to celebrate this very special day the low-carb way, below are some fun facts about margarita as well as information on how and where to have some keto-friendly margaritas.


History of National Margarita Day

National Margarita Day is a quirky, made-up holiday celebrated every February 22. Now, everybody knows margaritas are best enjoyed in the summertime, at beach bars, under the moonlight. So, why was the middle of winter chosen to celebrate this exotic, warm weather drink?

The answer is because a guy named Todd McCalla said so. According to the official National Margarita Day website, Todd McCalla, who works as a real estate agent when he's not busy promoting margaritas, founded this day to spread his love for this famous drink. Other sources state he invented the holiday on a whim and that he chose February because it's a "sad, gray time of year for people and it'd be worth brightening it up with a margarita." Fair enough.

When you go to the National Margarita Day website landing page, you'll be greeted by Professor Hans von Puppet, who will educate you on why you need to celebrate the margarita. Feel free to explore the website for more margarita info.


Margarita Fun Facts

Margarita is an alcoholic drink called a cocktail. Classic margarita is 50% tequila, 30% Cointreau, and 20% fresh lime juice according to the International Bartenders Association. But that's not all what this famous drink is about. Here are some other fun margarita facts.


1. Its history is murky

The true origin of margarita is yet to be discovered. Countless stories on its purported history exist, and most trace the first margarita to the first half of the 20th century. One story, for example, states it was first made at a bar in Tijuana, Mexico, around 1930. An LA bartender named Daniel Negrete once claimed to have invented it and named it after his girlfriend while working at the Hotel Garci-Crespo in Pueblo, Mexico, in the mid-1930s. There are many more similar stories and none were confirmed to be true.


2. It's one of the most popular drinks in the world

Margarita ranks 8th on the top 50 list of the most popular drinks in the world in 2019 according to VinePair. It also reached number 6 in Drink International's 2018 ranking entitled "The World's Best-Selling Classic Cocktails". Its popularity is likely due to its tart and tangy simplicity. And maybe also because it’s the fanciest way to enjoy tequila.


3. There are around 150 calories in a serving

A 3.3 fl. oz. serving of classic margarita on the rocks will give you a little over 150 calories, most coming from alcohol and some from the liqueur and lime juice. Still, don't take these numbers too literally. The metabolism of alcohol is a complex process that makes estimating the exact caloric value of alcoholic drinks difficult [1].   


4. Margarita means daisy

The word margarita is Spanish for daisy. But why name this drink after a flower? It all allegedly started in the late 19th century when some guy walked into a bar in New York, asked the bartender to concoct him a drink, and once he had a sip exclaimed: “by George, that’s a daisy!” According to writer David Wondrich, the margarita was first described as tequila daisy. For reference, the original Daisy was a brandy-based cocktail that first became popular in the late 19th century. That essentially makes margarita just a tequila spin on Daisy.


5. The world's largest margarita was made in Vegas

The world's largest margarita was made in 2011, contained 8500 gallons, was held in a 17-foot-tall tank, and took 60 people 300 hours to make. It was made in the Flamingo Hotel’s Margaritaville Casino in Las Vegas, and the massive drink was called the “Lucky Rita.” The event was held to celebrate the opening of the casino.


You read that right, there are health benefits of sipping on some margarita. That is if you don't have more than two servings a day. In case you're curious, here's what those benefits are.


1. A source of vitamin C

You'll get around 9 mg of vitamin C (15% DV) from the 30ml of lime juice added to most margaritas. Vitamin C is a water-soluble and temperature-sensitive vitamin found in most fruits. On a keto diet, it can be hard to get enough vitamin C since your intake of raw fruit is limited. Guess that gives you a good reason to have a margarita here and there.


2. It aids in digestion

Tequila is considered a digestif, which is an alcoholic beverage served after a meal to help with digestion. However, no alcoholic drink can really make you digest food faster or easier. Instead, what drinking booze post meal does is slow down digestion, which gives you a feeling of fullness according to some studies [2].


3. It can reduce your risk of dementia

According to one 2009 meta-analysis, moderate alcohol drinking in late life reduces a person's risk of dementia [3]. As is often the case with alcohol, this effects is paradoxical since other studies show it can increase your risk of dementia when taken in excess [4].

To get any health benefit from margarita, keep your intake to a moderate one to two servings a day. Anything above that and you'll turn what could have been a tonic into poison.


Is Margarita Keto Friendly?

Classic margarita made with Grand Marnier is not the best choice of booze for a keto diet. A small 3-4 oz. serving will give you around 15g net carbs, all coming from the sugar in the liqueur but also from the lime juice. While this may not seem like much, it can take you close to your daily carb limit while not providing much of other nutrients other than sodium.

However, there are many low-carb and sugar-free margarita recipes out there. Skinny margaritas are becoming popular in the diet communities, but especially among keto followers. These rely on ingredients like stevia, orange extract, and water to help lower the drink's carb content. You'll find several such low-carb margarita recipes at the end of this article.


Celebrate the 2019 National Margarita Day the Keto Way_graphic

How to Celebrate Margarita Day on Keto

Just because you're on a low-carb diet doesn't mean you can't enjoy a nice glass of margarita. In fact, its main ingredient, tequila, is a keto-approved alcoholic beverage mainly because of its low sugar content. All highly distilled alcoholic beverages (aka spirits) don't contain any sugar, which is completely fermented in these drinks. So, feel free to imbibe margaritas the keto way:


1. Buy it sugar-free

There are sugar-free cocktail mixers you can order online. These can come in handy for parties or when you simply don't feel like mixing up a cocktail from scratch. Another option is to ask for a sugar-free cocktail at the bar and see if this is an option.


2. Make your own at home

Shaking up a frozen margarita or a margarita on the rocks at home is easy. All you need is high-quality ingredients to make it work. What that means is buying real tequila made with 100% blue agave, fresh and ripe limes, and low-carb flavorings like orange extract, liquid stevia, or erythritol drops. Of course, you also need a recipe. Check out our 50 keto drink recipes to get inspired (there are 3 margarita recipes there).


3. Keep it moderate

Even if you drink sugar-free, low-carb margaritas, you should aim to drink moderately. Excessive drinking is linked to a whole host of side effects and health risks like hangovers, addiction, gastritis, liver disease, pancreatitis, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more [5]. Always stick to one to two drinks per day, not only because too much alcohol is bad for you, but also because excessive drinking can interfere with ketosis.


4. Snack on

Drinking on an empty stomach can make it harder for your body to process alcohol and even get you drunk sooner. At least that's what two studies involving 28 subjects found [6], namely that the rate at which your body eliminates alcohol rises by 25% when you eat a meal. Researchers believe this effect is because food intake increases blood flow to the liver, which automatically makes it work better.


Margarita Day Specials Worth Checking

Many bar and restaurant owners will serve premium margaritas at low prices on this special day. Some also offer specialty drinks just for this occasion. Here are some margarita day specials worth checking. Keep in mind that most don't offer low-carb margaritas, but they may have other keto-friendly items on the menu.


New York

Haven Rooftop — Enjoy breathtaking views of New York City with great music and margarita specials on February 22nd starting at 4 PM. This fancy restaurant will offer Lime Margaritas for $10 and flavored margaritas for $16. You will also get to enjoy Tequila Cazadores and Tequila Shot Ski if you make your reservations now.


Seattle

Bahama Breeze – This place is calling you to celebrate Viva la 'Rita's Good Times. They offer new margaritas like the Mighty Blood Orange 'Rita and Piña Paradise, both their specialty drinks.


Miami

Miller's Ale House – Offers $2.22 House or Watermelon Margaritas all day. You can upgrade to Patron for just $1 more. While they don't offer low-carb meals, you can ask for bunless burgers, flat iron steak, or filet mignon.

San Diego

El Chingon — This “Badass Mexican” restaurant will toast to National Margarita Day with specially priced margaritas on Friday, Feb. 22. Offers will include its classic El Chingon Margarita with agave blanco tequila, lime juice, and organic agave nectar for$5 and Pancho Villa, Madero, and more.

Los Angeles

Chilis – Offers 3 margaritas, $5 each. Offers include the Cuervo Blue Margarita, the Tropical Sunrise Margarita, and the Blueberry Pineapple Margarita. Again, these offers are not keto-friendly, but if you're ok with a cheat drink, then go ahead.


5 Keto-Friendly Margarita Recipe Perfect for National Margarita Day

Finding a bar that serves low-carb margaritas is difficult if not impossible. That's why it's best to play things safe and make a glass of keto-friendly margarita at home. Here are 5 easy recipes to consider:


frozen-margarita-tequila-lime-cocktail-with-rimmed-glasses

1. Slushy margarita

Not everyone's a fan of margarita slushy. But if you love this ice cream lookalike or know someone who does, then this recipe will make for an impressive low-carb margarita slush.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2


Ingredients:

  • 4fl.oz. silver tequila
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon Swerve
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups ice
  • 2 lime wedges
  • Coarse salt

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve Swerve in water.
  2. Add the tequila, lime juice, orange zest, and ice to a food blender.
  3. Add in the Swerve mixture.
  4. Blend until smooth or until it develops a slushy texture.
  5. Run the lime wedges around the glass rim. Dip or sprinkle each glass with salt.
  6. Pour in the slushy margarita.
  7. Serve immediately.

Nutrition info (per serving)

Calories: 156; fat: 0.5g; protein: 0.5g; net carbs: 5.1g; sodium: 13mg


2. Mezcal slushy margarita

Try this low-carb take on slushy margarita with Mezcal instead of classic tequila. The added chili and cucumber definitely make for an refreshing and exciting drink.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4


Ingredients:

  • 6fl.oz. Mezcal
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons Swerve
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 cups ice cubes
  • ¾ cup lime juice
  • Salt and lime wedges, for the glass rim
  • Thin cucumber slices, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve the Swerve in water.
  2. Add the Mezcal, Sriracha, orange zest, ice cubes, serrano chili, and lime juice to a food blender.
  3. Add in the Swerve mixture.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Rim the glasses with salt.
  6. Pour in the margarita.
  7. Serve garnished with thinly cut cucumber slices.

NOTE: try using volcanic salt.


Nutrition info (per serving)

Calories: 119; fat: 0.4g; protein: 0.4g; net carbs: 1.2g; sodium: 18mg


close-up-of-fresh-lime-margarita-cocktail-with-sliced-lime-in-drink-and-wooden-cutting-board-filled-with-limes-and-knife

3. Mystic New York margarita

A real eye catcher, this New York style margarita is sure to impress. It also tastes heavenly thanks to the prickly pear and turmeric salt. Not to mention the added health benefits you'll get from these antioxidant-packed ingredients.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2


Ingredients:

  • 4fl.oz. silver tequila
  • 1 tablespoon prickly pear puree
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 ½ cups ice
  • Turmeric salt, and lime wedges for the rim

Instructions:

  1. Combine tequila, puree, and lime juice in a shaker.
  2. Shake until tequila is cooled.
  3. Rim the glasses with turmeric salt for some herbal saltiness.
  4. Pour in the prepared margarita.
  5. Serve.

Nutrition info (per serving)

Calories: 163; fat: 0.6g; protein: 0.6g; net carbs: 2g; sodium: 14mg


4. Saffron margarita

High-quality saffron is more expensive than gold. That means that what you're dealing with here is one luxurious drink. If you have a couple of saffron strands at hand, try making this aromatic and spicy cocktail drink.

Preparation time: 10 minutes + inactive time

Serves: 4


Ingredients:

  • 6 fl. oz. silver tequila
  • Few saffron threads
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 pinches bird's eye chili
  • 1 cup ice

Instructions:

  1. Combine the tequila and saffron in a small bottle.
  2. Close tightly and let the tequila infuse overnight.
  3. Once infused, pour the tequila into a shaker.
  4. Add ice and remaining ingredients.
  5. Shake well until the margarita is chilled.
  6. Rim the glasses with salt.
  7. Serve the margarita over ice.

Nutrition info (per serving)

Calories: 118; fat: 0.4g; protein: 0.4g; net carbs: 1.3g; sodium: 10mg


classic-Margarita-with-raspberries-and-mint-on-black-rock-background

5. Raspberry margarita

Another antioxidant-rich margarita to celebrate this special day is this sweet and fizzy version of your favorite cocktail. The ingredients are pretty simple and affordable too.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2


Ingredients:

  • 3oz. fresh raspberries
  • 1 pinch salt
  • fl.oz. silver tequila
  • oz. club soda
  • ½ tablespoon Swerve
  • Ice, as desired

Instructions:

  1. Puree raspberries with salt in a food blender.
  2. Strain the puree in a large jug.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir until Swerve is dissolved.
  4. Serve margarita over ice.

Nutrition info (per serving)

Calories: 164; fat: 0.3g; protein: 0.5g; net carbs: 2.3g; sodium: 19mg


Conclusion

Everyone's favorite cocktail definitely deserves a special day of its own. It also deserves to be celebrated as the great drink it is. For those on a low-carb diet, most bars and restaurants won't offer the margarita that they would love to have. Luckily, you can make your own at home or buy sugar-free margarita mixes online.

Are you planning to honor the margarita this year? If so, make sure to drink responsibly and always keep an eye on the carbs in your booze.

References

  1. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol Metabolism: An Update. Number 72. July 2007 - https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa72/aa72.htm
  2. Mitchell MC, Teigen EL, Ramchandani VA. Absorption and Peak Blood Alcohol Concentration After Drinking Beer, Wine, or Spirits. 2014 May - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4112772/
  3. Anstey KJ, Mack HA, Cherbuin N. Alcohol Consumption as a risk factor for dementia and cognitive decline: meta-analysis of prospective studies. 2009 July - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19546653
  4. Cheng C et al. Alcohol-Related Dementia: A Systemic Review of Epidemiological Studies. 2017 July - August - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28501289
  5. Rehm J, PhD. The Risks Associated with Alcohol Use and Alcoholism. 2011 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3307043/
  6. Ramchandani VA, PhD, Kwo PY, MD, Li T-K, MD. Effect of Food and Food Composition on Alcohol Elimination Rates in Healthy Men and Women. 2013 March - https://accp1.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1177/00912700122012814?sid=nlm%3Apubmed

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