The Frozen Margarita: How Tex-Mex Libation Met 7-11 Technology

In the last entry in this section, I waxed about my love for Tex-Mex; and how, if you love it too, then there’s something you love about Texas. This entry is sort of it’s own special subset of the last one. It’s about a special part of the Tex-Mex universe: the Frozen Margarita. Perhaps one of the ways we can judge that the Tex-Mex in general –and the Frozen Margarita specifically– has really become a part of the American psyche, is that the Smithsonian Museum has seen fit to acquire the very first Frozen Margarita machine. Like Fonzie’s jacket, or Walter Cronkite’s chair, it now rests in the hallowed halls of that great recepticle of history…

I have actually seen this machine many times. For years, it stood inside the original “Mariano’s Old Town,” another fine Tex-Mex place about five minutes from SMU. (Well, it WAS….it’s now closed. And the new one is at Skillman and Abrams. The family has also branched out into a new venture called “La Hacienda Ranch” which we also like, but which is a tad pricey…) You’d pass by this machine on your way in the door to have some fine food. Nobody knows the real history of the Margarita itself. But the history of the Frozen Margarita is that it was invented right here, in Dallas, Texas.

On May 11, 1971, Mariano Martinez –the owner of Mariano’s– got the brilliant idea to put Margarita mix inside a soft-serve ice cream machine. You should probably also know and remember that 7-Eleven was created here in Dallas too….and in those days, there was nothing bigger on a hot summer day than a 7-Eleven Slurpee. (perhaps a future entry?) So, one day after a visit to 7-Eleven for a cold slurpee, Mariano said to himself, “Why not do that for the Margarita too?”

And history was made. And it happened at just the same cultural moment that Tex-Mex was making its way from Texas, north across the United States, and eventually around the world. To use the theological word, it was the Kairos time for the Frozen Margarita to be invented. And so now, the original machine rests in the Smithsonian, and the drink itself has been, ahem, toasted by the likes of the Texas Legislature.

And I bet you like the Frozen Margarita. I bet you, or someone you know, has blended some up in your own home. And if you like them, then there’s one more thing that you like about Texas.


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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of The Woods United Methodist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. For seventeen years, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas, Texas. Eric is an avid blogger and published author. Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy.

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