The Man and His Machine

It was 1971 and Mariano Martinez had just opened his first restaurant in Dallas, Texas. It was an instant sensation. However, on opening night guests were complaining about the consistency of the blended margaritas that Mariano developed using his father’s secret recipe. They complained that some were nice and cold, some were melted down and some were not cold at all. Mariano immediately addressed these complaints with his bartenders. They threatened to quit, telling Mariano that the margaritas were too hard to make, especially consistently.

After a sleepless night Mariano went to get his morning cup of coffee at a local 7-11 store. When he walked in, he noticed a little girl pulling a frozen Slurpee from a machine, and it hit him. If he could make his margaritas using precise portions that he could control ahead of time instead of in the middle of a rush, and make them in large quantities and freeze the batches in a machine, his problems would be solved. Easier said than done.

It took countless hours of hard work and ingenuity. Mariano spent day and night tinkering with an old soft-serve ice cream machine, and souping it up like you would with a car. The result? The World’s First Frozen Margarita Machine.

The word about his frozen margaritas spread and Mariano’s became the destination for margaritas in Dallas. And the frozen margarita machine soon became standard equipment in restaurants – exploding the popularity of tequila and early Tex-Mex cuisine both in Texas and worldwide.

Mariano’s invention is such a part of our culture that, in October 2005, the World’s First Frozen Margarita Machine was inducted into the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. In September 2010 it was named one of the “Top Ten Inventions from the National Museum of American History’s Collection.