It balances four of the five human tastes
A human taste bud can identify five different tastes: salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami -- a Japanese term for meaty/savory named by the Japanese chemist who discovered it. The margarita nails four of those five: the salty rim of the glass, the sweetness of the agave, the bitterness of the tequila, and the sourness of the limes. And besides adding that salty/sweet complexity, the salt rim has a balancing effect: According to the Institute of Medicine, sodium-containing compounds neutralize bitter tastes on the tongue. So when you take a sip of a margarita with salt, you cut the bitterness of the lime and tequila, while heightening the sweetness and sourness. That citrus flavor from the lime also helps neutralize bitterness, thanks to its high acidity.
It can be deceptively simple or ridiculously complex
A classic margarita is made with three things: tequila, lime juice, and agave. Normally, you’ll also throw in some orange liqueur, like triple sec or Cointreau. That super simple recipe creates lots of scope for variations, like the jalapeno margarita (which will actually help cool you down in hot weather), or sweeter takes with fresh berries and herbs. Mezcal, another liquor distilled from agave, has a smoky flavor and is also used in marg variations. Or, you can try a Cadillac, which is a margarita topped with a floated shot of Grand Mariner. That original margarita recipe is most likely a variation on the “tequila daisy” cocktail, which involved citrus, a sweetener, and tequila, and became popular after the end of Prohibition. Spanish for “daisy” is, you guessed it, “margarita.”