The best margaritas in Shanghai

Pick your poison: frozen or on the rocks, sweet or sour, salt or no salt

Photograph: courtesy Tai's Captures on Unsplash
Summertime is margarita season and no matter the location – poolside, rooftoppin’, in a cocktail den – there's always a time and a place for the world’s happiest tequila-based drink. In Shanghai they come in all shapes and sizes and answer all the major questions: frozen or on the rocks, sweet or sour, salt or no salt. Here are the slurpiest margaritas in the city for you to cool off and sing Margaritaville to.

Frozen

Strawberry, Cantina Agave
Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Strawberry, Cantina Agave

Frozen is the name of the game at Cantina with strawberry the fruitiest of flavours to cast your mind back to your last holiday. Boldly presented and brimming with tropical vibes, make sure to drink this one quickly before it melts in the summer heat. 55RMB


Ingredients: Diligencias tequila, Cointreau, homemade lime juice, blended with ice.

Lime, Tacolicious
Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Lime, Tacolicious

Tacolicious sticks with what works, and the frozen lime margaritas here are dangerously deceptive as the liberal amount of tequila is hidden away behind the sharp tang of a lime. Topped with their trademark purple orchid flowers, these are cool enough to chill you out even on the hottest of days. 50RMB (happy hour, 40RMB)


Ingredients: Olmeca tequila, agave syrup, lime juice, lemon juice, triple sec.

Coronarita, El Santo
Photograph: Courtesy El Santo

Coronarita, El Santo

The Coronarita at El Santo is appropriately described on the menu as a party in a glass. Basically it’s a Corona tipped upside down into a frozen margarita glass. It’s a shamelessly booze-heavy beverage that goes hand in hand with brain freeze-laden good times. 65RMB (happy hour, 50RMB)


Ingredients: Frozen margarita (passion fruit, strawberry, mango or passionfruit) garnished with a Corona.

Coffee, Solana
Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Coffee, Solana

Solana go wild with the mantra ‘the more the merrier’, offering an eye-popping range of margarita styles with coffee standing out as the most radical of the bunch.This uniquely distinct blend of Sumerian coffee and tequila proves that opposites can indeed attract. 60RMB


Ingredients: Sumerian coffee beans, Diligencias blanco tequila with everything else up to your choice.

Traditional

Lime, Colca
Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Lime, Colca

Colca doesn't over complicate things, with a generous serving of rim salt and a healthy does of Jose Cuervo in its marg. Fresh lime juice gives it a sour kick, well-representative of the Peruvian-inspired restaurant. 78RMB.


Ingredients: Jose Cuervo Tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and sugar syrup.

Classic, Union Trading Company
Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Classic, Union Trading Company

One for the purists, Union’s version is Tommyish by design. In sticking with important fundamentals, it’s high on volume and zing with a citrusy lime base. Extra agave ramps up that customary refreshing taste whilst the salt, normally half rimmed, is left open to customisation. 85RMB (happy hour, 60RMB)


Ingredients: Hi Degree tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime, agave nectar, half-rimmed salt and a lime wedge.

El Presidente, Chili's
Photograph: courtesy Chili's

El Presidente, Chili's

The margaritas at Chili’s are a destination in themselves with the El Presidente serving as the main attraction. Sitting pretty in a martini glass, and shaken 25 times all the way up to your table, there’s no slouching here when it comes to packing a punch. 68RMB (happy hour, 48RMB)


Ingredients: Camino tequila, brandy, triple sec, lime juice.

Classic, DrinKuaidi
Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Classic, DrinKuaidi

A no-frills classic margarita that does everything it’s supposed to. Served roadside, this functional beverage comes at an affordable price point and does an admirable job of juggling both sour and sweetness. It also holds enough zap to start random chats with your fellow on-the-go sidewalk drinkers. 35RMB


Ingredients: Olmeca tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and sugar cane syrup.

More funky twists

Tomato, Pocho Social Club
Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Tomato, Pocho Social Club

Travel off the beaten path with Pocho’s savoury riff on the margarita. Here they maintain freshness by infusing Hi88 tequila with tomato juice so the spice doesn’t offset the distinct sourness of the tequila and the main focus is kept on the spirits. 70RMB


Ingredients: Muddled cherry tomatoes, tomato-infused tequila, blanco tequila, lemon juice, agave syrup and Tabasco.

Avocado, Maya
Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Avocado, Maya

Avocado isn’t usually what comes to mind when thinking of margaritas, but Maya make the transition from abnormal to normal seamless with this earthy variation. Half a fresh avocado is blended with the usual plus a small pinch of cilantro to create a wholesome creamy-smooth texture. 92RMB


Ingredients: Half a fresh avocado, Jose Cuervo Silver tequila, triple sec, Maya's sour mix, agave nectar and a small pinch of cilantro.

Blueberry, Cages
Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Blueberry, Cages

Who says you need beer for watching sport? The blueberry margarita at Cages is here to swat away those pesky social norms.This super sweet combination is shaken attentively to foamy effect and then garnished with three blueberries on a powdered sugar rim. 98RMB


Ingredients: 1800 Silver tequila, blueberry, lime and agave syrup.

Cucumber, Funkadeli
Photograph: courtesy Funkadeli

Cucumber, Funkadeli

Funkadeli keep it cool using the cucumber as the face for their margaritas. Shaken well with chilli-infused tequila, fresh cucumber and lemon juices, then garnished with cucumber slices, these are lush and not overly strong. They make a worthy companion for any hot afternoon. 65RMB


Ingredients: chili-infused tequila, cucumber juice, lemon juice and agave syrup.

Mango Moogarita, Fat Cow
Photograph: Rupert Hohwieler

Mango Moogarita, Fat Cow

Aptly named, the Moogaritas at Fat Cow cater towards slamming rather than sipping.The mango is the pick of the bunch, with its sweet overtones and heavily sugared rim. This will lead you in good stead before the inevitable Wuding/Yangping Lu bar crawl. 55RMB (happy hour, 33RMB)


Ingredients: Sipsip tequila, Cointreau, fresh lemon, lime and mango.

Make your summer even better

Comments