The Quest for the BEST Margarita in Chengdu
The Margarita: a Latin summer treat from the beautiful pacific coast is now a staple cocktail around the globe. What’s more, our lovely, spicey, foodie city has fallen for its limey wonder.
Cocktail bars, restaurants and hotels are all taking a stab at their own marg creations so lets get drinking, shall we? ~
19:00 – 2:00 : Daily
成都市二环路南三段紫荆北路2号 Tongzilin, Zijing North Road No. 2
At first glance, this margarita looks just as sharp as the bar. The presentation is simple: the 1920’s style bevelled martini glass and the almost luminescent color of the cocktail playing off the bar lighting is straight eye candy. Perfect for those 美女 WeChat moments. A strong nose & an even stronger first sip…. too strong. Why? the liquor – Jose Cuervo. Even IF it’s Jose ESPECIAL, at the price point, a better liquor would go a long, long way. The quest continues ~
17:30 – 22:30 : Daily
2F Fairmont Chengdu 成都棕榈泉费尔蒙酒店2楼 高新区天府大道中段269号
269 Tianfu Middle Avenue, Hi-Tech Zone
First off, the cocktail menu in The Fairmont’s magnificent Cube Bar is impressive. Marlon Sulindro: the Fairmont’s bar manager & flavor expert has paired off 8 cocktails to represent the flavor of 8 different provinces. His take for Suzhou is a funked up & fruity, butterfly pea flower infused margarita served in a swanky crystal flask called Changing Tides. This, ladies & gentlemen, is a cocktail; it’s deep and delicate, combining fresh presentation with a creative in-house flavor. It’s both tropical & floral, the carefully chosen flavors blend so well the cocktail comes off as soft & airy, swimming around the tastebuds with the wonder-punch of agave. This handcrafted Marg is a home run. You can-… no, you SHOULD –have a try.
16:00 – 1:00 : Daily
The Temple House, 81 Bitieshi Street, Jinjiang District 锦江区笔帖式街81号,博舍酒店
JING Bar houses many skilled bartenders & well executed classic cocktails. Keeping consistent, their premium margarita is served up in an elegant martini glass garnished with a wedge of lime and salted rim showcasing the hazy limey deliciousness inside. First sip is a charm. This is a masterfully balanced classic margarita; not too sweet, not too tart, & no harsh booze. Given the limited ingredients in the classic marg, seasoned hands & quality ingredients are the names of the game. You can taste the quality lime, top shelf tequila & orange liquor all the way down. Strong lime game, JING Bar – this one is smooth.
16:00 – 1:00 : Daily
Jinguanyi Street No. 1, ShuiJingTang Building 3 No. 2
The new cocktail house in ShuiJingTang right behind LKF is quite a sight. The ceiling mirrors, individual bar lighting & raised walkway in between VIP tables adds a cluby~speakeasy sort of atmosphere to your cocktail experience. Bar Mu offers great classic cocktails with no bull sh*t. This margarita is classy, the bartender grabs the good agave on the top shelf which is what we like to see for 80+ rmb. It’s smooth, yet slightly on the strong side which overpowers the lime we want for balance. If you fancy your drinks on the boozy side, Bar Mu’s margarita is for you. For a killer cocktail, try the Penicillin Sour instead.
5. Peter’s Tex Mex
07:30 – 23:00 : Daily
9 Locations in Chengdu
117, North Kehua Road 科华北路117号
“Woah, all these fancy ass places & then Peter’s? What sort of dog & pony show are you running here, Landon?” I agree, Peter’s margs are nothing new for the locals, but have you had the Coronarita? This little known gem on the menu is a Mexican-American bar classic; a margarita with a big ol’ Corona fixed to the side slowly pouring bubbly beer into that sweet, blended, artificially colored marg we locals love to love. If you think you don’t want bubbles in a fruity blended margarita, think AGAIN. My trusted drinking buddies Jonny & Ekaterina had some enlightening comments. Jonny likened the cocktail to a “drink from a little margarita shack on a Miami beach owned by a sexy Latina woman who likes to wink at me & comment on my impressive squat shaped quads,” while Ekaterina wrote a quick poem about bungie jumping & birthday celebrations. Here are my recommendations: lime is classically refreshing, strawberry cures that summer sweet craving & mango is the crowd favorite. P.S. ask for salt on the rim.
There are some seriously delicious margaritas to be had in the city, if you know the right places. The Chinese craft cocktail scene seems to favor serving margs UP (no ice & in a martini glass) with limited garnish. If that’s your proverbial cup of tea, JING bar is the way to go. For something hand crafted, expertly done & out of the box, try Cube Bar’s Changing Tides at the Fairmont Hotel & I promise you won’t be disappointed. Last but definitely not least, for something fruity & blended, skip on down to your friendly neighborhood Peter’s and grab a Mango Coronarita & don’t forget to ask for salt!
Landon Lee Lundquist is a food & beverage consultant and mixologist based in Chengdu, China.
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