Shanghai cocktail chain

Shanghai cocktail chain

You've got your favorite, but you know nothing. Here are the top cocktails from Shanghai's bar industry insiders

A plethora of new bars have come up in town in recent months and both newcomers and grizzled Shanghai barflies have suddenly found themselves overwhelmed with choices.

DRiNK magazine co-founder Dan Bignold helps to narrow the field, to the drinks that those in the know like best. 

Dan Bignold’s choice: The Manhattan

Shanghai cocktails -- The Manhattan - Fulton PlaceMade by: Nat Alexander at Fulton Place
What you're drinking: Willet rye and Dolin vermouth (“Antica Formula if you ask nicely,” says Alexander)
Price: RMB 78

Why I love it: "Call me conservative but I'd be content now and ever after if only two seasonal cocktails existed: a Dry Martini in the summer, Manhattan in the winter. Part of what makes Fulton Place's Manhattan stand out is the ingredients. The other part is that owner Nat, like me, is a self-taught bartender, and he seems to get excited about every cocktail he makes." 

Fulton Place, 1/F, 570 Yongjia Lu, near Yueyang Lu 永嘉路570号1楼, 近岳阳路, +86 21 3461 1775

Nat Alexander’s choice: Midnight Negroni

Shanghai cocktails -- Midnight Negroni - el coctelMade by: Marty Campaign at el Coctel
What you’re drinking: Rosso Antica Formula Italian vermouth, Martin Miller's London Dry Gin and Campari
Price: (Not yet on menu)

Why I love it: “It’s kind of specific -- it's different, not just a regular Negroni.”

el Coctel, 2/F, 47 Yongfu Lu, near Fuxing Xi Lu 永福路47号, 近复兴西路, +86 21 6433 6511

Marty Campaign’s choice: The Margarita

Shanghai cocktails -- The Margarita  -- UntouchableMade by: Tamura-san at Bar Untouchable
What you’re drinking: Tequila blanco, cointreau and fresh lemon juice
Price: RMB 50

Why I love it: “Right now the only cocktail bartender in Shanghai who practices on the same level as Mune at el Coctel is Tamura-san, head bartender from Bar Untouchable. And, the best drink I had there in recent memory is a simple Margarita.

"Ordering classic cocktails is the best way to separate barmen from barmice. No homemade syrups, limited edition bitters, over hyped micro-distilled brands or smoke and mirrors to hide behind. Just a basic recipe and superior technique -- it takes years of real apprenticeship under a master of his field to consistently turn out first class product like that.”

Bar Untouchable, Rm. 103A, Building 6, Lane 555, Gubei Lu, near Xianxia Lu 古北路555弄虹桥华庭园6号楼103A商铺, 近仙霞路, +86 21 6241 2941

Tamura-san’s choice: Suntory Premium Beer

Shanghai cocktails -- Suntory Premium Beer - Mardi GrasMade by: Kurihara-san at Mardi Gras
What you’re drinking: Beer (imported from Japan)
Price: RMB 65

Why I love it: “Kurihara-san’s drinks have good taste, but after a night of mixing drinks, all I want to do is unwind with something simple."

Mardi Gras, 372 Xingguo Lu, near Tai'an Lu 兴国路372号, 近泰安路, +86 21 6280 7598

Kurihara-san’s choice: Citrus Martini

Shanghai cocktails -- Citrus Martini -- KiitosMade by: Maiko-san at Kiitos
What you’re drinking: Citrus vodka, lime juice and Grand Marnier
Price: RMB 55

Why I love it: “This is Maiko-san’s special cocktail. Very refreshing.”

Kiitos, 1/F, 127 Yongfu Lu, near Fuxing Xi Lu 永福路127号1楼, 近复兴西路, +86 21 6431 3787

Maiko-san’s choice: Shochu on the rocks

Shanghai cocktails -- shochu -- shantyMade by: Hitomi-san (filling in for Tsuda-san) at Shanty
What you’re drinking: Premium Mao shochu imported directly from Japan
Price: RMB 150

Why I love it: “Shochu is very popular in Japan and this is one of the best places to get it.”

Shanty, 84 Wuyi Lu, near Yan'an Xi Lu 武夷路84号, 近延安西路, + 86 21 6225 8635

Hitomi-san’s choice: Cosmopolitan

Shanghai cocktails -- Cosmopolitan - Penthouse bar - hiltonMade by: William Dai at Penthouse Bar on 39 at the Hilton
What you’re drinking: Vodka, Cointreau, lime juice and cranberry juice
Price: RMB 65

Why I love it: “Normally I go to Japanese bars, but when I want to get a Cosmo with my Russian colleague I go to the Penthouse Bar at the Hilton. It has a great view of Shanghai and great drinks.”

Hilton, 250 Huashan Lu, near Yan'an Lu 250 Huashan Lu, near Changshu Lu 华山路250号, 近常熟路, +86 21 6248 0000

William Dai’s choice: The Dai Special

Shanghai cocktails -- Plaza 66Made by: William Dai

Dai might mix a mean drink, but he's is no barfly, so he usually makes this cocktail himself, but to keep the chain going, we’re headed to booze conglomerate Diageo’s Shanghai HQ at Plaza 66 since Dai says he love drinking anything with Grand Marnier and Diageo distributes Grand Marnier in a few markets globally ... and the office does have a well-stocked bar on premises (sorry, not open to the public).

What you’re drinking: Grand Marnier, ginger ale
Price: Friendship with someone at Diageo

Why I love it: “It is a very delicious and balanced cocktail and not too strong.”

Diageo office, Plaza 66, 39/F, Tower II,1366 Nanjing Xi Lu 南京西路1366号, +86 21 6138 2000

Diageo’s Sheyan Patel’s choice: Shanghai White Lychee Martini

Shanghai cocktails -- Shanghai White Lychee Martini -- Constellation 3Made by: Michael Wang at Bar Constellation 3
What you’re drinking: Vodka, lychee liqueur, splash of lemon juice
Price: RMB 70

Why I love it: “This is a great, off-menu drink that I would really enjoy in any of the Constellation bars, though number three is my favorite of the group.”

Constellation 3, 251 Huangpi Bei Lu, near Jiangyin Lu 黄陂北路251号, 近江阴路, +86 21 5375 2712

Michael Wang’ choice: A margarita

Shanghai cocktails -- margarita -- Okura Garden Hotel Made by: Pan Xingkang at Sky Bar at the Okura Garden Hotel
What you’re drinking: Tequila, Cointreau and lemon juice
Price: RMB 68

Why I love it: “This is such a popular Japanese cocktail lately, and the Sky Bar has one of the best views in the city.”

Okura Garden Hotel, 58 Maoming Nan Lu, near Changle Lu 茂名南路58号 近长乐路, +86 21 6415 1111

John Coughlan is a California native, Irish national, and longtime resident of Shanghai’s former French Concession.

Read more about John Coughlan
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