With the frigid winter upon us and here to stay for a while, a lot of energy is spent just keeping warm. But who says that has to put a damper on the social lifestyle to which so many expats quickly become accustomed? Luckily, it doesn’t. Shanghai is famous for its inventive cocktails, and wintertime proves no exception. Read on for some warm alternatives to your usual imbibing routine.
1) The RamblerView In Map
This cute little stand is discreetly built into the main thoroughfare in Tianzifang near NY Style Steak & Burger and Kaiba Terrace. It doesn’t even have a sign above the makeshift bar – you have to glance at the menu to see it’s oh so appropriate name: The Rambler. And you do, indeed, feel quite like the roving traveler when stopping here for a drink, largely due to its casual presence. The bartenders also happen to be the friendliest folks in the city. So what is their standout winter cocktail? None other than Glühwein, a hot spiced red wine concoction that has spread in popularity from its native Germany to all over the world – including Shanghai! The Rambler’s Glühwein is equal parts warm, strong, and soothing, with gentle hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a whole lot of sweet red wine (and rum!). It’s the perfect way to enjoy that rare sunny cold winter day.
Add: Jianguo Zhong Lu, near Ruijin Er Lu, Shanghai
Opening hours: 11:00-23:00
2) SkylineView In Map
Skyline is great at changing up its specialty cocktails based on the weather. In the summer time you can find one of the best sangrias in town. But in winter, you can count on some creamy warm drinks that are invariably topped with copious amounts of whipped cream. I personally think that the best one of the bunch is Strawberry Fields. Think milk, vanilla vodka, and pureed strawberries (topped with whipped cream, of course!) served in a glass mug with a spoon for those who just want to get down to business. It reminds me of a grown up version of the hot Nesquik strawberry milk I used to drink as a kid. The only problem I’ve found with it? It’s so deceptively good that I wind up sipping the whole thing away in a matter of minutes. Luckily, the drink isn’t super strong (unlike some of the other cocktails on this list!) so it won’t involve a headache in the morning.
Add: 455 Fahuazhen Lu corner of Xianghuaqiao Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 021 5230 6308
Opening hours: 11:00-02:00, daily
3) Boxing Cat BreweryView In Map
Another seasonal favorite of mine is the Brown Cow at Boxing Cat Brewery. Another milky invention, it also involves butterscotch schnapps and a light hint of caramel. Be forewarned, however, that this is pure dessert territory. It’s not exactly something you’ll want as a pre-dinner drink or during a meal, due to its intense sweetness. And while you may look a little out of place surrounded by all those microbrew beer drinkers, it really is a nice way to top off a salty meal at either of the Boxing Cat Brewery’s two locations. Just be prepared for a slight sugar rush at the end!
Add: Sinan Mansions, Unit 26A, 519 Fuxing Zhong Lu, near Sinan Lu, Shanghai
地址：上海市思南公馆, 复兴中路519号26A, 近思南路
Tel: 021 6426 0360
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 17:00-02:00; Sat-Sun, 10:00-02:00
4) HOFView In Map
The mecca of all things chocolate, it should come as no surprise that House of Flour (HOF) excels at spiked hot chocolate as well. While Bailey’s has been added to hot chocolate since the beginning of time (well, at least since the invention of Bailey’s), HOF manages to elevate the whole thing with its sinfully rich chocolate. While the drink may sound like it would be a bit on the sweet side, the chocolate actually adds a delightful bite to the whole thing. If you’re looking for the perfect classic winter drink (and powdered chocolate with skim milk just isn’t cutting it), you can’t get any better than HOF.
Add: 30 Sinan Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 021 6093 2058
Opening hours: Sun, Tue-Thu, 11:00-12:00; Fri-Sat, 11:00-01:00
5) Southern BelleView In Map
Southern Belle may not be loved for its food, but they sure do know how to do good cocktails! Their winter appropriate selections are no different, especially when it comes to the Hot Buttered Rum. In case the name doesn’t give it away, this non-diet friendly drink involves butter, dark rum, brown sugar, and various spices including cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s basically dessert in a mug, which sounds awfully tempting this time of year.
Add: 433 Changle Lu, near Xiangyang Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 021 5403 3218
Opening hours: Daily, 11:00-02:00
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Keywords: Winter cocktails Shanghai best winter drinks Shanghai
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