Taste of the Tropics Li Hing Mango Margarita

A tasty Hawaiian treat – sweet and salty li hing mango – makes this margarita recipe a cut above any other. It’s festive and bright both in flavor and color and is sure to be the talk of the town at your next fiesta!

This Li Hing Mango Margarita makes a beautiful cocktail out of a classic Hawaiian snack. It's sweet, salty and tangy all in one! #margaritaweek #margaritarecipes #lihingrecipes

Boy, do I have a great cocktail recipe for you today! It’s just the right amount of sweet, salty and tangy and looks as beautiful as it tastes. This Li Hing Mango Margarita is sure to knock your socks off.

I’m so excited to be participating in Hola Jalapeño’s fourth annual #margaritaweek today. With Cinco de Mayo and lots of fun summer festivities right around the corner, it couldn’t come at a better time! I’ve already been drooling over all of the #margaritaweek recipes of years past, and this year I’m so excited to contribute my own.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying li hing mango, you’re in for a treat. I typically only snack on it whenever we’re in Hawaii, but it’s also sooo easy to make on your own as long as you have two ingredients on hand: a deliciously ripe fresh mango and li hing mui powder!

This Li Hing Mango Margarita makes a beautiful cocktail out of a classic Hawaiian snack. It's sweet, salty and tangy all in one! #margaritaweek #margaritarecipes #lihingrecipes

But wait, I know what you’re thinking: What the heck is li hing mui powder? Well, let me tell you.

What is li hing mui?

In a nutshell, li hing mui is a dried Asian plum, and the powder is simply these same plums ground into a fine dust. It’s quite popular in the Hawaiian islands, most often used to give a salty twist to sour gummies or dusted over fresh or dried tropical fruit. The third most popular use of li hing mui? You guessed it – in cocktails!

While you may be able to find li hing mui powder at a good Asian grocery store, I’ve found that simply ordering it via Amazon Prime is the most surefire way to get a hold of it, and it lasts forever because just a little bit goes a long way. You can find my favorite li hing mui powder here[affiliate link]

How to Make a Li Hing Mango Margarita

Aside from the li hing powder and mango, this recipe very closely mirrors a typical margarita recipe. You’ll need both fresh mango (for garnish) and mango juice (for the cocktail), but other than that we’re looking at the usual suspects: tequila, orange liqueur and limes.

Now, before we get into the actual cocktail-making, we need to prep our glasses. Since the li hing powder is already a tad salty, I decided to rim my margarita glass with a combo of lime juice, sugar and that bright red salty stuff. I simply ran a lime wedge around the rim of my glass, and then dipped it in the sugar-li hing power mixture. Then you’ll want to load up your glass with ice to make sure your margarita is nice and frosty as soon as it’s poured.

Once that’s done, we can get into the good stuff. We’re going to throw our tequila, mango juice, orange liqueur and some more li hing powder into a cocktail shaker with more ice, and give it a good rattle or two. After that, simply strain into your prepared glass, garnish with a lime wheel and mango wedge and, voila, you’re ready to sip on the tastiest margarita in town.

This Li Hing Mango Margarita makes a beautiful cocktail out of a classic Hawaiian snack. It's sweet, salty and tangy all in one! #margaritaweek #margaritarecipes #lihingrecipes

You can check out all of the official #margaritaweek recipes here (and be sure to check back, because new recipes will be posted all week!), but I’ve also gone ahead and put together my own little margarita recipe roundup from here on the site. If nothing else, I hope it inspires you to get in the kitchen and whip up your own favorite margarita (or two) this weekend!

More Margarita Recipes to Try

If you prefer your margie blended rather than on the rocks, give these Frozen Watermelon Peach Margaritas a shot!

If you’re into margaritas in the neon color family, this bright pink Prickly Pear Margarita is definitely one for you.

Looking for something different that will bring out your newfound taste for mezcal? You’ll want to try these Smoky Pickled Strawberry Margaritas.

A great wintertime margie? This Pomegranate Margarita fits the bill!

This Li Hing Pineapple Margarita is for you if you want to try li hing with alllll the tropical fruits.

Get it while you can: this Blood Orange Margarita always speaks to me when I can find those elusive blood oranges!

More pineapple with a shot of extra acidity – If you’re a fan of grapefruit, you’ve got to try these Pineapple Pummelo Margaritas!

This Li Hing Mango Margarita makes a beautiful cocktail out of a classic Hawaiian snack. It's sweet, salty and tangy all in one! #margaritaweek #margaritarecipes #lihingrecipes

Taste of the Tropics Li Hing Mango Margarita
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins

A tasty Hawaiian treat – sweet and salty li hing mango – makes this margarita recipe a cut above any other. It’s festive and bright both in flavor and color and is sure to be the talk of the town at your next fiesta!

Course: Drinks
Keyword: cocktails, drinks, Hawaiian, mango, margarita, tequila
Servings: 1 drink
Calories: 309 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
For the rim:
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon li hing mui powder
  • 1 lime wedge
For the cocktail:
  • 1 1/2 ounces white tequila
  • 1/2 ounce orange liqueur (Triple Sec or Cointreau)
  • Juice of 1-2 limes (depending on how tart you like your margie)
  • 2 ounces mango juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon li hing mui powder
To garnish:
  • Lime wheel
  • Mango slice
  • Cocktail pick
  1. In a small bowl or ramekin, mix together the sugar and li hing mui powder for the rim. Once mixed, pour onto a small round plate in a circle the size of the rim of your glass.

  2. Take the lime wedge and run it along the rim of whatever glass you are using, then dip the rim in the sugar-li hing powder mixture. Add ice to fill the glass and set aside.

  3. In a cocktail shaker halfway filled with ice, add the tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, mango juice and li hing mui powder. Seal tightly and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds, then strain into your prepared glass.

  4. Slide the lime wheel and mango slice onto the cocktail pick and use it to garnish your drink, then enjoy!

The Most Refreshing Tropical Sangria

A unique, refreshing tropical sangria featuring some of the best flavors of the islands. Pineapple, mango, white wine and RUM all come together in a delicious drink that’s fit for a crowd.

A refreshing, make-ahead Tropical Sangria to feed a crowd!

Okay, I just want to start off by saying I am completely aware that this is the second tropical recipe I’ve posted in a row, but I don’t think you’ll blame me once you see what I have in store for you. This refreshing Tropical Sangria was inspired by our trip to Hawaii a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say it is one of the best sangrias I’ve tasted in a loooooong time.

If you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that there aren’t more recipes for Tropical Sangria out there in the world. I saw it on the menu of the pool bar at the condos we stayed at on Oahu and, although I never got a chance to try that one (well, I had the chance, the mai tai I had from them was just enough to discourage me from trying any more of their mixed drinks), I knew I wanted to try and make my own – and undoubtedly better – version as soon as we got home.

Mix up a pitcher of this refreshing Tropical Sangria before your Labor Day get-together!

If we’re thinking “tropical,” of course we’re going to go with a white wine base. And we’re not talking chardonnay – this white wine needs to be crisp, refreshing, herbaceous and, yes, tropical. I went for a Sauvignon Blanc, but a Pinot Grigio would be great as well.

The next step is to find the most tropical fruit that you can. Pineapple and mango always seem to be a safe bet here on the mainland, but you could also incorporate things like passion fruit, guava or even lychee if you can find them.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I like my sangria to be a little more “high octane” than just your average bottle of wine. And don’t even talk to me about adding any sort of soda water. I think it just waters things down wayyyyyy too much, especially since our Tropical Sangria is going to be served over plenty of ice. This is where the rum comes in! I mean, come on, there’s no liquor that’s quite more tropical than that.

Finally, there are a couple of other not-so-secret ingredients that really seal the deal, and they’re ingredients you’ll find in many of your favorite tiki drinks. We’re talking orange curacao and orgeat. Sure, you could leave them out, but I love the extra dimension they give the drink and they truly do make it taste much more tropical.

A great batch cocktail, this Tropical Sangria is perfect for your next cocktail party.

One thing I love about this drink (aside from how tasty it is) is that, unlike many other cocktails, this makes a huge batch. In other words, it’s perfect for a party! I recommend mixing it up in a pitcher in advance and getting the sangria nice and chilled – sans ice – until you’re ready to serve. When it comes time for your guests to whet their whistles, just scoop the ice into the individual glasses and pour the sangria over it. Don’t forget to scoop out some of the fruit into each glass! That booze-infused juiciness is the best part.

A glass of refreshing, boozy Tropical Sangria is just the cocktail you need for your next party.

If you ask me, this Tropical Sangria is the perfect drink for your long Labor Day weekend. No matter where you find yourself, everyone can use a little island flavor in their life, right?

The Most Refreshing Tropical Sangria
Prep Time
5 mins
Refrigerator time
30 mins

A unique, refreshing tropical sangria featuring some of the best flavors of the islands. Pineapple, mango, white wine and RUM all come together in a delicious drink that’s fit for a crowd.

Course: Drinks
Keyword: batch drink, cocktails, drinks, entertaining, mango, pineapple, rum, sangria, tropical, white wine
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 335 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 2 cups cubed mango
  • 1 whole pineapple, cut into wheels and cored
  • 2 750mL bottles white wine (I recommend Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio)
  • 3/4 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup orange curacao
  • 1/2 cup orgeat
  1. Place mango and pineapple in the bottom of a large pitcher. 

  2. Pour all other ingredients into pitcher and stir.

  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve (I recommend at least 30 minutes.)

  4. Pour into individual wine glasses filled with ice to serve. Be sure to scoop in some of the fruit!

Indian Summer I

Summer isn’t over yet!

Indian Summer I | CaliGirl Cooking

It seems like as soon as the calendar turned to September 1, the Internet started exploding with all things pumpkin, apple and spice. But let’s not forget that we technically still have two whole weeks before we officially say au revoir to the warmest season of the year!

Granted, I do have some tasty fall-themed recipe ideas lined up for you in the coming weeks, but before we get to that, I wanted to leave you with a couple more summer-inspired cocktail recipes, the first of which I’ll be sharing with you today. Yes, they are both called Indian Summer (hence the “Indian Summer I” and, next week, the “Indian Summer II”) but although there will be a couple of similarities (mostly the beautiful orangeish-red color) they each are pretty darn unique in their own way.

Indian Summer I | CaliGirl Cooking

My friend Vanessa and I came up with these Indian Summer cocktail recipes in preparation for our other friend’s “Convention of Cocktails” birthday party we attended over Labor Day weekend. Basically, everyone teamed up in groups of 2 or 4, and had to come up with a unique cocktail recipe. Then the birthday gal and her hubby-to-be made the rounds and tasted everything, eventually deciding on a winner. Isn’t that such a great party idea? We definitely all need to start planning some of those.

We actually decided to make the Indian Summer II for the party (which I’ll be sharing next week,) but I dare say this Indian Summer I would have put up just as much competition against the other drinks vying for the prize.

We knew the birthday gal liked bubbles, so needed to create something that had at least a splash of sparkling wine in it if we had any chance of winning. My hubby also just so happened to have received a new product to try, Ciroc Mango Vodka and, because it was getting rave reviews, had been encouraging me to make up a cocktail recipe with it.

Indian Summer I | CaliGirl Cooking

Vanessa and I decided to combine the mango vodka with the bubbles, some date caramel for sweetness (yes, you can get it premade…I used this exact one for the recipe!) and a healthy dash of Aperol to really bring that sunset color home. If nothing else, this Indian Summer cocktail was going to be a beaut!

But boy, it did not end up letting down in taste either. You get some fantastic tropical flavor from the mango vodka (to always remind us of these glorious summer days), the perfect healthy sweetness from the date caramel, a balance of bitter from the Aperol, and of course….BUBBLES!!!! We also just had to garnish with a fresh lime wedge to cap off the summery feel and add just a touch of acidity. Do we have all of the tastes covered or what?

The great news is, you can adjust this drink with a little more or less of each ingredient, depending on how sweet, bitter or acidic you like your cocktails to be. Taste too strong? Try adding a tad more date caramel. Don’t like the bitterness of Aperol? Use less (or none at all, although then you’ll really be missing out on that beautiful color.) It’s totally up to you!

Indian Summer I | CaliGirl Cooking

Indian Summer I is the perfect drink to savor these last few beach weekends, before we start cozying up indoors and devoting our weekends to watching football. So go grab yourself these ingredients, order some date caramel, and whip some of these up ASAP. We’ll squeeze out every last ounce of the season as if our lives depended on it!

Indian Summer I
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
A sparkling wine cocktail with tropical mango and lime flavors to help say farewell to summer.
  • ½ teaspoon date caramel
  • 1 ounce mango-flavored vodka we used Ciroc Mango
  • ½ ounce Aperol
  • 3-4 ounces sparkling wine depending on glass size
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  1. Add date caramel and vodka to a champagne flute. Stir together so date caramel isn’t just sitting in the bottom of the glass.
  2. Add Aperol, then sparkling wine, and garnish with a lime wedge.

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support CaliGirl Cooking!

Indian Summer I | CaliGirlCooking.com


Oh heeeey bae….

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Orange-Mango-Coconut Boozy Bobas

Why, oh why did I not think of this sooner?

Orange-Mango-Coconut Boozy Boba | CaliGirl Cooking

I’ve taken the Taiwanese frosty favorite bubble tea (or boba) and turned it into a cocktail. Yes sireee I sure did. It was the perfect refresher on Sunday afternoon when we returned from the 110 degree heat of San Luis Obispo/Santa Margarita. Chris and I sucked these Orange-Mango-Coconut Boozy Bobas down like we were coming off of a weekend full of too much laughter and indulgence (oh wait, we were, weren’t we?) And with the holiday weekend upon us, I’m sure those remaining tapioca pearls (i.e. the “bubbles”) will be put to VERY good use.

Speaking of, what are everyone’s plans? We’re looking forward to spending some time down at the beach and on our friend’s yacht watching the fireworks on the 4th of July, and we’re sooo hoping to get our tan on since our wedding is now less than a month away…eeek! June gloom please stay away because this bronzin’ progress needs to start, like, ASAP.

So, for those of you who have never heard of bubble tea or boba before, allow me to give you some background. Boba originated in Taiwan in the 1980’s and it has really taken off since then. I first started drinking it when I lived in Hawaii, and boba shops have slowly been popping up all over the rest of the U.S. ever since (in fact, we have our very own “805 Boba” at the mall here in Santa Barbara!) There are two generic categories of boba, the first being a mix of fruit and some sort of milk and the second being the fruit mixed with just ice and syrup for a more “slushy” version. Add some chewy tapioca balls to either of these combos and you have your bubble tea. The trick is slurping it up with a specially designed, ultra-wide straw so you get the tapioca balls and the fruit mixture in every single sip. It’s refreshing because of the fruit, yet strangely satisfying because of the chewiness of the tapioca. These could certainly pass as a snack!

Orange-Mango-Coconut Boozy Boba | CaliGirl Cooking

Although boba is typically made with a powdered non-dairy creamer or a sweetened condensed milk, I opted to go the more tropical (and healthier) route and use coconut milk for these Orange-Mango-Coconut Boozy Bobas. I figured we’d get plenty of sweetness from the fruit. And boy was I right?

I used a combination of fresh whole mango (cut off the pit, of course) and fresh orange juice with the coconut milk, and added in a hefty amount of ice to get the mixture nice and frothy. You could certainly also use frozen mango chunks and less ice and come up with an even creamier frozen consistency, I just had a ton of fresh mango on hand that I needed to use up. The only other ingredients we need to take this drink from “wow” to “wowza” are the tapioca pearls (which you can find here on Amazon, along with the special straws, so convenient), some white rum, and a little squeeze of fresh lime juice. Tropics – we’re comin’ for ya!

Orange-Mango-Coconut Boozy Boba | CaliGirl Cooking

Now, don’t be intimidated by these odd-looking tapioca pearls (they really look like little turds, pardon my French.) I had never cooked them before either, but it was so easy! Just a little boiling on the stove and tossing in honey and you’ll be good to go. Have no fear.

So, first step would be to “cook” the tapioca pearls, and then set them aside in their cozy honey bath while you make the frozen concoction. Blend together the mango, orange juice and coconut milk, then add in the lime juice, ice and rum.  Scoop the boba into the bottom of the glasses you’ll be serving in, then top them with the slushy, frothy, creamy, delicious Orange-Mango-Coconut mixture. Before you know it, you’ll have your Orange-Mango-Coconut Boozy Bobas in hand sitting out in the warm sun. Does it get any better than that?

Orange-Mango-Coconut Boozy Boba | CaliGirl Cooking

Orange-Mango-Coconut Boozy Bobas
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
An adult spin on the classic Taiwanese bubble tea or "boba." Refreshing orange, mango and coconut with the slightest hint of rum.
  • 1 cup tapioca pearls
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 mangos peeled and cut off the pit
  • Juice of 2 large oranges
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 ounces white rum
  • 4-5 cups ice
  • Juice of ½ to 1 lime
  1. Cook tapioca pearls according to package directions. Once drained, stir in honey. Set aside.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine mango, orange juice and coconut milk. Pulse until puree forms. Next, add rum, ice and lime juice and blend again until mixture is even and frothy.
  3. Scoop a couple of tablespoons (depending on how much boba you want in your drink) of the tapioca pearls into each glass. Pour orange-mango-coconut mixture over top. Add an [extra-wide straw|Cook tapioca pearls according to package directions. Once drained, stir in honey. Set aside.
  4. In a blender or food processor, combine mango, orange juice and coconut milk. Pulse until puree forms. Next, add rum, ice and lime juice and blend again until mixture is even and frothy.
  5. Scoop a couple of tablespoons (depending on how much boba you want in your drink) of the tapioca pearls into each glass. Pour orange-mango-coconut mixture over top. Add an extra-wide straw and enjoy!

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Mango Shrimp Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

A refreshing, wine-friendly Mango Shrimp Salad tossed in a champagne vinaigrette, perfect for an easy spring or summer dinner.Mango Shrimp Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette | CaliGirl Cooking

Taste memory. It’s a thing, I swear. I’m sure you’ve experienced it before. One taste of a particular dish and it brings you right back to a certain place and time. It’s like scent or song memory. You smell a fresh pumpkin pie and are suddenly taken back to your grandparents’ kitchen over the holidays, or you hear that Boyz II Men slow jam that brings you back to your first junior high school dance. It’s funny how these things have such an impact on us, and can affect us so deeply no matter how many years down the road that memory is reignited. Taste is no exception.

Being a foodie, I have pretty acute taste memory. If I taste something unforgettable, you bet I’m going to remember where I was and what I was doing when I tasted it. This Mango Shrimp Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette is a case in point. About 6 years ago, when I was in the transition of moving back to the mainland from Hawaii and doing a bit of a 180 on my chosen career path, my dad and I decided to take a father-daughter trip to France. I was earnestly studying for my sommelier exam and we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to immerse myself in one of the most historic wine-producing countries in the world.

The trip was amazing. My dad hired a British driver to take us around to some of the best wine-producing regions, and we got to experience not only the “big name” wineries but also the smaller tasting rooms (literally, tasting in the basement of one winemaker’s house or sitting in the backyard of another’s with a few bottles of wine and a single, delicious wheel of soft, pungent cheese.)

Probably the most memorable area we visited was Pouilly-Fuisse. We stayed at the cutest little bed-and-breakfast, La Bergerie de Fuisse, where the “house chickens” literally laid the eggs we would enjoy for breakfast on that very morning. The owner was the most genuine hostess and we have been trying to plot a trip back to see her ever since we left.

Just outside of Pouilly-Fuisse was a small town called Salutre. This small town did not have much, but it did have one restaurant, high on a hilltop, that we made the short drive to for dinner. This here “only restaurant in Salutre” is where we enjoyed one of THE best salads we had ever had. I know, who gets excited about salad? But that’s what makes this so special. It is a salad. And it is unforgettable. The simplicity of this Mango Shrimp Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette is astounding for how good it tastes.

Mango Shrimp Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette | CaliGirl Cooking

On a bed of mixed greens we have some deliciously seasoned shrimp, fresh sliced mango and toasted macadamia nuts (among just a few other things), all lightly tossed in a light champagne vinaigrette. That’s it! Pretty simple, right?

This Mango Shrimp Salad is the epitome of how JUST enough of the right flavors can make something truly amazing. The dish is light and tropical from the mango and macadamia nuts, yet the champagne vinaigrette gives it a refreshing richness that lends it well to white wine, and especially Chardonnay, which is the only grape approved for the Pouilly-Fuisse appellation. It’s light enough to be served as an appetizer, but also perfectly suitable as a meal. I’m immediately drawn to the thought of it being served as an easy, spring or summer-time dinner served with a crunchy French baguette and some stinky cheese. Or maybe I’m really just envisioning myself back in Pouilly-Fuisse? I certainly wouldn’t object.

Mango Shrimp Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette | CaliGirl Cooking

Mango Shrimp Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
A light and refreshing yet filling salad inspired by French wine country living.
For the shrimp:
  • 24 medium shrimp peeled and deveined
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Juice of ¼ of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the champagne vinaigrette:
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar or white balsamic vinegar would work too
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
For the salad:
  • 8-10 cups mixed greens such as arugula, Romaine, chard, mizuna, radicchio & spinach
  • 4 mangoes peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup raw macadamia nuts toasted
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • ¼ cup fresh chives chopped
  • Microgreens to garnish
To make the shrimp:
  1. Season shrimp with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and lemon juice.
  2. In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil. Once oil is warm, add shrimp and cook until done, about minutes each side.
  3. Remove shrimp from heat and set aside to cool. Once shrimp has cooled slightly, place in refrigerator to finish cooling to serve on the salad.
To make the champagne vinaigrette:
  1. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a Mason jar. Shake to combine.
To make the salad:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss mixed greens with prepared vinaigrette. Divide greens up amongst four salad bowls. Top with mango, tomatoes, macadamia nuts, chives, shrimp and microgreens.
  2. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Wine Pairing Notes: Naturally, this dish lends well to a more acidic, earthy Chardonnay such as those from Pouilly-Fuisse. It would also pair fabulously with sparkling wine or a heavier, California Sauvignon Blanc.


Mango Shrimp Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette | CaliGirl Cooking

Please take me back!