Copa Vs. Mad Mex: A Margarita-Off

Photo by Charles Wetherbee

I'm about to write something that may cause a riot.

Ok, maybe not a riot, but I'll certainly get some shade from my fellow Quakers for this post.

Let me take a step back. I love margaritas. Whether it's this artic tundra or a sunset-streaked beach beach, I truly think every day would be better with a sweet, tart and comforting drank in my hand. On campus, there are two margaritas that stand out: Copa's and Mad Mex's. I decided earlier this week that I wanted to do a margarita-off.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! You ask, wondering if it's as magical as it sounds, and if you too can get involved. Yes, yes it is as magical (I'm literally drinking margaritas for pseudo-scientific research), and sure, you can do it. I mean, unless you have better things to do, like study, or OCR, or something...

Whatever. To make this as fair as possible I decided to try the strawberry margarita at both Mad Mex and Copa during their Happy hour. I looked for factors like: taste (duh), price, lasting-power (how long did one drink last) and buzz-factor, rating each out of 5 points, giving an overall score out of 20.

Here are my results:

Photo by Charles Wetherbee

Photo by Charles Wetherbee

Copabanana (40th and Spruce)

Taste: The color is a pretty red, but the taste is so syrup-y sweet that after first taste I really, really wish I had just ordered original. Usually I like the addition of a fruit flavor, but in this instance it was certainly not real fruit. Rather, it seemed to be an after thought – what I can only imagine is a thick syrup made of chemicals and food dyes added to the shaker in hopes that the tequila would hide it's atrocity. Was that harsh? So was the taste.

Price: During Happy Hour, the margs are $5.

Lasting Power: This margarita's lasting power was real. The waitress brought the shaker over in such a cool, kitschy way and poured out one serving into the fun little margarita glass. Throughout the hour I sat at Copa with friends, I was able to pour out 2 1/2 glasses of margarita. Definitely bang for your buck.

Buzz-Factor: Not only did this margarita last a while, but I could taste the tequila (which is a good thing), and I felt it's power for about two hours after the drink.

Overall: With an overall score of 13/20 points, the biggest downfall for this margarita was it's syrupy taste. It was a fun drinking experience for the price of this drink, and I'd be willing to go back and try an original margarita to taste the difference.


Mad Mex (35th and Sansom, hidden in the alcove near the CVS on Walnut and 34th).

Taste: Frozen, fruity and delicious – this is my dream margarita. Although it's thickness makes this a little difficult to drink through the straw, after about 10 minutes it's frozen down enough to be slurped up. AND I can actually taste the real pieces of strawberry in this margarita. How amazing is that.

Price: During Happy Hour you get $7 Big Azz's (22 oz margaritas), $5 16 oz $3 12 oz. Mad Mex is certainly over-priced when you're going off-hours, but during happy hour I dare you to find a better deal that $7 for 22 oz of pure margarita.

Lasting Power: Simply because this drink takes longer to un-freeze, it has a relatively good lasting power. It is, however, fruity enough that you drink it relatively quickly and find yourself done with a margarita almost too quickly.

Buzz-Factor: This marg's buzz power is subtle. You can't quite taste the tequila, so it almost feels like you're drinking a smoothie and then before you know it you're feeling sleepy as hell and are like, what, when did this happen?

Overall: With an overall score of 16/20, this margarita beats out that of the Copa. Almost all the flavors I've tried at Mad Mex are delicious and I always have a great time when I'm there with friends.


Final Conclusions: For the sake of transparency, I have to say that I have always had a margarita-sized spot in my heart for Mad Mex. It's like a Saggurti Sister joint, and we've loved it for over 7 years. With that said, I know I may seem a little biased, but I really wanted to like Copa. It's so much closer than Mad Mex & would be a much more ideal margarita spot. Plus, it feels like everyone and their mother loves Copa. But, alas, I did not love.

Mad Mex 4evs.

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