It’s no surprise that when summer comes around, our taste in cocktails tends to shift towards simpler, more refreshing drinks. But it isn’t just a case of the weather (it’s nice here most of the year), it has more to do with the nature of summer, giving us plenty of free time with family and friends. Cook-outs and impromptu get-togethers mean lots of opportunities to mix quick, tasty cocktails. And since we are often mixing at someone else’s place, it is good to have some creative recipes that use common ingredients. (Trust us on this one, we once drove all over eastern Long Island trying to find a bottle of Benedictine. No Luck.)
But using common (or at least, easily purchased) ingredients doesn’t mean you get a common cocktail. A little tweaking and tuning on classics often gives you a very tasty, complex sip, but without a lot of work. Such is the case of this week’s cocktail, the Siesta. The Siesta combines blanco tequila, Campari, lime juice, grapefruit juice and simple syrup. It lands somewhere in between a margarita and a Hemingway Daiquiri with the added bitter kick (and beautiful color) of Campari. The first sip makes it clear this is a summery drink, but the Campari and grapefruit give the depth that makes the last sip as good as the first.
The Siesta is from the PDT Cocktail Book and mixologist Katie Stipe. As PDT recipes go, it is one of the most simple. But it is in the book to illustrate what they call an “aha!” moment when Stipe made a small tweak to a classic and ended up with something new and very, very good.
In this case, the real tweak is adding the Campari (look in the back our your liquor cabinet, you might have some). We have a love / hate relationship with Campari (we sometimes prefer mixing with its little cousin Aperol). Too much Campari and we get ashy, syrupy flavors that kill anything else. But when Campari is used well, we get the pleasant bittersweet and fruit notes that make it a mixologist’s favorite. The Siesta uses just enough Campari that you know it’s there, but it plays nice with the tequila, lime and grapefruit. (Another drink in this category is the Jasmine, also a good summer sip).
So when you are mixing drinks this summer, by all means go with the Margarita, daiquiri or GnT, but leave a little room to play around. Look in the back of the liquor cabinet, pantry or fridge for something a little different. Then riff on the classic. You may have your “aha” moment.
(From Katie Stipe and the PDT Cocktail Book)
- 2 oz. blanco tequila
- 1/2 oz. Campari
- 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- Grapefruit twist, for garnish
- Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until will chilles and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe. Garnish with the grapefruit twist. Serve.
- Variations – The Negroni (drinkstraightup.com)
- Saturday Cocktails: Campari (justinlovewithberni.com)
- File Under: Hot Dates – Negroni Week! (thedizzyfizz.wordpress.com)
- Summer Negroni (espressoandnegroni.wordpress.com)
- Diablo Splash Hit (sixtwists.wordpress.com)
- Saving Summer’s Trashiest Cocktail: Make Way For The $21 Long Island Ice Tea (theawl.com)
- Side by Side – Bitter Orange Spirits (drinkstraightup.com)
- Campari’s One-of-a-Kind Bartender Bash (manhattanwithatwist.com)
- The Negroni That Wasn’t (shakestrainandsip.com)