Weekly Cocktail #53: The Siesta

The Siesta Cocktail

The Siesta Cocktail

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.)

siesta10siesta5But 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.

siesta4siesta3The 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.

siesta2siesta6In 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).

siestaSo 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.

The Siesta:

(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


  1. 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.

13 thoughts on “Weekly Cocktail #53: The Siesta

  1. Looks great. The citrus and tequila is such a great combo. I just bought some lavender infused simple syrup that I’m having a lot of fun toying around with for the summer!

      • Isn’t that always how it is? A few years back, I had the hardest time finding Angostura bitters. Turns out there was a shortage. One of those things you never think there would ever be a shortage of!

      • Still hard to find in some places. I am a bit sheepish to admit it, but when we travel for long spans we bring bitters with us, just in case…

  2. I can’t wait to try this one! I love most things with good silver tequila and I have been wanting to give Campari a try again. I so wanted to like it when I first tried it several years ago because it seemed like such a “chic” cocktail addition, but no such luck. I think my palate has changed and grown up a bit…maybe it will work for me in this drink!

    • We had the same issues w/ Campari (and it is overused by many). But as an accent or sub for other liqueurs it does work. Both this drink and the Jasmine are good examples of some restraint…

  3. anything with “siesta” in the name is fine by me. Loved this line: “But using common (or at least, easily purchased) ingredients doesnโ€™t mean you get a common cocktail.” PDT Cocktail sits on my shelf and it’s full of uncommon and amazing drinks for sure.

    Curious, where do you find “plenty of free time” for relaxing during the summer? When I do the math, it comes up as K (kids home from school) + MW (Mom has same amount of Work) = LTfR (Less Time for Relaxing)

    How can I get your answer?

    • Maybe it’s just wishful thinking? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Really we just host the kids and their parents for dinner drinks or offer to make a bunch of this stuff. In some ways easier to police the kids as a group. So maybe “free time” is a bit of a misnomer…

  4. I have to agree with Liz…just the name catches my attention. I like Campari and everything about this one. I’d enjoy a couple on a lazy summer afternoon and then take that siesta! ๐Ÿ™‚

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