The Desert Bird Cocktail

August 15, 2018
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

This recipe is from the Esquire Tavern in San Antonio, home of Texas's longest bar counter (it's over 100-feet long!), with some tweaks. Bacanora, an agave-based liquor, tastes like a milder version of mezcal. If you can find it, I assure you that bottle will not go to waste; swap it for tequila or mezcal if any other cocktail recipe calls for those. And you can do the reverse here: Use mezcal or, if you don't like that smoky taste, tequila in bacanora's place.

Their original formula also uses something called "pineapple gum," so naturally, I emailed them and begged if there were any more accessible substitutes. Here's what Houston Eaves, their Beverage Director, said: "You could get relatively close by combining pineapple juice (ideally fresh-pressed) and simple syrup in a 1:1 ratio. However, I would definitely recommend using pineapple gum if possible, because it really offers a unique texture/mouthfeel to the cocktail. We make our own, but a high-quality version is available on Amazon."

We tested it with mezcal and the pineapple juice-simple syrup mix, and it was divine—the push-and-pull of sweet pineapple with bitter Campari is something else. —Nikkitha Bakshani

  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Serves 1
  • 1.5 ounces bacanora, mezcal, or tequila
  • .75 ounces pineapple gum (or simple syrup mixed with equal parts pineapple juice)
  • .50 ounces Campari
  • .50 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 sprig mint, for garnish
In This Recipe
  1. Shake all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker; strain over ice. Serve with mint leaf.

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Former Associate Editor at Food52; still enjoys + talks about food.