The Desert Bird Cocktail

By Nikkitha Bakshani
August 15, 2018
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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

Serves: 1
Prep time: 5 min

  • 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
  1. Shake all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker; strain over ice. Serve with mint leaf.

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