The Desert Bird Cocktail

June 22, 2021
9 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Serves 1
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Elizabeth Nelson
    Elizabeth Nelson
  • Staceyg68
Former Associate Editor at Food52; still enjoys + talks about food.

3 Reviews

Taylor S. February 23, 2022
I really enjoyed this drink! The campari and citrus juices really shine and complement the tequila nicely.
Elizabeth N. June 22, 2021
I love the Esquire and I love this cocktail
Staceyg68 September 27, 2018
I am a sucker for any drink with Campari.