Desert Bird

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Cocktail History

The Desert Bird is a riff on the Jungle Bird that was originally created by Esquire Tavern in San Antonio, Texas. Although the recipe still uses Campari, lime, and pineapple, it substitutes the classic tiki cocktail’s rum base for tequila and mezcal to add more smokiness and, instead of pineapple juice, uses our favorite homemade pineapple gum syrup.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Tequila Reposado: This is one of the base spirits. We used Arette Reposado because it’s light and peppery, and it’s affordable.

Mezcal: This is the other base spirit. We used Del Maguey Vida Mezcal because it offers aromas of tropical fruit, honey, and roasted agave and notes of ginger, cinnamon, and tangerine.

Pineapple Gum Syrup: This is a sweetener that adds fruity pineapple flavor. We made ours using Alex’s sous vide recipe.

Campari: This is an Italian liqueur. It adds its distinct bitter yet savory flavor.

Lime Juice: This adds sour citrus flavors that balance out the other smoky ingredients. We prefer to use fresh citrus juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes better.

Saline Solution: This is a salt water solution. It brightens fruit flavor and balances the smokiness of the mezcal as well as the bitterness of the Campari with saltiness. We made ours using Alex’s homemade recipe.

Lime Wheel: This is the garnish. It adds fresh lime aroma and flavor when expressed over the drink.

Tasting Notes

The Desert Bird features a smoky char-grilled pineapple aroma and a sweet, fruity initial taste that is followed by a lingering earthiness and bitterness through the swallow thanks to the Campari.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Alex really enjoyed this variation of the Jungle Bird, which is another cocktail he loves, and he could immediately see himself sipping it poolside and contemplating its complex flavors. Meanwhile, Kendall enjoyed its uniqueness but ultimately found it to be a bit too smoky and bitter for her palate.

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“The Desert Bird was a cocktail I tried before ever having its inspiration, the Jungle Bird. While I can’t pick one as a favorite over the other, I adore the Desert Bird in its execution. All of its flavors meld together extremely well. The slight Campari bitterness and mezcal earthiness, the sweetness of pineapple, and tequila’s agave notes are all a match made in heaven. While in some cocktails you have bold flavors that stand above the rest, this one doesn’t really have that as it feels more like an equal-parts drink in that everything is just perfectly rounded. The fact that the mezcal and Campari are barely present also makes it a great introductory drink for those flavors since most people who aren’t well acquainted with them will find them far too bold in most drinks.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐

“If you’re not used to the taste of Campari, this is about as palatable as a cocktail made with the bitter Italian liqueur gets. Although still a bit too bitter for me, it’s definitely a unique recipe that is worth trying at least once, especially if you already love Campari and are interested in finding out how it pairs with the agave flavors. Overall, it’s smoky, strong, and slightly fruity with a noticeable bitterness in the aftertaste that just might whet your appetite for another sip.”

Recipe

AuthorPart Time MixologistPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 1 oz Tequila
 ½ oz Mezcal
 ½ oz Campari
 ½ oz Lime Juice
 3 drops Saline Solution
 1 Lime Wheel

Method
1

Add tequila, mezcal, pineapple gum syrup, Campari, lime juice, saline solution, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lime wheel.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 oz Tequila
 ½ oz Mezcal
 ½ oz Campari
 ½ oz Lime Juice
 3 drops Saline Solution
 1 Lime Wheel

Directions

Method
1

Add tequila, mezcal, pineapple gum syrup, Campari, lime juice, saline solution, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lime wheel.

Desert Bird

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Tiki Cocktails

If you like this tiki cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Jamaican Mule: A rum cocktail made with ginger syrup, lime juice, pineapple juice, Angostura aromatic bitters, candied ginger, a lime slice, and an orchid blossom

Ginger Inferno: A rum cocktail made with ginger liqueur, velvet falernum liqueur, lime juice, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, a lime slice, and candied ginger

Paradise Lost: A vodka and sherry cocktail made with coconut water, lime juice, orgeat syrup, Angostura aromatic bitters, and mint

Zombie: A rum cocktail made with velvet falernum liqueur, Donn’s mix, lime juice, absinthe, grenadine, Angostura aromatic bitters, and mint

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