Desert Bird

This post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure policy here.

Get Our Recipes Sent To Your Inbox
Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.

Cocktail History

The Desert Bird is a modern cocktail that was created at Esquire Tavern in San Antonio, Texas. It’s a variation of the Jungle Bird, another popular tiki drink that mixes tequila with pineapple, Campari, and lime, but this version swaps out tequila for mezcal to add more smokiness and uses homemade pineapple gum syrup instead of fresh pineapple juice.

Cocktail Ingredients

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

Tequila Reposado: This is a type of tequila made in Mexico with blue agave, sugar, and alcohol that is aged from two to twelve months. We used Arette Tequila Reposado because it has a light and peppery flavor. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Ritual Zero-Proof Tequila Alternative in place of the tequila.

Mezcal: This is a spirit made in Mexico with agave, sugar, and alcohol that is aged in an underground pit lined with wood. We used Del Maguey Vida Mezcal because it has a palatable mezcal flavor with notes of ginger, cinnamon, and tangerine. For a mocktail version of this drink, try MONDAY Zero Alcohol Mezcal in place of the mezcal.

Pineapple Gum Syrup: This is a sweetener made with pineapple juice, white sugar, gum Arabic powder, and citric acid. We made ours at home using Alex’s sous vide recipe.

Campari: This is a liqueur made in Italy with gentian root, rhubarb, citrus, herbs, aromatic plants, fruit, and alcohol. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Giffard Non-Alcoholic Bitter Syrup in place of the bitter liqueur.

Lime Juice: This is the liquid juice of a lime. We used freshly squeezed lime juice.

Saline Solution: This is a solution made with five to one kosher salt and water.

Lime Wheel: This is a lime slice that has been cut into a circular shape.

Bartending Tools

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

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Boston Shaker: This is used to shake ingredients. We used the Boston shaker from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Hawthorne Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is shaken. We used the A Bar Above Hawthorne Strainer.

Paring Knife: This is used to cut ingredients. We used the OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Paring Knife.

Juicer: This is used to juice citrus. We used the ALEEHAI Manual Fruit Juicer.

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.

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

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 Mixologist

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

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

Make It a Mocktail: Use Ritual Zero-Proof Tequila Alternative in place of the tequila, MONDAY Zero Alcohol Mezcal in place of the mezcal, and Giffard Non-Alcoholic Bitter Syrup in place of the bitter liqueur to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Shop Glassware & Tools

Find collections of cocktail glassware and bartending tools we recommend for your home bar in our Amazon shop.

More Campari Cocktails

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

Jungle Bird Cocktail Recipe

Jungle Bird: A rum cocktail made with Campari, lime juice, simple syrup, pineapple juice, and a lime wheel

Garibaldi Cocktail Recipe

Garibaldi: A Campari cocktail made with orange juice and an orange slice

Rhubarb & Gingerbread Negroni Cocktail Recipe

Rhubarb & Gingerbread Negroni: A gin cocktail made with Campari, sweet vermouth, gingerbread syrup, and an orange peel

Old Pal Cocktail Recipe

Old Pal: A whiskey cocktail made with dry vermouth, Campari, and an orange twist

This post contains affiliate links, meaning we make a small commission each time you purchase a product using our links. Product images sourced from Amazon Product Advertising API. Amazon affiliate links last updated on 2024-04-25.

Leave a comment