Skip to content

Cocktail Hour: The Siesta is the Zesty Tequila Cocktail of Summer 2023

Similar to a Paloma, the Siesta is full of citrus and a burst of colour

Bookmark article to read later

By Bon Appetit US | November 10, 2023 | Recipes

This cocktail is already lying to you. Your relationship is built on deception. Normally, I’d say run for the hills, but when it comes to the Siesta, you’re better off sticking around. Sure, siesta means an afternoon nap, but the Siesta is quite the opposite. It’s a cocktail here to raise you from the dead of winter, to shout through a bullhorn made from fruit, sunshine, and booze that it is, indeed, time to wake the hell up. There’s no easing into spring. Spring is here NOW.

The Siesta is a citrusy, tangy tequila creation that receives little of the love that the world shows for tequila cocktails. It lives in the shadow of heavy hitters like the margarita and the paloma. No one yells loudly in a crowded bar, “You grab the tacos. I’ll grab the Siestas,” to their friend Kiley, who has already had two drinks too many. But they should. Oh, yes. They should.

The base of the cocktail is tequila blanco (the clear stuff that tastes like sharp, vegetal agave, not old wooden barrels). I like the tequila blancos from Pueblo Viejo and Cabeza for a Siesta, but Andrew Knowlton also told me that El Tesoro Tequila Blanco is perfect for this cocktail. The high quality of the agave (and the clean, smooth flavor that comes with it) is definitely worth throwing down a couple extra bucks for a bottle.

The Siesta’s parade of colour and flavour comes from its secondary ingredients: Fresh lime and grapefruit juice, all acid and bright fruit, usher the dregs of winter right out onto the back patio. Simple syrup’s sweetness makes sure that citrus doesn’t get too rowdy, which it has been known to do. And the addition of Campari keeps the whole thing interesting, providing just a hint of herbal bitterness to keep you on your toes.

Yeah. Sounds like a real party, right? Glad we’re on the same page. Here’s how I make my Siesta, based on a previously existing Bon Appétit recipe:

Siesta Cocktail Recipe

Fill a shaker with large ice cubes. (Any cocktail that contains citrus juice should be shaken, not stirred, so the juice mixes evenly throughout the cocktail.) Add 2 oz. tequila blanco, ¾ oz. simple syrup, ¾ oz. fresh lime juice, ½ oz. Campari, and ½ oz. fresh grapefruit juice to the shaker, cover, and shake for at least 30 seconds, until the shaker is cold as all hell. Remove the top and strain the liquid through a mesh strainer, into a glass. The Siesta is traditionally served in a coupe glass, but guess what? I don’t really like coupe glasses. I like glasses that feel like they’re not going to fall over. So pour it into any kind of cocktail glass you want.

Add a grapefruit peel as a garnish. Most siesta recipes will use a lime wedge, but I prefer the extra dose of bitterness and aroma from the grapefruit rind.

Spring cocktails don’t need to be delicate or floral. They don’t need to be poetic or precious or covered in cute herbal wreaths. The only thing a spring cocktail needs to do is remind you that there is life to live. And that after you finish your first, you better be in the act of making or ordering a second.