The Frozen Siesta is one of those unicorn drinks that everyone likes in the summer. Just tequila, Campari, simple syrup, and citrus, blended with ice into a boozy slushee. Even better? You can mix it ahead of time and have it ready to go for parties or BBQs!
Photography Credit: Alison Bickel
Even cocktails can get uncomfortable when the weather turns hot—on a 90° day, a chilly classic gets to room temp pretty quickly if it’s served without ice.
But don’t despair! Let your freezer and blender rescue happy hour. This drink hits all the right notes: It’s refreshingly tart and a little bitter, a nice change-up from your standard gin and tonic or frozen margarita.
What is a Siesta Cocktail?
Back in 2006, bartender Katie Stipe created the Siesta by riffing on the Hemingway Daiquiri, a Havana-made concoction made with white rum, fresh lime juice, fresh grapefruit juice, and Maraschino liqueur. Instead of the rum, Stipe used blanco tequila, and instead of the Maraschino, she opted for bittersweet Campari, an Italian liqueur that you may be familiar with if you like to drink Negronis.
Shaken and served in a coupe glass, the Siesta is bracing and bright, with the perfect bitter edge. Still, in summer, we like it even better frozen!
In this recipe, I punch up the flavors a bit and increase everything but the tequila to make sure the citrusy, tart-and-bitter flavor comes through, even when the drink is mixed with a copious amount of ice.
What Tequila Should I Use?
Any blanco tequila you like to sip will work well in this drink. I like to keep a decent 100% agave-based bottling around for all sorts of cocktails. A few favorite brands include Tequila Ocho, Tapatio, Siembra Azul, Olmeca Altos, Azteca Azul, Arette, and Calle 23.
Avoid mixto tequilas, which are distilled from a mix of agave and cheaper sugar.
And if you’re wondering what to make with the rest of the bottle, consider a Paloma or a Bloody Maria!
What’s the Best Way to Make Frozen Drinks at Home?
If you don’t have a slushee machine on your counter, you can use your blender to make a smooth frozen concoction. But it takes a little advance prep:
- Freeze the base: First, combine your drinks in a resealable container, such as a mason jar, and let it chill in your freezer for at least four hours. It won’t freeze solid, but the temperature will drop way, way down, so the mix won’t immediately melt the ice in the blender.
- Then blend with ice: When you’re ready to make a drink, simply blend with ice. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups of ice per drink for proper dilution, so consider picking up a big bag from the store. (You can double this recipe to make more drinks, but just be sure to blend it one batch at a time, so as not to overload your blender.)
Feel free to keep multiple batches in your freezer if you have a crowd to serve!
What Glass Should I Serve This Drink In?
I like a rocks glass rimmed with salt for this drink, but you could also serve smaller portions in a stemmed glass. If you don’t feel like rimming the edge with salt, just add a pinch to each drink, but don’t skip it altogether—the salt brightens the flavors and balances the Campari’s bitterness.
Tip: Put the glasses in the freezer after you’ve rimmed them to keep the drinks cool a little longer!
MORE TEQUILA COCKTAILS FOR THE SUMMER
Frozen Siesta Cocktail Recipe
1 Make the simple syrup: Mix 1/3 cup warm water and 1/3 cup sugar in a small mason jar. Seal well and shake until completely dissolved. Refrigerate until well chilled, and up to 1 week.
2 Assemble the cocktail, then freeze: Combine tequila, chilled simple syrup, Campari, lime juice, and grapefruit juice in a resealable container. Seal well and place in freezer for at least 4 hours, and up to 1 day.
3 Rim the glasses: Place kosher salt on a small plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rims of 2 rocks glasses, then dip the rims in salt. Place glasses in the freezer to chill.
4 Blend the cocktail: When ready to serve, add the chilled cocktail mix and 3 cups of ice to a blender. Process until smooth, about 25 seconds. Pour into rimmed glasses and serve immediately. Enjoy!