Frozen Siesta Cocktail

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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.

How to make frozen siesta cocktails at home in a blender Tequila frozen siesta cocktail in a blender

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!

Frozen siesta summer cocktail in a glass with lime and salt

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!

Tequila frozen siesta cocktails in short glasses with salt and lime

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

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Chill time: At least four hours
  • Yield: 2 frozen cocktails

Chilling the drink mix in advance helps the cocktails stay cool without the need for more ice, which can dilute the flavors if added to excess. If you don't have a high-powered blender, use crushed ice.

If you double the drink recipe, split it into two batches to avoid overfilling your blender. You’ll use a ratio of 10 ounces mix to 3 cups ice in each one.

Ingredients

For the simple syrup:

  • 1/3 water
  • 1/3 cup sugar

For the cocktail:

  • 4 ounces blanco tequila
  • 1 1/2 ounces chilled 1:1 simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounces Campari
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
  • 3 cups ice
  • Lime wedge and 2 tablespoons kosher salt, for rimming the glass

Method

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.

Orange frozen siesta in a mason jar with campari bottle

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.

Two peach frozen siesta cocktails in a glass with lime wedges

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!

How to make frozen siesta cocktails at home in a blenderTequila frozen siesta cocktail in a blender

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Maggie Hoffman

Maggie Hoffman is the author of Batch Cocktails, a collection of pitcher drinks, and The One-Bottle Cocktail. Her writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Food + Wine, Rachael Ray Every Day, Wine Enthusiast, and others. She's recently returned to Brooklyn, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and many, many bottles of booze.

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2 Comments / Reviews

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  1. Tom

    What if you do have a slushy machine on your counter? And by that I mean a Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker. I am under the impression it can be used to make slushy beverages, but I don’t know how to modify blended drink recipes. Would I substitute some amount water for the ice?

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Frozen siesta cocktail made in the blender and poured into a salt rimmed glassFrozen Siesta Cocktail