Spring Fever

By on March 13, 2012

Spring Fever

Tucson Festival of Books March 2012

Every Spring, The Tucson Festival of books welcomes hundreds of authors to this book-loving high desert town. Over 100,000 attendees will welcome these word smiths, and will fill the tents along the Mall at the University of Arizona. http://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/   I am honored to be a moderator for three seminars on the culinary stage this coming Sunday, March 11, 2012. James Beard award winner and culinary pioneer Nancy Silverton is coming to share her Mozza cookbook with us as well as a brilliant recipe for her re-imagined Mozza Caprese. I featured this on my weekly cooking segment on KVOA this week http://www.kvoa.com/videos/let-s-make-a-meal-mozza-caprese/ . Also coming to this year’s festival is the remarkable Jim Meehan, pioneering founder of PDT ( Please Don’t Tell: the re-imagined modern speakeasy in New York City) and the author of The PDT Cocktail Book. I will be quite surprised if the PDT Cocktail Book is not nominated for a James Beard Award and Spirit Awards this year, for best cocktail book.

But I am feeling  the stir of restlessness in my soul that buds must be squirming with right now as they get ready to burst open. The moon is full and shining on us, but I think the real root cause of my squirm is old fashioned spring fever. As the song goes, I am as restless as a willow in a windstorm. Literally. As zephyr winds blow through Tucson, Arizona at 56 mph, wreaking dusty havoc, my parched palate is on a passionate quest for quenching. And not just any sort, I am talking about professional Spring Fever quenching. The sorts of sips that make you swoon and sigh. The kind of quench crushes that one develops at this gold-green time of year when buds break gently.


One sip and bam, you’re hooked. It happened to me this week. I fell in love with a perfect sip. From the PDT Cocktail Book, an incongruous list of ingredients with a sombrero slouching name; I introduce you to The Siesta. Sigh.

Siesta cocktail

Courtesy of Katie Stipe and credited with origins dating from 2006, The Siesta is a magical combination of El Tesoro Platinum Tequila, Campari, lime juice, grapefruit juice, simple syrup. Shaken with ice and poured into a coupe and garnished with a grapefruit twist. It would be too east to say I could never have imagined that Campari ( which I love) would marry so well with the Tequila. But it is a triumphant natural.

I adore how this magical combination becomes a variation on a grapefruit margarita, which on its own, might not be too remarkable. But the addition of the Campari, the beauty of it , is like just the right amount of gorgeous red lipstick on an already beautiful woman of a certain age. Irresistible. The Campari makes the drink rich, delicious, sophisticated and nothing short of perfect. I can hear Frank Sinatra singing about riding in the backs of limousines with girls of independent means. I imagine that limo driving through the windswept, rain slicked streets of New York City in early March, just before the first day of spring, up Park Avenue past median beds of brand new lipstick red tulips. It was a very good year. Thank you Katie & Jim.


2oz. El Tesoro Platinum Tequila

.5 oz. Campari

.5 oz. lime juice ( freshly squeezed please)

.5 oz. grapefruit juice ( freshly squeezed please)

.5 oz. simple syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.


Katie Stipe,

New York, 2006


KVOA TV-4 Fresh@4 Food Contributor

2010 Gracie Allen Award Winner: Best Interview Program

The Food & Wine Radio Network…Radio That Satisfies

James Beard Award Winner


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About Jennifer English

Jennifer English is a James Beard Award winning broadcaster has a life long love of beverages and has been observed with her customary three different sips at mealtime. Her favorite fashion accessory for is a green glass Perrier bottle. She is a fifth generation tippler who proudly and passionately pursues well crafted cocktails around the globe. KVOA TV-4 Fresh@4 Food Contributor 2010 Gracie Allen Award Winner: Best Interview Program The Food & Wine Radio Network...Radio That Satisfies James Beard Award Winner