Recipe courtesy of Freddie J Bitsoie

Prickly Pear Margarita

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 10 min (includes cooling time for the syrup)
  • Active: 10 min
  • Yield: 1 cocktail
Prickly pears are everywhere in the Sonoran Desert from August to mid-November, but few people know that the cactus is edible. There's nothing like a prickly pear margarita at the end of the day. Though some people use prickly pear juice, I make prickly pear syrup. A couple of pinches of chile flakes add a little kick to the drink.




Prickly Pear Syrup:


  1. For the cocktail: Combine the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, agave, prickly pear syrup and chile flakes in a cocktail shaker and incorporate all the ingredients by shaking it to your own rhythm.
  2. For the garnish: Pour some lime juice on a saucer. Mix together the sugar and salt on a separate saucer. Dip the rim of a 10-ounce glass into the lime juice and then dip the rim into the sugar and pink salt mixture. Fill the glass with ice, pour in the cocktail and garnish with prickly pear, if using, and a lime slice.   

Prickly Pear Syrup:

  1. Holding each prickly pear with metal tongs, lightly graze the fruit with a flame until the glochids (thorns) are singed off. Place the fruit in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil, cover and let sit off the heat for 25 to 35 minutes.
  2. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth. Strain the liquid through it into a medium heatproof bowl, mashing the fruit with a spoon until all the fruit is mashed.  
  3. Pour the contents of the bowl into the same saucepan and discard the solids; stir in the sugar, bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the lime zest and juice. Let simmer about 15 more minutes; remove from the heat, let cool and refrigerate.

Cook’s Note

There is a standard way of extracting the juice out of the prick pear. On the outside, there are cactus glochids, which are the very tiny little thorns on the fruit. On the inside there are very hard seeds. The method here is the easiest way I was taught. If prickly pears are not available, use bottled prickly pear syrup, which can be purchased online and in specialty food shops.