This prickly pear margarita recipe offers a unique take on the classic cocktail. Prickly pear syrup or juice adds fruitiness and colour making the beverage incredibly refreshing for a hot day.
What is a Prickly Pear Margarita?
While a traditional margarita is made of tequila, lime juice, and sometimes orange liquor (like triple sec or Cointreau) and simple syrup, this version is a little different. It does include tequila, lime juice, and a salt-rimmed glass, but that is where the similarities end. Prickly pear juice adds a fruity taste and agave nectar is used for sweetness. As a result, you won't have the task of making simple syrup yourself. However, you will have to make prickly pear juice or syrup before beginning this recipe.
If you have never worked with these fruits before, I have some instructions in my post on How to Make Prickly Pear Juice. This post will give you some guidance on how to handle the fruit safely and blend it into juice. The juice is make-ahead, so you can leave it sitting in your fridge until you are ready to make this delicious cocktail.
Just try to use the juice within 2 to 3 days, as it will stay freshest during that time. However, if you are lucky enough to have a lot of prickly pears on hand, you can make up large amounts of this juice to freeze and have on hand when you want to make refreshing prickly pear margaritas.
About Prickly Pears
Prickly pears are called tuna in Mexico. They are such a beautiful, flavourful fruit that is in season from August to December in Mexico and the Southern US. They come from a type of cactus plant called the nopal cactus (or prickly pear cactus) and come in a variety of colours. In fact, some prickly pears are bright pink while others can be green, orange, or yellow. Their tastes can vary as well. These pink fruits have a subtle sweet watermelon and bubble gum flavor.
You have to be a little careful when handling these pears because they have prickles on them, also called glochids. As a result, you should handle them with gloves until you can get them peeled to reveal the inner flesh. The flesh is what makes up the juice component of this margarita recipe. I like to use a blender to puree the flesh before straining it through a fine sieve to remove the seeds. You can enjoy the juice as it is, add it to recipes, or divide it between ice cube trays for the freezer.
In Mexico, some common uses for prickly pear are in agua frescas or paletas. Considering how wonderful it is in other refreshing drinks or frozen desserts, it is no wonder that it works so well in this gorgeous and delicious margarita recipe.
How Do You Make This Margarita From Scratch?
Preparing this prickly pear margarita is incredibly easy. You should start by coating your margarita glass edge in salt. To do this, slide a lime wedge around the rim of the glass to moisten it before dipping it into the salt. You can place salt on a saucer to make this step easy.
Next, you add the tequila, juice, water, lime juice, agave nectar, and some ice cubes to a cocktail shaker before shaking until everything is combined. If you don't have a cocktail shaker, you could use two glasses fitted together instead. Alternatively, a sealed jar would work. As last resort, simply stir everything together.
Finally, simply add a couple of ice cubes to your glass and pour the mixed cocktail over top. You can garnish your glass with a lime slice or a piece of fresh prickly pear for an elegant finish. If you are serving margaritas to guests, you could set up a station with your dish of salt, lime wedges/prickly pear slices, liquids, and sweeteners so the margaritas are ready to mix. Having the glasses lined up and ready should make preparing multiple cocktails a lot more efficient as well.
How Do You Make a Frozen Margarita?
If you prefer to enjoy frozen margaritas on a hot day, you can easily do that with this recipe. In fact, all you have to do is add all of the ingredients to a blender with 1 to 1 ½ cups of ice and blend until the mixture becomes slushy. Instead of the plain ice cubes, you could even add frozen juice cubes to the blender. These would amplify the taste of the fruit in the cocktail.
If you do intend to make frozen margaritas, I recommend that you scale up the recipe to make a pitcher of two or four margaritas. The blender will simply pulse everything more effectively than if you made a single serving. These frozen margaritas are excellent to enjoy with your significant other or a few best friends.
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Prickly Pear Margarita
- 2 ounces 100% tequila blanco or reposado
- 2 ounces prickly pear juice *
- 0.5-1 ounce agave nectar *
- 2 ounces water
- 1 ounce lime juice freshly squeezed
For salted rim:
- lime wedge
- To rim the glass, spread salt on a saucer. Wet the rim by sliding a lime wedge around it. Dip the wet rim into the salt.
- Add tequila, prickly pear juice, water, lime juice and agave nectar to a cocktail shaker (a glass fitted with another glass on top works as replacement). Add a few ice cubes, close and shake until combined and chilled through (20-30 seconds).
- Add a few ice cubes to the prepared rimmed glass. Strain the mixed prickly pear margarita into the glass.
- Add a slice of lime and/or prickly pear on the side of the glass.
Frozen Prickly Pear Margarita
- Making frozen margarita works best when making 2-4 servings at a time.
- Add all ingredients to a blender together with 1-1.5 cups of ice per serving. Blend until the ice is crushed and all ingredients are combined into a slushy texture.
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