Prickly Pear Margarita
We couldn’t enjoy a prickly pear margarita without the opuntia and its tuna. You might guess opuntia is the scientific name for a prickly pear cactus, but never that its fruit is called tuna!
Prickly pear cactus are native to the Americas and you’re likely to run across one while wandering around in central Mexico. If you do, tap into it like you would a maple tree to enjoy the best margarita ever…just kidding!
If you think cactus is a water source that can save you dying of thirst, let’s debunk that myth. The fishhook barrel cactus is the only one you can safely drink from, but others will make you very sick. So don’t try it and take a real survival course before trekking in the desert.
The Truth About Prickly Pear Margaritas
The edible flesh of their tuna is used to make syrup for the base of this beautiful, purple-hued cocktail. While it may not be your desert savior, it can be a spiritual way to commune with nature.
Tequila or Mezcal?
Tequila is the runaway favorite for margaritas. Its marketing clout dominates the category, but what about another, equally dazzling spirit right under your nose? That spirit is Mezcal, and it’s such a well-kept secret few know about it outside Mexico. It’s made in Oaxaca with multiple varieties of agave and baked in underground pits that impart a smokier aroma and flavor. It’s up to you, but tequila and mezcal can be used interchangeably in any margarita.
A Word about Margaret
Margaret who? Actress Peggy (Margaret) Lee is frequently cited as the namesake, but the margarita is much more than a woman’s name. The margarita was created in the late 1930’s and is traditionally made with tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice. Since then mixologists have created a rainbow of flavors for our enjoyment.
- 3/4 oz prickly pear syrup
- 1–1/2 oz tequila or mezcal
- 1–1/2 oz sweet/sour mix
- 3/4 oz triple sec or cointreau
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- Margarita salt
- Rim your glass using lime juice and flaky margarita salt
- Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake it like it’s a 10 on the richter scale. until ice cold
- Strain and pour into a tom collins glass filled with ice
- Garnish with a cactus flower or lime wedge
- When you’re finished, proceed along The Margarita Trail and discover another delicious recipe!