This prickly pear margarita recipe is loaded with delicious flavor and color, thanks to the prickly pear cactus. This cocktail recipe is the perfect balance of sweet and sour, with a unique flavor that will leave your taste buds begging for more. It’s a drink recipe perfect for a celebration!
The key to the prickly pear margarita’s uniqueness lies in its use of prickly pear, a cactus fruit that’s not commonly found in most cocktails. Its bright pink hue contributes to its visual appeal, while its subtly sweet and slightly tart flavor adds complexity to the drink.
Unlike other margaritas that rely on citrus fruits like lime or grapefruit for their tangy kick, the prickly pear margarita makes use of this unexpected ingredient to create a flavor profile that’s both refreshing and sophisticated. These would be delicious served with some spicy peach salsa and sriracha chicken tacos.
Moreover, the prickly pear’s distinct taste is complemented perfectly by the tequila’s boldness, making it a perfect base for the margarita. The combination of tequila, prickly pear, and other ingredients such as lime juice and orange liqueur creates a perfect balance of flavors that is sure to delight your taste buds. With this unique combination, the prickly pear margarita is perfect for those looking for a cocktail that’s anything but ordinary.
I’ve actually been waiting to make something with prickly pear for a long time. Back when I worked at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia, this was one of the specialty cocktails on the menu.
If you love margaritas (I do too), I have a full collection of unique and delicious margarita recipes you need to see.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re looking for a refreshing and unique cocktail to add to your repertoire, you’ll love this recipe for a prickly pear margarita.
- What sets this drink apart is its use of prickly pear, a fruit that not only adds a stunning pink color to the drink but also a subtly sweet and slightly tart taste.
- It’s unique, but familiar. Everyone knows a margarita, but they may not have had prickly pear before. This is a fun and colorful twist on a classic recipe.
There are only a handful of simple ingredients in these iconic prickly pear margaritas. Here’s what you need to have when you make them.
- Clear Tequila – It is important to use a clear variety so that the colors in the drink stand out.
- Cointreau – Any clear orange-flavored triple sec will work.
- Freshly-Squeezed Lime juice – Jarred lime juice can also work, but it won’t have the same bold and fresh taste.
- Prickly Pear Syrup – This is the key to the entire drink. Get the highest-quality syrup you can find. The easiest way to use prickly pear is in syrup. It’s likely to be available in specialty food stores, however, I found mine online.
- Garnish: Always garnish your drinks! I used lime and kosher salt.
How to Make
Now that we’re all familiar with prickly pears, it’s time to shake up our margaritas. In keeping with the cactus theme of this celebration, I chose to use my cactus margarita glasses.
I’ll walk you through the process steps here. Additionally, the exact instructions and full ingredient list are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Begin by rimming your glasses with a wedge of lime and then dipping them in some kosher salt. Though the prickly pear syrup will make these margaritas a touch sweeter, I still appreciate a salted rim.
- Shake the tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and prickly pear syrup with ice.
- Add a bit of ice to your prepared margarita glasses and pour over that delicious libation.
- Garnish with a slice of lime.
How to Serve
For added fun, I picked up a few of these cactus cocktail charms. Their neon color and cute design matched my party perfectly. What do you think? And as a bonus, my guests won’t confuse their drink with someone else’s. Win-win!
How to Store Extra Margaritas
If you want to make a large batch of these margaritas ahead of time, I suggest making a pitcher of it and refrigerating it. Then, all you have to do is prepare the glasses and pour the drinks.
This prickly pear margarita will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week. Don’t add the ice until you are ready to serve or it will make your drink watery!
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we get to the margarita recipe, here are some questions people often ask about it. If you don’t see your question in this list, please leave it in the comments.
What is a prickly pear?
If prickly pear is new to you, you might be surprised to know that it’s not really a pear: It’s a fruit that grows on a cactus. It gets its name from the prickly needles of the cactus.
The flavor is reminiscent of a pear mixed with watermelon and a “natural” bubble gum. I know that sounds a bit odd, but it is pretty delicious and works well in cocktails and vinaigrette dressings.
What does prickly pear syrup taste like?
This syrup is extremely sweet. It tastes like watermelon, strawberry, and bubble gum, all in one syrup. In fact, it isn’t tart at all.
Is desert pear the same as prickly pear?
Yes, they are the same thing. Another name for a prickly pear is a desert pear – and it isn’t even a pear.
Do I need a special type of tequila for my margarita?
While some people prefer to use a specific type of tequila for their margaritas, any good-quality tequila will work. Gold, silver, or reposado tequila all work well, so use whichever type you prefer.
Now that you have the classic prickly pear margarita recipe down, it’s time to get creative and switch things up with some variations. Here are a few fun ideas to try:
- Spicy Prickly Pear Margarita: If you love a little heat in your cocktails, add some slices of jalapeno to your shaker before mixing everything together. For an even spicier kick, rim your glass with chili powder instead of salt.
- Pineapple Prickly Pear Margarita: Combine the flavors of prickly pear and pineapple for a tropical twist on the classic margarita. Add a splash of pineapple juice to your shaker along with the other ingredients and garnish with a pineapple slice.
- Mezcal Prickly Pear Margarita: Swap out the tequila for mezcal and add a smoky depth to your margarita. Mezcal pairs perfectly with the sweet and tangy flavors of prickly pear. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary for an extra touch.
- Frozen Prickly Pear Margarita: Turn your margarita into a frozen treat by blending all the ingredients with ice in a blender. This fun and refreshing variation is perfect for hot summer days.
- Grapefruit Prickly Pear Margarita: For a bold and tangy margarita, add freshly squeezed grapefruit juice to your shaker along with the other ingredients. Garnish with a grapefruit slice and a sprinkle of salt.
With these recipe variations, you’ll never get bored of the classic prickly pear margarita. Experiment with different flavors and ingredients to find your perfect variation.
More Margaritas You Will Love
- Vanilla Pineapple Margarita
- Classic Margarita
- Strawberry Rhubarb Margarita
- Watermelon Margarita
- Strawberry Coconut Margarita
If you give this colorful prickly pear margarita a try, I’d love to know what you think. Stop back and leave a comment and a 5-star rating below. Cheers friend!
Prickly Pear Margarita
- 3 ounces clear tequila
- 2 ounces Cointreau
- 2 ounces freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 1 ounce prickly pear syrup
- Lime and kosher salt for garnish
- Begin by running a wedge of lime around the edge of your margarita glass. Dip in kosher salt to coat.
- In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the tequila, Cointreau, freshly-squeezed lime juice, and prickly pear syrup. Shake vigorously. Strain into your prepared margarita glasses filled will ice. Garnish with a lime slice to serve.