Prickly Pear Margarita Recipe

If you did not grow up in the southwestern U.S., you may not be familiar with the prickly pear. As recipe developer Jennine Rye tells us, "I remember ... listening to 'The Jungle Book' soundtrack as a kid and wondering what on earth a prickly pear was." She goes on to explain, "The name prickly pear would have you believe that this drink is pear-based," but surprise, it's not! Prickly pear is actually a variety of edible cactus whose name is often applied to its fruit, as well.

To make this cocktail, prickly pear syrup is added to a standard margarita to give it some sweet flavor and a vivid hue. As Rye describes the color, it "can vary from a beautifully elegant light pink to a vibrant purple." If you live in an area where prickly pear cactus grows or you can find the fruit at a Hispanic grocery, you might like to try making your own prickly pear syrup. It's not necessary to go the DIY route, though, as Rye herself uses pre-made syrup. While she admits that "Prickly pear syrup can be difficult to obtain" in stores, she was able to order the ingredient online.

Gather up the ingredients for the prickly pear margarita

To make the drink itself, you'll need a fresh lime, some tequila, some orange liqueur (Rye favors Cointreau, but says triple sec or other orange liqueurs will work), and some prickly pear syrup. You'll also need ice to chill the drink as well as salt to rim the glass.

If you're wondering whether silver or gold tequila is preferred here, Rye says, "It doesn't really matter which color tequila is used for this cocktail." While it may affect the color of the drink to some extent, she says "it definitely boils down to preferences" as well as what you have on hand.

Rim the glass with salt

The first step in making this drink is to rim a glass with salt. While Rye uses a rocks glass, you might also like to use a stemmed margarita glass or a coupe. Whichever glass you choose, run a piece of lime around the rim to moisten it, then pour the salt onto a small plate. Turn the glass over and roll the rim through the salt, then flip it right side up again and let the salt coating dry.

Mix the drink

Mix the tequila, Cointreau, and prickly pear syrup, then squeeze in half a lime. Drop the lime shell in, too. Add the ice and shake the drink — either in an official cocktail shaker or any other lidded vessel that will stand up to vigorous shaking — for 10 to 15 seconds. If you have a metal shaker, Rye notes that you will probably see some condensation forming on the outside at this point.

Pour and garnish the drink

Strain the drink into the salt-rimmed glass and add some more ice (fresh ice, not the stuff from the shaker). Add a wedge or slice of lime as a garnish. If you have a fresh prickly pear on hand, you could use a slice of this, as well. Rye suggests that an orange slice or orange peel twist might also look nice, while she feels that "dried segments of fruit can look really classy."

Prickly Pear Margarita Recipe
5 from 28 ratings
If you're a margarita fan, then this prickly pear margarita recipe will add some sweet flavor to your favorite cocktail.
Prep Time
Cook Time
pink cocktail with lime garnish
Total time: 5 minutes
  • 2 lime wedges or slices, divided
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • ½ lime
  • 1 ½ ounce tequila
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • ½ ounce prickly pear syrup
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  1. Rub one wedge or slice of lime around the edge of the glass to wet it.
  2. Pour the salt onto a small plate. Invert the glass onto the salt and roll it around to coat the rim.
  3. Add the tequila, Cointreau, prickly pear syrup, lime juice, and lime rind to a cocktail shaker.
  4. Shake the drink ingredients over ice for 10-15 seconds.
  5. Fill the salt-rimmed glass with fresh ice, then strain the cocktail into the glass.
  6. Garnish the drink with a wedge or slice of lime.
Calories per Serving 215
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.8 g
Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
Total Sugars 9.4 g
Sodium 865.8 mg
Protein 0.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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