Prickly Pear Margaritas

Prickly Pear Margaritas, Honey Sweetened | Will Cook For Friends

I am a strong believer in trying new things. I think everything deserves to be tried at least once, whether it be crickets fried in butter and garlic, or a new and exotic fruit you find hanging out in the produce section.

Sometimes this doesn’t play out so well, like in the case of really, really stinky cheeses (just not a fan), or… or… yeah, okay, I’m having a hard time coming up with other things I really dislike. That’s because in most cases, trying new things leads to discovering something wonderful.

Take these prickly pear margaritas, for example. Scary fruit with spikes = new favorite cocktail. Wonderful.

Prickly Pear Margaritas, Honey Sweetened | Will Cook For Friends

Prickly pears have a deceptively vibrant hue, which might lead you to think they are powerfully flavored, but they are not. They are delicate and floral — the first things that came to mind when I tasted one were watermelon and cucumber — the flavor is lightly sweet, unique, and very delicate. To enhance those qualities, I chose to mix a bit of honey into the pureed fruit before giving everything a good hard shake in my cocktail shaker.

I love sweet, floral cocktails, and this one fits the bill perfectly. Not to mention it is the same shade of pink I dyed my hair when I was fifteen. (I believe it was called “fabulous fuchsia,” and yes, I rocked it.)

Prickly Pear Margaritas, Honey Sweetened | Will Cook For Friends

My inspiration for this drink came from a recipe my friend Shannon made for Prickly Pear Margarita Jam. I used a couple of my prickly pears to make a small batch of it, and now I regret not making more. Cooking the fruit down intensifies the flavors, and is the perfect way to make a ripe batch of prickly pears last and last.

I must’ve walked past these strange little fruit in the grocery store dozens of times, and am so glad Shannon talked me into finally trying them. A word to the wise, be careful when you go to pick these up. They are indeed the fruit of a cactus, and they aren’t called prickly pears for nothing. Some grocery stores are careful to strip away the needles, but others aren’t (and even if they are, it can be easy to miss some of the small, fiber-like pins). I recommend gloves for handling, and when you’re in the grocery store I find a doubled up plastic bag can help protect you while selecting them.

Prickly Pear Margaritas, Honey Sweetened | Will Cook For Friends
Prickly Pear Margaritas, Honey Sweetened | Will Cook For Friends

Have you ever tried prickly pears? If so, what’s your favorite way to use them? I’d love to know.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Prickly Pear Margaritas
Recipe type: Drink - Cocktail
Serves: 2
  • 2 purple prickly pears
  • 2-3 TBSP honey
  • 4 oz. tequila
  • 2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. orange liqueur
  • Salt, for rimming the glasses (optional)
  • Lime wedges for garnish (optional)
  • Ice
  1. Start by pureeing the prickly pears. If your prickly pears are, indeed, prickly, I suggest wearing a sturdy pair of gloves to handle them. Cut the prickly pears in half lengthwise, and use a spoon or your fingers to remove the fruit from the outer skin. Discard the skins, and place the inner fruit into the bowl of your blender or food processor.
  2. Blend until liquid, then pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. You should have about a half cup of juice.
  3. Add the prickly pear juice, honey, tequila, lime juice, orange juice, and orange liqueur to a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake hard for about thirty seconds, or until the shaker is super cold and frosty.
  4. To rim the glasses, rub a wedge of lime around the edges and dip into flaked salt. Add ice to each glass, then pour in the margaritas. Serve.


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15 Responses to Prickly Pear Margaritas

  1. carey September 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    Oooo. I know prickly pears are a thing that exist, but I’ve never had one or had any clue what they might be like. (I’d like to blame my ignorance on not being able to find them around here, but it seems more likely that I just haven’t been paying attention.) The flavor sounds awesome, and the color is AMAZING. Aaaand you made them into a margarita—be still my heart! I definitely need some prickly pears + this drink in my life asap. :)

    Also the redesign looks fantastic!! Blog facelifts are the best, aren’t they?

    • Willow Arlen September 22, 2014 at 9:03 am #

      Thanks, Carey! They really are. This is the first time I’ve ever hired someone to help me spruce the place up, and it was so incredibly worth it. I can’t get over how much more functionality it has, not to mention just how much better it looks overall. It’s almost as good as getting a kitchen remodel. :)

      You should definitely try to get your hands on some prickly pears. They’re a bit pricy where I am, but they are worth trying at least once just so you know what they’re like. And the color is insane — I want to use them in everything just to impart that lovely hue!

  2. Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures September 21, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    Wow – I had no idea that the prickly pair was that vibrant on the inside! It made the cocktail such a gorgeous, vibrant color!

  3. shannon September 28, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    i. am. thrilled that my jam was an inspiration for these! And that you love prickly pears as much as i do: they’re amazing, right? and that color…unduplicated in nature (at least in the fruit world, i think). prickly pear margaritas are my absolute favorite type of margarita, too: something about that faint floraly sweetness really cuts the tart, which is great. These are gorgeous, Willow!

    • Willow Arlen September 30, 2014 at 10:28 am #

      Agreed, the floral sweetness is perfect with the tartness of the margaritas. The color really is the most impressive part. I kind of want to use it to tie-dye something, now.

  4. cheryl October 26, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    The best prickly pear margarita that I’ve ever tasted was at the Enchantment Restaurant in Sedona. I have ever had wuite a few but there’s was the best ever!

  5. cheryl October 26, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    Mistake on a sentence. Should say……I’ve had quite a few……..

    • Willow Arlen October 26, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

      Thanks for the tip, Cheryl, I’ll be sure to order one if I ever go there!

      • cheryl October 29, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

        You won’t regret it Arlen!

  6. Ellen May 5, 2016 at 12:03 am #

    You, my dear, are a genius!!

  7. Rachel September 29, 2019 at 1:47 pm #

    Where did you get the glasses shown in this recipe? I love them.


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