Prickly Pear Margarita

We’ve all heard about Strawberry Margaritas, but how about a Prickly Pear Margarita? Len and I were recently hiking in near-by Rice Canyon in Chula Vista, California, one of the many canyons in the San Diego area known for its natural cactus and chapparal  vegetation. I used to hike in this canyon when I was a child and past images came to my mind – branches of cholla cactus sticking to my hand as I brushed past – my friend’s mother donning garden gloves and pliers to remove the prickles from my hand.

That day as we walked in the canyon, the fruits from the Prickly Pear Cactus were out in abundance, their red color contrasting with the green spiky paddles of the plant. Len said that people have been eating this cactus fruit for many centuries and was a major source of food and medicine for Native Americans. I felt a major ‘What Tha!’ coming on and started to ponder what I could make with this fruit. It came to me suddenly – what about a Prickly Pear Margarita!

Prickly Pear fruit (called tuna in Spanish) has a subdued flavour with a cross between a watermelon and a plum. However, when puréed and added to a Margarita, it can turn an ordinary cocktail into something extraordinary!

Prickly Pear Cactus in Rice Canyon IMG_6124 You’ll need Garden Gloves and Pliers to harvest the fruit IMG_6129 You have to be very careful in picking the Prickly Pear fruit- the prickles are almost invisible and are rather difficult to remove if lodged in your skin. For my Margarita, I decided to buy the Prickly Pears from a local Mexican supermarket, where the prickles had already been removed.

To prepare the Prickly Pear:

IMG_6134  First, cut the fruit in half length-wise: IMG_6136   Next, scoop out the seeds: IMG_6143    Cut around the inner fruit to separate it from the outer skin: IMG_6144  And here is the delicious pulp from the Prickly Pear!


 To Prepare the Prickly Pear Purée:

  • First, prepare a syrup with a 1:2 ratio- I brought 1/4 cup water to a boil, then added 1/2 cup sugar and stirred for several minutes.
  • Reduce the heat; then add 3/4 Prickly Pear fruit and stir until the fruit mixture becomes soft.


  • Purée the mixture in a blender, ready to be added to your fantastic Prickly Pear Margarita!



5.0 from 3 reviews
Prickly Pear Margarita
Cuisine: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
A Margarita cocktail flavored with a delicious Prickly Pear purée
  • 4 ounces Tequila
  • 2 ounces Triple Sec (Cointreau)
  • 2 ounces Lime Juice
  • ½ cup crushed ice
  • 2 - 4 tsp Prickly Pear Purée
  1. Add the Tequila, Triple Sec (Cointreau), lime juice and crushed ice into a blender and pulse until blended.
  2. Stir in 2 - 4 tsp Prickly Pear purée to taste.


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  • Reply
    Sarah Schmidt
    November 13, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Wow, it looks terrific!

    • Reply
      November 14, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks Sarah. Glad you were with us to witness the making of this Margarita!
      Fran recently posted…Prickly Pear MargaritaMy Profile

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    November 14, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Never had a pirckly pear margarita before, but love the idea. And I really love the color – so pretty. Fun picture, too. 😉
    [email protected] recently posted…Hashed Brussels SproutsMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 14, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    What an amazing fruit!
    …and any fruit which can be made into a margarita is a fruit I like 😉
    Beautiful Pics
    GourmetGetaways recently posted…Absolute Q Signature Resort ThailandMy Profile

    • Reply
      November 17, 2013 at 7:40 am

      Interesting- I just read that Prickly Pear cactus was introduced into Australia in the 1800’s to produce red dye, and it became a huge pest that destroyed millions of acres of farmland. A caterpillar moth was finally introduced that helped to eradicate the Prickly Pear- but there are still some left in Australia!
      Fran recently posted…Prickly Pear MargaritaMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 14, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    I’ve had prickly pears but never in drink form! I bet they give strawberry margs a run for their money! Love their brilliant hue.
    Joanne recently posted…Pumpkin and White Bean Bisque with Sage Pesto and Dill RollsMy Profile

    • Reply
      November 18, 2013 at 4:39 am

      I’ve heard Prickly Pear is also used in salad dressings and cakes- oh boy!
      Fran recently posted…Prickly Pear MargaritaMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kumar's Kitchen
    November 15, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    wonderful step by step tutorial and a lovely sip….prickly pear margarita looks gorgeous,thanks so much for sharing 🙂
    Kumar’s Kitchen recently posted…Sweet Sensations : Suji Halwa, Semolina Fudge With Rose, Nuts & Cardamom 🙂My Profile

  • Reply
    Adrian (Food Rehab)
    November 16, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    oooh, I love the sound of this fruit. The idea of a cross between watermelon and a plum – tart and sweet – sounds amazing. I can see how it would do wonders to any drink

  • Reply
    The Hungry Mum
    November 18, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    wow – what an incredible drink. Great pix, too.
    The Hungry Mum recently posted…Pumpkin semifreddo and pumpkin snickerdoodles – two baking recipesMy Profile

  • Reply
    Lizzy (Good Things)
    November 18, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Fran, wow!
    Lizzy (Good Things) recently posted…Honey and Thyme Baked CamembertMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Wow, this look so good Fran…I never had a chance to handle prickly pear…after all the work you sure have a nice and colorful drink…
    Have a great week my dear 😀
    Juliana recently posted…Pumpkin Sandwich BreadMy Profile

    • Reply
      November 20, 2013 at 1:51 am

      Thanks, Juliana. Yesterday, I saw another batch of Prickly Pear cactus with fruit, while on walk. I was tempted to pick some, but decided it is so much easier to buy them at the Mexican store, where the prickles have already been removed!
      Fran recently posted…Prickly Pear MargaritaMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 20, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I love Tuna, but tried it only in fruit salads and fruit juices.
    What a clever idea to prepare it with a Margarita.
    The colors are so pretty and I’m sure it tastes even better than it looks!
    Daniela recently posted…Lean and tender: Roasted Pork Fillet With CranberriesMy Profile

  • Reply
    Amy Tong
    November 20, 2013 at 10:51 am

    This is a gorgeous cocktail and i love that vibrant color. I don’t think i”ve try a pickly pear before. I’m intrigue to give this recipe a try. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Amy Tong recently posted…Roasted Shrimp Cocktail–Easy Entertaining Recipe and a GiveawayMy Profile

  • Reply
    Anneli Faiers
    November 22, 2013 at 4:29 am

    I have never had prickly pear before…but I think I would like to try it. What a gorgeous colour it has! Looks like a lovely cocktail to me. I’ll have 2 🙂
    Anneli Faiers recently posted…A True Spanish Tortilla (with Black Pudding)My Profile

  • Reply
    Marian at Apricot Tart
    December 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Hi Fran

    Is it 5 o’clock somewhere! This cocktail looks deadly! The colour is amazing!
    Marian at Apricot Tart recently posted…In My Kitchen … in DecemberMy Profile

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